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Complications of Peptic Ulcer

Overview

A peptic ulcer may cause problems such as:

Bleeding.

Peptic ulcers sometimes bleed.

  • Sometimes an ulcer may involve just the surface lining of the digestive tract. The person may then have a slow but constant loss of blood into the digestive tract. Over time, this may cause anemia.
  • If ulcers become larger and go deeper into the digestive tract lining, they may damage large blood vessels. This can result in sudden, serious bleeding into the intestinal tract.
Perforation.

Perforation occurs when an ulcer eats through the wall of the stomach or intestine into the belly cavity.

  • When perforation happens, partly digested food, bacteria, and enzymes from the digestive tract may spill into the belly cavity. This causes inflammation and infection (peritonitis).
  • Peritonitis usually causes sudden and severe pain. In most cases, treatment requires an urgent stay in the hospital and surgery.

Credits

Current as of: September 8, 2021

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine