can hunger cause stomach ulcer? Can hunger cause peptic ulcer?

Okay, here goes!
Hi, it’s your friendly neighborhood doctor with some medical information.

Hunger is not the cause of Ulcer. Being hungry could certainly aggravate pre-existing ulcer but it’s not the sole cause. Ulcer is caused by interplay of various factors.

Peptic Ulcer is basically a “wound” in the lining of the stomach and the first part of the small intestine.

Can hunger cause stomach ulcer?
Can hunger cause stomach ulcer?

The stomach normally produces highly concentrated acid to help food digestion. The stomach also have protective lining to prevent damage from same acid

If there’s a disruption in the protective lining, it leads to the ulcer. The severity can be from mild pain to life threatening bleeds.

Things that can cause the lining to degrade includes
Abuse of medicine like aspirin & Ibuprofen.
Specific bacteria called Helicobacter pylori
Genetic condition leading to excessive acid production e.g Zollinger-Ellison syndrome.

Things that can aggravate Ulcer
Poor eating habit
Excessive caffeine

Sometimes one may have inflammatory changes in the lining leading to what is called Gastritis. It mimics ulcer but not exactly ulcer. Endoscopy (passing a camera down the throat) is used to definitively diagnose ulcer.

Presentation also varies but location of pain always appears constant.
Sometimes ulcer pain is worse shortly after eating and sometimes it is before eating, it depends on the location of ulcer.

Bottom line, see your physician before self medicating.

Bonus for #MedTwitter: new onset “ulcer pain” in a >40 year old patient. Endoscopy is a must! Need to rule out Gastric Cancer.

Summary: Contrary to widespread beliefs, hunger does not cause peptic ulcer disease even though will know that it can aggravate ulcer pains. The causative organism of ulcer is H. Pylori. The risk factors for peptic ulcers are family history, smoking and alcohol. Please be informed that fasting can worsen ulcer pains

Your Friendly Neighbourhood Doctor


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