Peptic ulcer disease is most often caused by a bacterial infection called Helicobacter pylori. These bacteria sit below the surface of the stomach and first portion of the intestine. If you have not been tested for this infection, this should be your first step. Treating this infection with antibiotics and acid blockers will decrease your risk of bleeding ulcers in the future.
The second most common cause of peptic ulcer disease is from the use of aspirin and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (called NSAIDs). Two NSAIDs available over the counter (meaning they don't require a prescription from a doctor) are:
- Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, generics)
- Naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn, generics)