What increases my risk for a duodenal ulcer?

Most cases of duodenal disorders are caused by bacteria, but there are some risk factors involved. Many of these are lifestyle risk factors that you can change in order to avoid contracting the disease.

  • Since the H. pylori  bacteria are the cause of most ulcers, people who don't practice good hygiene (especially handwashing before eating and after using the bathroom) or make sure to consume only safe food and water are at higher risk of infection.
  • People who smoke are more likely to contract peptic ulcers of all kinds. Their ulcers take longer to heal than those of nonsmokers.
  • Taking certain drugs, including nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like aspirin, can lead to ulcers.
  • Although stress is not related to the creation of ulcers, it can create more stomach acid, which leads to a higher risk of pain experienced along with your ulcer. Spicy foods also don't cause ulcers, but can make symptoms worse.
  • People who have had ulcers in the past are more likely to have them again. Some genetic causes, like Zollinger-Ellison syndrome (which causes an excess of stomach acid), also raise your risk.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.