Benign gastric and duodenal ulcers are best classified together as peptic ulcers even though their aetiology is different.
In both types of ulcer it is acid pepsin which causes the mucosal damage. Duodenal ulcers are the more common.
Endoscopic examination and microbiological sampling of the upper gastrointestinal tract often reveals the presence of Helicobacter pylori (formerly known as Campylobacter pylori).
Ulceration involves penetration of the muscularis mucosae and so, differs from an erosion, in which only the mucosal surface is disrupted. Lesions vary from one millimetre to several centimetres in diameter.
Last reviewed 01/2018