A Moment of Science

You’re Giving Me an Ulcer

Have you ever heard that too much stress causes stomach ulcers?

a woman yelling and tugging her hair

Photo: Brittney Bush Bollay (Flickr)

Stress can however make and existing ulcer worse.

Have you ever heard that too much stress causes stomach ulcers?

Actually, stomach ulcers aren’t caused by stress or by diet, as doctors once thought, but by a bacterial infection. Stress can however make and existing ulcer worse.

Ulcer-causing bacteria damage the protective lining of your stomach. Once that lining is damaged, stomach acid irritates your tissue and causes pain. Since ulcers are infections, you will need a prescription for antibiotics from your doctor before you can get better. An antacid may ease the pain by raising the pH in your stomach, but it won’t get rid of the infection.

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