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Can Alcohol Cause Stomach Ulcers?

Can Alcohol Cause Stomach Ulcers?

Answer:

Alcohol does not cause stomach ulcers.

Not unless the amount consumed is extremely excessive. Alcohol can cause additional irritation once someone develops ulcers. Because alcohol increases the amount of acid in the stomach, patients being treated for ulcers are advised to reduce consumption.

Rate of Incidence

Roughly 10% of Americans suffer at some point in their life from peptic or gastric ulcers. The exception to the alcohol-ulcer direct causal link is the comparatively rare esophageal ulcer. These can sometimes be triggered by alcohol abuse.

Right through the mid-1980s, the general consensus in the medical profession was that stress caused ulcers. However, as with so many medical matters, more recent sophistication of research and equipment has revealed a different story. Today, increasing evidence points to bacterial infection being the primary cause of ulcers. Specifically, it is the bacterium known as Helicobacter pylor (H. pylon), present in more than 90% of duodenal ulcers (upper part of small intestine) and 80% of stomach ulcers.

Other Peripheral Factors

Along with extreme alcohol abuse, some of the other substances that can lead to a higher likelihood of developing ulcers include over-the-counter painkillers and smoking. Studies have proven that smokers are more likely to develop duodenal ulcers than non-smokers while those who drink alcohol are more susceptible to esophageal ulcers.

Elderly people tend to get ulcers more frequently. In some cases, this may because they have to ingest a much larger amount of daily painkillers such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen. Also, in older men and women, the pylorus-the valve between the stomach and the small intestine-becomes less firm and allows excess bile to seep into the stomach.

Perhaps the strangest of all correlations with duodenal ulcers is the fact that have found to most commonly afflict people with Type O blood. Research points to the fact that these individuals lack a certain substance on the surface of blood cells, which other blood type individuals possess, that protects the lining of the duodenum. Just one more wrinkle in the incredible complex and varied environment that is the human organism.

 

REFERENCES:

Mayo Clinic – Peptic Ulcers, Retrieved November 30, 2011 from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/peptic-ulcer/DS00242/DSECTION=causes

(2) Mayo Clinic – Pressure Sores, Retrieved November 30, 2011 from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/bedsores/DS00570/DSECTION=causes

(3) Cedars-Sinai – Ulcers, Retrieved November 30, 2011 from http://www.cedars-sinai.edu/Patients/Health-Conditions/Ulcers.aspx

(4) WebMD – Understanding Ulcers, Retrieved November 30, 2011 from http://www.webmd.com/digestive-disorders/understanding-ulcers-basic-information

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