SOVEREIGN, ISM / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SOVEREIGN, ISM / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Stomach ulcer, barium swallow X-ray. The ulcer is seen as the yellow projection from the stomach cavity at centre right. A stomach (peptic) ulcer forms when stomach acids attack the stomach lining. Most ulcers are caused by the presence of the bacterium Helicobacter pylori, which causes inflammation of the lining, and an increased production of stomach acid, which starts to corrode the lining. The other main cause is prolonged use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as aspirin, which prevent the production of the mucus that normally protects the stomach lining. The ulcer causes severe pain and vomiting of blood. Treatment is with antibiotics and drugs that slow acid production.
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