When you think about it, the stomach and the duodenum (the short first part of the small intestine) are exposed to quite a few possibly irritating materials, including acid created by the stomach to help digest food, booze and hot foods like spices. Occasionally, although the stomach and duodenum have a natural defence mechanism that protects against damage the mechanism fails, resulting in disorder.

The two most common illnesses that influence the stomach and duodenum are indigestion and peptic ulcer. We currently understand that peptic ulcers (ulcers of the duodenum and the gut) are the result of a bacterium and symptoms are made worse by excessive stomach acid. The value of the Helicobacter pylori bacterium was just understood in the early 1980s and it’s now estimated that about half the world’s people is infected with H. pylori. In most folks there are not any symptoms but others can grow gastritis, which is inflammation of the lining of the gut, peptic ulcer and stomach cancer, a cancer with a fairly lousy prognosis. H. pylori disease can usually be treated successfully with drugs.