Updated 24 June 2014

Peptic ulcers in the days before H. pylori

Stress and lifestyle choices were thought to be the major cause of pepetic ulcers for many decades.

Before the discovery of Helicobacter (H.) pylori, it was generally thought that the stomach was a sterile environment. And that peptic ulcers were largely caused by lifestyle choices, stress and circumstances.

Smokers, people from a socio-economically-disadvantaged background and people who led a stressful lifestyle, more commonly suffered from peptic ulcers, which supported the view that peptic ulcers was a lifestyle-related condition.

In the 1960s and 1970s, acid-suppressing drugs , such as H2-receptor antagonists and proton pump inhibitors, often managed to cure peptic ulcers without surgery. But they often recurred again, and it was generally thought that that was because of the lifestyle that caused them in the first place.

(Susan Erasmus, Health24, June 2004)

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