Peptic Ulcers in Children

What is a peptic ulcer?

A peptic ulcer, is an open sore in the lining of the stomach or the duodenum (the first part of the small intestine). When a peptic ulcer is located in the stomach, it’s known as a gastric ulcer, and when it’s located in the duodenum it’s called a duodenal ulcer.

Although peptic ulcers are far more common in adults, children of any age can develop these ulcers, and without proper treatment, they may experience serious complications, including:

  • Bleeding: As the lining of the stomach or duodenal wall is eroded, blood vessels may also be damaged, causing bleeding.
  • Perforation: Sometimes a hole has worn through the wall of the stomach or duodenum, and bacteria and partially-digested food can spill through the opening into the sterile abdominal cavity (peritoneum).
  • Narrowing and obstruction: Ulcers located at the end of the stomach (where the duodenum is attached) can cause swelling and scarring, which can narrow or close the intestinal opening.

How we care for peptic ulcers

The Endoscopy Program at Boston Children's Hospital cares for infants, children and young adults with gastrointestinal conditions like peptic ulcers. Our program is part of the Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition, ranked #1 in pediatric gastroenterology and GI surgery by U.S.News & World Report. We provide the most comprehensive and leading-edge endoscopic services in the country for the care and treatment of peptic ulcers.