Stressful Life Events, Acid Hypersecretion, and Ulcer Disease

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We have evaluated 2 patients with symptomatic gastric ulcer disease who dated the onset of their illnesses to stressful events in their lives. In 1 patient, six family members had recently died and our patient feared that he too would soon die. The other patient was accused of grand theft, was under police surveillance, and had lost his job. Both patients had markedly increased gastric acid secretion rates that decreased to normal after hospitalization and reassurance in the first case and acquittal in the second case. Ulcer symptoms subsided at the same time as the decrease in acid secretion. Although we cannot prove that severe emotional stress in our patients led to acid hypersecretion and ulcer disease, their courses suggest that stressful life events caused increased acid secretion which, in turn, led to ulceration and symptoms. © 1983, American Gastroenterological Association. All rights reserved.




Peters, M. N., & Richardson, C. T. (1983). Stressful Life Events, Acid Hypersecretion, and Ulcer Disease. Gastroenterology, 84(1), 114–119.

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