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September 07, 2023

Peptic ulcer disease forced Bruce Springsteen to postpone concerts; here's how the illness affects people

The ailment causes painful sores to form inside the stomach or small intestine. They typically heal within 4-6 weeks of medical treatment

Bruce Springsteen has postponed the remainder of his September concerts with the E Street Band so that he can be treated for symptoms of peptic ulcer disease, a condition in which painful sores or ulcers form on the lining of the stomach or upper portion of the small intestine. 

"Over here on E Street, we're heartbroken to have to postpone these shows," Springsteen tweeted Wednesday evening. "First, apologies to our fabulous Philly fans who we missed a few weeks ago. We'll be back to pick these shows up and then some. Thank you for your understanding and support."

Springsteen, 73, abruptly postponed his two Philadelphia shows just hours before he was slated to perform the first one at Citizens Bank Park on Aug. 16, citing an undisclosed illness. He is set to make up the concerts next summer.

About 1 in 10 people in the United States develop a peptic ulcer at some point in their lives. Though a thick layer of mucus typically protects the stomach lining from acids, many factors can reduce that protective layer, allowing stomach acid to damage the tissue, according to Cleveland Clinic.

There are two main types of peptic ulcers. Duodenal ulcers, which occur inside the small intestine, usually appear between the ages of 30 and 50. Gastric ulcers, which occur inside the stomach, tend to occur later in life. It's unclear which kind of ulcer Springsteen has.

The most common symptom of peptic ulcer disease is a burning pain, according to Penn Medicine. Other common symptoms include pain that temporarily disappears after taking an antacid, bloating, heartburn, being intolerant to fatty foods and feeling nauseous. Many people with peptic ulcer disease do not have symptoms. 

There are two main causes of peptic ulcers. Heliobacter pylori bacteria, which live in the mucous layer that protects the stomach lining, are typically harmless but can cause inflammation of the stomach's inner layer, causing an ulcer. Regular use of certain NSAID pain relievers, like ibuprofen and naproxen sodium, can also irritate the lining of the stomach and small intestine, causing an ulcer. 

Smoking, drinking, having untreated stress and eating spicy foods can make ulcers worse and more difficult to heal. 

Peptic ulcers sometimes heal on their own, but without proper treatment they can lead to severe health complications like bleeding, a perforation in the stomach wall or an obstruction that blocks the passageway from the stomach to the small intestine. 

For most people, peptic ulcer disease is treated with proton pump inhibitors, histamine receptor blockers, antibiotics and other medications. It generally takes four to six weeks for peptic ulcers to heal, according to Mount Sinai

Ticketholders will receive information about rescheduled dates for Springsteen's postponed shows in Syracuse, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Albany, Columbus, Washington, D.C. and Uncasville, Connecticut. 

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