Background: Peptic ulcer disease is a multifactorial health problem, and its prevalence and risk factors have changed considerably within the past century. 

Objective: To determine the prevalence of peptic ulcer among the population of Arar city and to identify risk factors for peptic ulcer and to estimate their relative impact on ulcer incidence.

Methods: A cross-sectional study was carried out on the population of Arar city, Northern Saudi Arabia from November 01, 2016 to April 30, 2017. Data were analyzed by SPSS version 16, using descriptive statistics, prevalence, and Chi-square test.

Results: Total prevalence of peptic ulcer among the studied respondents was thus: 21.9% had peptic ulcer; 16.2% gastric ulcer and 5.6% duodenal ulcer. In 19.7% of the cases, the pain was severe, 92.4% reported that pain was precipitated by certain food. In addition to heartburn, 78.8% reported loss of appetite, 71.2% indigestion, 66.7% regurgitation, 59.1% nausea and vomiting and 42.4% with chest pain. Regarding the risk factors, coffee drinking came in first place (81.8%) followed by physical stress in 77.3%, spicy food in 57.6%, prolonged use of Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) in 33.3% and Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection in 24.2%. A further 22.7% reported melena as a complication while only 10.6% reported hematemesis. 

Conclusion: This is the first population-based study in Arar, Northern Saudi Arabia reporting point prevalence of peptic ulcer disease. The rate of 16.2% for gastric ulcer and 5.6% for duodenal ulcers are substantially high. Coffee drinking, physical stress, spicy food, prolonged use of NSAID and H. pylori infection were the reported risk factors. Population-based endoscopic studies are recommended.


Keywords: Arar; Northern Saudi Arabia; Prevalence; Peptic ulcer; Risk factors
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