What is peptic ulcer disease? Bruce Springsteen postpones tour as he's treated for the illness

Bruce Springsteen waves at an audience as he performs at the MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey
Bruce Springsteen has been forced to postpone his remaining September tour dates due to illness. (Getty Images)

Bruce Springsteen, 73, has announced that he is postponing all his remaining September tour dates because he is being treated for peptic ulcer disease.

The musician said in a statement released on social media that he and the E Street Band will not be able to perform any US shows scheduled for the rest of this month.

Read more: ‘Heartbroken’ Bruce Springsteen postpones tour dates due to peptic ulcer disease (Evening Standard, 1-min read)

In August, the rockstar postponed two shows in Philadelphia after he fell ill. However, there were no details about what caused his sickness at the time. Springsteen was set to take a break from his tour in October before performing again in Canada in November.

The tour, which was announced last summer, is Springsteen's first time back on the road after six years. The singer and the E Street Band's last tour together was The River Tour in 2017, which lasted 14 months.

Bruce Springsteen performs with the E Street Band on-stage in East Rutherford, New Jersey
Bruce Springsteen returned to touring this year after six years off the road, but has been forced to postpone the rest of his shows this month. (Getty Images)

What is peptic ulcer disease?

Peptic ulcers are ulcers that develop on the lining of the stomach. They are also known as stomach or gastric ulcers.

Ulcers can also develop in the upper portion of the small intestine, which are called duodenal ulcers.

What are the symptoms?

  • Burning or gnawing pain in the centre of the abdomen

  • Indigestion

  • Heartburn

  • Acid reflux

  • Nausea

  • Bloating

A man suffering from stomach pain holds his hand against his stomach as he sits at home
Stomach pain is one of the common symptoms of stomach ulcers. (Getty Images)

What causes them?

According to the NHS, stomach ulcers occur when the layer that protects the stomach lining from stomach acid gets damaged.

Stomach acid has a pH value between one and two, which means it is highly acidic and can damage strong materials such as teeth and bones when it comes into prolonged contact with them.

The cells that line the stomach wall release enzymes and mucus that protect the lining so that the stomach acid does not damage the organ. However, acid levels can fluctuate and the protective layer can stop being effective from time to time.

This can happen due to:

  • An infection with Helicobacter pylori (H pylori) bacteria

  • Taking anti-inflammatory medicines such as ibuprofen or aspirin for a long time or at high doses

Anyone can get stomach ulcers, but people aged 60 and over are more susceptible to them. Men are also more affected than women.

How are they treated?

Depending on what caused the condition, treatments for stomach ulcers can vary.

In most cases, a medication called a proton pump inhibitor (PPI) will be prescribed to reduce the amount of acid in the stomach.

However, if the ulcers were caused by a H pylori infection, patients will also need antibiotics.

Stomach ulcers can still occur again after treatment, but are less likely to happen again if the underlying cause is treated successfully.