Gone are the old days of ulcer treatments with their incredibly restrictive diets, hourly swigs of Maalox, and sending of patients off to surgery–thank heaven. Today, we know a lot more about the little sores found in the lining of the stomach (gastric ulcers) or the first part of the small intestine, the duodenum (duodenal ulcers), than we used to. Although still associated with the stressed executive (stress increases acid flow), we now know that ulcers are caused by a specific bacterium called Helicobacter pylori. We still don’t know for sure how people become infected in the first place. But it’s a very democratic germ: Anyone can get an ulcer. And drinking alcohol or too much coffee, or taking aspirin (or NSAIDs), or being overstressed–all simply make the situation worse.