Peptic ulcers are open sores that develop on the inside lining of your stomach and the upper portion of your small intestine. The most common symptom of a peptic ulcer is stomach pain. Peptic ulcers include Gastric ulcers that occur on the inside of the stomachDuodenal ulcers that occur on the inside of the upper portion of your small intestine (duodenum).
- Burning stomach pain
- Feeling of fullness, bloating or belching
- Fatty food intolerance
The most common peptic ulcer symptom is burning stomach pain. Stomach acid makes the pain worse, as does having an empty stomach. The pain can often be relieved by eating certain foods that buffer stomach acid or by taking an acid-reducing medication, but then it may come back. The pain may be worse between meals and at night.
Nearly three-quarters of people with peptic ulcers don't have symptoms.
Less often, ulcers may cause severe signs or symptoms such as:
- Vomiting or vomiting blood - which may appear red or black
- Dark blood in stools, or stools that are black or tarry
- Trouble breathing
- Feeling faint
- Nausea or vomiting
- Unexplained weight loss
- Appetite changes
In addition to taking certain pain medications, including aspirin, you may have an increased risk of peptic ulcers if you:
- Smoke. Smoking may increase the risk of peptic ulcers in people who are infected with H. pylori.
- Drink alcohol. Alcohol can irritate and erode the mucous lining of your stomach, and it increases the amount of stomach acid that's produced.
- Have untreated stress.
- Eat spicy foods.
Alone, these factors do not cause ulcers, but they can make them worse and more difficult to heal.
- Avoid tobacco products
- Avoid alcohol
- Use caution with aspirin and/or NSAIDs
- Don't ignore your ulcer symptoms
- Protect yourself from infections by washing hands regularly and consuming foods that have been cooked thoroughly
When to See a Doctor?
See your doctor if you have the severe signs or symptoms listed above. Also see your doctor if over-the-counter antacids and acid blockers relieve your pain but the pain returns.
DR. RAVINDRAN KUMERAN
MBBS, MSC (LON), DNB, FRCS (Ed (G.I.SURG), FRCS (GLASG)
Sr. Consultant Surgical Gastroenterologist, Laproscopy
& Obesity Specialist
MBBS, MD (Internal Medicine), DM (Medical Gastroenterology),
Consultant Medical Gastroentrologist