Stomach ulcers, also known as gastric ulcers, are relatively common, and thought to affect 1 in 10 people at some point in their lifetime. There are various causes, and treatment differs depending on the cause of the ulcer to begin with. It can sometimes be hard to tell if you have a stomach ulcer, especially as the symptoms they display are not exclusive to the condition. Sometimes gastric ulcers display no symptoms at all. Here, we talk you through some of the common symptoms that may appear, and when you should pay a visit to your doctor.
5 signs of a stomach ulcer
Pain felt in the tummy is one of the most common symptoms of a stomach ulcer. It manifests as a burning pain, which may last hours, or just a few minutes. It is not always felt in one place in the tummy and the pain can travel, meaning it can also be felt all the way through to your back, or up to the neck too.
Bloating is normal, but if it happens relatively frequently, it could be a sign of gastric ulcer. If you feel you are passing gas, or feeling uncomfortable more than you usually do, it does not necessarily mean you have a stomach ulcer, but you should check your other symptoms and see a doctor if they do not get better over time.
Stomach ulcers can cause you to lose interest in food, and you may find that your appetite decreases or disappears.
Feeling nauseous or being sick
Sometimes stomach ulcers can create a sensation of nausea, or even cause you to be sick. If you are vomiting frequently with no obvious underlying problem or trigger, it could be a stomach ulcer.
Heartburn can occur for various reasons – medications, stress, eating certain foods, or being overweight. Heartburn is actually an irritation in the oesophagus, so it can be related to stomach ulcers as acid in the stomach gives the sensation of heartburn.
When to seek medical attention for a stomach ulcer
If the symptoms listed above do not go away over time, and do not show any sign of improvement, you should visit a doctor. Sometimes stomach ulcers can have further complications and cause serious problems. Visit your doctor or A&E as a matter of urgency if you display any of the following symptoms:
- Sharp pain in the abdomen which gets worse
- Dark, bloody, or sticky stools
- Vomiting blood, which can sometimes resemble coffee grounds
Find out more about our doctors who treat stomach ulcers here.