Stomach ulcer

Stomach ulcers occur if there is too much acid or too little protective mucus in the stomach (e.g. due to medication or bacteria).

Overview

Stomach ulcers occur if there is too much acid or too little protective mucus in the stomach (e.g. due to medication or bacteria). The main symptoms are recurrent dull or stabbing pain in the stomach. A doctor should be consulted if this pain occurs regularly.

Symptoms

Main symptoms

Stomach ulcer symptoms are very similar to those of a stomach infection (gastritis).

  • Dull or shooting pain in the upper abdomen
  • Heartburn
  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Belching
  • Loss of appetite, feeling of fullness

Other symptoms

  • These symptoms typically appear when the stomach is full .

Complications

  • Gastric bleeding
  • Rupture (perforation): a hole appears in the stomach
    • This is followed by infection of the stomach lining (peritonitis)
  • Degeneration (stomach cancer)

Causes and treatment

Causes

  • Bacteria (Helicobacter pylori)
  • Reduced circulation
  • Insufficient mucus formation
  • Increased production of stomach acid
  • Stress hormones
  • Medication (anti-inflammatory drugs)
  • Smoking and alcohol

Further treatment by your doctor / in hospital

Possible tests
  • Endoscopic examination of stomach (gastroscopy)
  • Test to identify Helicobacter pylori (e.g. special breath test)
Possible therapies
  • Medication to reduce the production of stomach acid (“gastric protection”)
  • Antibiotics for Helicobacter pylori infection
  • Surgery (very rarely)

What can I do myself?

  • Avoid spicy foods, coffee, black tea, high-proof alcohol
  • Don't smoke
  • Enough relaxation time to prevent stress

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When to see a doctor?

  • Frequent stomach ache or heartburn
  • Vomiting of fresh blood or old brown blood (known as 'coffee ground vomiting')
  • Bloody or noticeably black stool (known as 'tarry stool')
  • Sudden severe pain in the upper abdomen

Synonyms

Stomach ulcer

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CSS offers no guarantee for the accuracy and completeness of the information. The information published is no substitute for professional advice from a doctor or pharmacist.

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