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.
Stomach ulcer symptoms are very similar to those of a stomach infection (gastritis).
- Dull or shooting pain in the upper abdomen
- Nausea, vomiting
- Loss of appetite, feeling of fullness
- These symptoms typically appear when the stomach is full .
- 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
- 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
- Endoscopic examination of stomach (gastroscopy)
- Test to identify Helicobacter pylori (e.g. special breath test)
- Medication to reduce the production of stomach acid (“gastric protection”)
- Antibiotics for Helicobacter pylori infection
- Surgery (very rarely)
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