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Peptic Ulcers (cont.)

What are the symptoms of a peptic ulcer?

Ulcers do not always cause symptoms. Sometimes, a serious complication such as bleeding is the first sign of an ulcer.

The most common symptom of peptic ulcers is abdominal pain.

  • The pain is usually in the upper middle part of the abdomen, above the belly button (navel) and below the breastbone.
  • The ulcer pain can feel like burning, or gnawing, and it may go through to the back.
  • Pain often comes several hours after a meal when the stomach is empty.
  • The pain is often worse at night and early morning.
  • It can last anywhere from a few minutes to several hours.
  • The ulcer pain may be relieved by food, antacids, or vomiting.

Other symptoms of peptic ulcers include the following:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Loss of weight

Severe ulcers may cause bleeding in the stomach or duodenum. Bleeding is sometimes the only symptom of an ulcer. This bleeding can be fast or slow. Fast bleeding reveals itself in one of the following ways:

  • Vomiting of blood or dark material that looks something like coffee grounds: This is an emergency and warrants an immediate visit to an emergency department.
  • Blood in the stool or black, tarry, sticky-looking stools

Slow bleeding is often more difficult to detect, because it has no dramatic symptoms.

  • The usual result is low blood cell count (anemia).
  • The symptoms of anemia are tiredness (fatigue), lack of energy (lethargy), weakness, rapid heartbeat (tachycardia), and pale skin (pallor).
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 11/24/2015

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Peptic Ulcers - Symptoms

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Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Peptic Ulcer Disease »

Peptic ulcer disease (PUD) is a common disorder that affects millions of individuals in the United States each year.

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