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5 Things: Recognizing a Stomach Ulcer

Though I used to associate ulcers with stressed-out, Maalox-guzzling men, I'm now learning that this stomach malady is very common in young women. A few months ago, I quizzed you about whether you might be at risk for an ulcer, but even if you are, it's not the end of the world.

If you recognize your symptoms early enough, ulcers can be easily cured by prescription drugs and proper treatment. Here are five things you need to know about stomach ulcers.

  1. Despite what you may have heard, ulcers aren't caused by stress or spicy foods, though these factors, along with cigarette smoking, can aggravate ulcers or increase your risk of getting them.
  2. Ulcers, which are small tears in the stomach lining, are caused by two things: a bacteria called H. pylori and anti-inflammatory drugs known as NSAIDs. The latter includes meds like aspirin and ibuprofen, which can cause tears in the tummy lining when taken on an empty stomach.
  3. Ulcer pain can feel very different from regular indigestion; many patients describe it as a burning or gnawing feeling between the bellybutton and the chest.
  4. The stomach upset caused by ulcers typically lasts anywhere from a few minutes to several hours and may be temporarily relieved by taking antacids.
  5. Foods that are high in acid, such as citrus fruits, tomatoes, and coffee, may exacerbate ulcer pain; alcohol can also make ulcers hurt more.

If you've noticed any of these patterns with your persistent stomach pain, it may be time to talk to your doctor. There are several tests he can run to determine whether you require treatment. Have you ever had an ulcer? If so, share your experiences below.


Join The Conversation
Giasbash6260 Giasbash6260 7 years
Laura = I completely feel your pain!
Pandoradan Pandoradan 8 years
I found out some interesting stuff, like using an antibiotic with a stomach acid inhibitor can heal ulceration a lot more quickly. Actually I had mouth ulcers with tonsilitis and when I started taking antibiotics, they disappeared real quick. I also read somewhere that using apple cider vinegar may help, as well as cayenne pepper. Both sound nuts and I've not tried 'em, but it's worth researching on the net to find out if that's true. Tired of popping pills...
colormesticky colormesticky 9 years
Oh derr, I read your comment too fast.
colormesticky colormesticky 9 years
hottpink, I had that for over a year before they accidentally found I had an enlarged spleen. If they don't find anything in your chest, ask them to do a scan of your upper abdomen.
DreaAST DreaAST 9 years
Good info!
Spectra Spectra 9 years
Wow, ulcerative colitis sounds incredibly painful and uncomfortable. I'm lucky enough to not have any real stomach issues (I don't even get heartburn or anything like that), but I do try to monitor any GI symptoms because my aunt has a lot of ulcers. She has over 40 of them and they sometimes bleed and she has to really watch her diet.
hottpink hottpink 9 years
Funny you posted this! In the past week I have had tons of blood work done, an abdominal ultrasound, and a ct scan on my abdomen and pelvis. I have this dull achy pain under my left ribs that radiates to the back. It feels like there is not enough room for all of my organs on the left side. Needless to say, I am waiting on the ct results. But originally they thought it might be ulcers or IBS which it's neither :( I have been really worried because they can't figure out what it is :(
Merlin713 Merlin713 9 years
He was taking prednisone? Wow. I would never want to take that. The side effect list alone makes me want to hurl. Do you know what type of colitis he has? I have tried a lot of diets out there, for a few months, and nothing has worked for me so far. I will look into that. I don't think I've tried it.
Raisin11 Raisin11 9 years
Laura220- my boyfriend was recently diagnosed with colitis (about 2 years ago actually). And he was on prednisone, colazol, etc. He read about something called the Specific Carbohydrate Diet. All the doctor's said it didn't matter, it wouldn't work. But he has been on it for 1.5 years and has not had to take prednisone at all. He is still on one other medication, but only if a flare up occurs. I would seriously look into it. It's definitely hard to get the hang of, but there are cook books and websites and it has really done wonders for him. I know there is no cure, but this sure helped. Good luck with everything and i hope you stay healthy!
Merlin713 Merlin713 9 years
Funny you posted this.. I have Ulcerative Colitis. Basically, it's ulcers and inflammation and just all out bleeding in my intestines and colon. My colon is the main thing infected, and everything I eat hurts so damn bad all the time. The more infected the area, the worse the symptoms. It doesn't go away. It can be helped by medicine(yyyeah...), but even then, you can't control at all when you are having a flare. There is not a lot known about this disease, which sucks. There are only three people in my family with this. One cousin has Colitis, but my other cousin has Crohn's. It's a really shi**y disease to say it lightly. The symptoms you can have are: diarrhea with or without blood, nausea, weight loss and/or loss of appetite, cramping, pain, urgent need to go to the bathroom(a LOT), headaches, anemia, etc, etc... I had to get a colonoscopy last June. They took biopsies and came to the conclusion that I have colitis. When I was undiagnosed and not on medication(this was for about 6 months), I was going to the bathroom up to 50 times a day(I hardly slept). I literally was in pain from the fact that food literally flew threw me. It was a bad time. I'm kind of getting back into how I was before I got sick, but I will never be the same. If you experience anything like what I have explained tell someone and go to the doctor! If you have diarrhea and it is pretty much pure blood or if it has any blood in it, go to the doctor!!! I waited, and I seriously thought I was going to die.
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