What are stomach ulcers?  Stomach ulcers are the open sores that occur inside your stomach on its walls and the condition is also known as gastric ulcers. Stomach ulcers cause a strong pain on the upper part of your tummy and can complicate into perforation of the stomach. Another area of the intestine that lies just past the stomach is susceptible to ulcers. We refer to these as duodenal ulcers.

stomach ulcer symptoms
Image Credit: Health Analytics.PUD in Africa

Peptic ulcers is another name for duodenal and stomach ulcers. Theinformation in this post will be relevant to both.

Symptoms of stomach ulcers

A burning or gnawing ache in your belly is the most typical sign of a stomach ulcer (tummy).

On the other hand, some stomach ulcers are painless and go unnoticed until a complication arises, such complications include bleeding ulcer.

Here are stomach ulcer symptoms:

Pain in your stomach. The pain is felt on the upper part of your belly while with intestinal ulcer the pain will be around the belly burton. Sometimes stomach pains occur when eating.

Feeling full (Indigestion). You tend to feel full even if you haven't eaten anything. 

Heartburn. Feeling burning sensation and disconfort on the upper part of your belly. This burn can be felt in the chest  near the heart hence the name heartburn. It occurs when the acid refluxes towards the the trhoat from the stomach.

Nausea and vomiting. Vomiting can include blood or dark stuff when the ulcer complicates to bleeding 

Passing dark stool. Another stomach ulcer symptom include passing dack stool because of bleeding ulcer that gets the blood cooked by belly heat into dacksh color.

Gastritis, a mild irritation of the stomach lining, can occasionally cause stomach pain without progressing to ulcers.

Causes of stomach ulcers

When the layer shielding the stomach lining from stomach acid deteriorates, stomach ulcers can result. This makes it possible for the stomach lining to get hurt.

Usually, this is brought on by:

  • Prolonged and frequent use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), including aspirin or ibuprofen, diclofenac or Naproxen.
  • A Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) bacterial infection
  • Lifestyles. Certain lifestyles can increase the likelihood of developing stomach ulcers. These include, spicy foods, stress and alcohol. 

There isn't much proof that certain diets or stress lead to stomach ulcers.

Treatment of stomach ulcers

Treating stomach ulcers generally needs patience. The condition is curable but needs commitment by the patient and the health worker. 

The following approaches are used to treat gastric ulcers.


Antibiotics.Medications used for treatment of stomach ulcers include 5 days courses of antibiotics include: Metronidazole, Amoxycilin or Azithromycin.  Antibiotics in this case are serving the purpose of killing the bacterial in case its the cause of the ulcers in the stomach.

Proton pump inhibitors (PPI). These are added to the above drugs  and the most used are Omeprazole, pantoprazole. These drugs will reduce the production of acid in the stomach.

Paracetamol. is the safest painkiller to use when you have ulcers. 

Antacids. Taking antiacids trhough chewing will neutralise the acids in the stomach and easy the pain together with paracetamol.

Lifestyle changes

People who have ulcers are encouraged to stay away from spicy foods, alcohol, carbonated drings and other risk factors. 

For ulcers to heal they take time and avoiding eating or taking these things helps a lot or else you may not get improvement from the medications alone.

What are complications of stomach ulcer

In most cases complications of gastric ulcers happens when the treatement was delayed or never at all. Even if complications are rare, when occur they are very serious and may even need  surgical operation to treat. 

Here are the comlications:

Internal bleeding. The stomach ulcer can become very big that bleeding happens and can lead to anemia.

Perforation. Extensively deep ulcers can perforate the intestines and the stomach. This complication is an emergenct and needs attention immediately to repair the perforation.

Stomach outlet obstruction. When a stomach ulcer is situated at the stomach's exit, it might alter the usual structure and cause a blockage. This issue also requires immediate surgery because it is an emergency.

Peritonitis. Sepsis, or the quick spread of infection into the blood, can occur in peritonitis before it spreads to other organs. If treatment is not received, there is a chance of multiple organ failure, which can be fatal.

The most typical sign of peritonitis is acute, gradually worsening abdominal pain. Immediately go to the hospital if you experience that kind of pain.

A hospital admission is necessary in the event of a peritonitis medical emergency. Occasionally, surgery can be required.

How to prevent stomach ulcers

Avoiding gastric ulcers means avoid some lifestyles that predspose you to suffering from ulcers. To prevent ulcers you need to:

  • Avoid smoking
  • Avoid drinking alcohol or reduce the amount you take per week.
  • Reduce amout of spicy you add to foods or completely avoid them. 
  • Do not consume carbonated drinks in excess. Reduce to 1 or 2 per week.


Although gastric ulcers appear to be a rare ailment, they affect 1 in 15 people and can become very serious when complications arise. Long-term medication regimens and lifestyle adjustments are necessary for treatment. Restricting specific foods and habits helps to improve the condition's curability. Experiencing pain in your abdomen at 04 or 05 in the morning could indicate that you have peptic ulcers.

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