Have you ever had a bad stomach ache and wondered if you may have an ulcer? This is a common concern for patients who have stomach problems, and it can be hard to know if it is an ulcer or something else.
An ulcer is like a nasty canker sore (or crater) typically penetrating the lining of the stomach (a gastric or peptic ulcer) or the small intestine (a duodenal or peptic ulcer). Ulcers occur due to abnormal acid production, an infection (H. pylori), or medications (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications). Any of these processes changes the balance of acid, making it easier for ulcers to form.
An ulcer can be extremely painful, so it’s difficult to ignore if you develop one. If left untreated, it can eat into the stomach or small intestine wall causing a perforation or penetrate the blood vessels causing bleeding, resulting in damaging and excruciating health complications.
Here are five very evident signs that you may be suffering from an ulcer:
Severe Abdominal Pain
New-onset abdominal pain that does not go away can be a sign of an ulcer forming. The pain may be sharp or stabbing that comes and goes. It could be worsened by eating certain foods and better by avoiding them.
When an ulcer develops, it can irritate the stomach making people feel very nauseated. This can be worsened on an empty stomach or early in the morning. If the vomiting becomes severe or unrelenting, this could be a sign of an ulcer. It is especially worrisome if you notice blood in the vomit. Make sure you inform your health-care provider immediately if this occurs.
The sudden and sharp stomach pains felt by many ulcer patients a few hours after a meal (during the digestion phase) will often cause them to fear eating or totally lose their appetite. If you notice yourself being more careful with foods, this can be a warning sign.
Unintentional Weight Loss
With a loss of appetite, naturally comes weight loss due to lack of eating. You may also suffer from sudden weight loss if your ulcer is causing you to vomit frequently after meals. These are additional warning signs of an ulcer developing.
Change In Stool Color
A sudden change in stool color to black, maroon, or frank blood is a sign of a bleeding ulcer. This is very worrisome and should never be ignored.
If you notice these symptoms and they have not gotten better, make sure to discuss this with your health-care provider.