Every ailment has a moderate start and peptic ulcers are no exception to the rule. 90% of the people present themselves to the doctor only after complaining of pain. The pain could either be mild / dull or intense or a rather slowly progressing pain on the upper abdomen area. Generally a feeling of a heart burn should ring alarm bells. More clearly, if there is a burning sensation or pain somewhere in between the chest and the belly button; it can be signs of ulcer. The burning sensation or pain either lasts for few minutes or can last for few hours. This sensation of course can recur.
But before ulcer can manifest fully and pain begin to show up, they do give other symptoms beforehand, probably forewarning you of what is coming. A sense of bloating (gaseous abdomen) a sense of feeling full even after having very small amount of meal (a condition referred as early satiety), a general feeling of loss of appetite, burping often and feeling nauseate especially in the early morning when brushing the teeth are these other symptoms. Pain when it begins to manifest is often dull in the beginning.
Gastric Ulcer and Duodenal Ulcers vary in their symptoms. The presence of Gastric Ulcer or the stomach ulcer causes increased pain after food intake. Hence a tendency to skip meals is often noticed and the patient may lose weight. On the other hand, Duodenal Ulcer causes more pain when hungry. The hunger happens in the wee hours of morning; say at 4-6 am, around 11 in the morning and around 4-6pm. This pain is called hunger pain. Hence people with duodenal ulcer show a tendency to consume more food than usual. This may result in weight gain.
Peptic Ulcer can also present as anemia. Rarely any peptic ulcer might bleed internally and mixes with stool. In this condition the stool is generally tarry black in color (people usually refer it being coffee ground in color). This condition is termed Melena.
Check this other Angle – Beware it could be Heart Attack too
But wait! There is one more angle to this. If you have hit 35 years of age, and if you have the above stated pain but the pain is more on the upper left side of the body closer to where your heart is, then it is imperative that you need to rule out if it is some kind of a cardiac problem.
Ask yourself if you have a family history of heart attack, hypertension, cholesterol, and diabetes, and over and above if you also drink and smoke. If the answer is yes, then it is also precautionary and makes a lot of medical sense to rule out any cardiac related ailments before you go for a medical checkup for stomach ulcer. In other words, you first check your heart and then check for the presence of stomach ulcer.
Dr Maran is an experienced Surgeon in the field of Gastro-enterology. He specializes in Advanced laparoscopic Surgery procedures of the gastro-intestinal (GI) tracts. Dr. Maran is also a leading Bariatric Surgeon in Chennai and has a penchant for addressing problems concerning Obesity.