About Gastric Ulcers

A man holding his stomach


There are all sorts of ailments that can affect your gastrointestinal system, from simple nausea to severe problems like gastric ulcers. Understanding a little bit about gastric ulcers and how to recognize them can help when you’re experiencing relate symptoms.

What is a gastric ulcer?

A gastric ulcer is a condition in which the lining of your stomach experiences a break. This lining is protective, and the break will cause further erosion of your stomach lining as well as your intestines. This becomes an open and very painful sore in the lining of your stomach.

What causes a gastric ulcer?

Gastric ulcers occur when certain secretions in your stomach get out of balance. Specifically, it’s when your stomach acid and the enzyme Pepsin are elevated and able to bypass the mucosal defenses of your stomach lining.

They can also be caused by a certain type of bacteria known as Heliobacter Pylori Bacterium.

Risk factors for gastric ulcers include the excessive use of aspirin or other anti-inflammatories, smoking and obesity.

How do I know if I have a gastric ulcer?

There are a number of symptoms to watch out for that can indicate that you’re suffering from a gastric ulcer, including:

  • A burning or gnawing pain. This pain occurs toward the upper middle section of your stomach, or even just below the breastbone area. It can last from as little as 30 minutes to as long as three hours. It feels similar to heartburn for some people, and for other people it just feels like they’re hungry. This pain can be so severe as to wake you during the middle of the night.
  • The pain may come after eating. For some, it happens right away. For other people, it will occur two or three hours later. Still other people may actually get some relief by drinking milk or by eating.
  • There are other symptoms, too. Symptoms that you may or may not experience can include nausea, loss of appetite, fatigue, weight loss and bloating.

If you think you may have a gastric ulcer, it’s important that you talk to your doctor about testing to see what’s causing your pain and exploring possible solutions.