10 Symptoms of a Peptic Ulcer

While it could be due to other causes, if you notice several of the symptoms on this list you should go to your doctor for an exam and treatment for a peptic ulcer
10 Symptoms of a Peptic Ulcer

Last update: 26 May, 2022

A peptic ulcer is a lesion that occurs within the inner lining of your stomach. It’s a type of lesion that is caused by the excessive production of stomach acids, which can be triggered by a variety of factors.

The main cause is an infection by H. pylori bacteria, a microorganism that proliferates under certain conditions. It can also be the result of certain medications and digestive disorders.

Although the intake of alcohol, irritating foods, and smoking are not direct causes of peptic ulcers, regular consumption of these items can worsen the severity of your symptoms and increase the likelihood of suffering from complications.

Although the symptoms might not be very obvious at first, timely diagnosis and treatment are key to keep other problems from developing.

That’s why today we want to share 10 of the warning symptoms of a peptic ulcer with you so you’ll be able to identify it in the future.

Find out what they are!

1-Abdominal inflammation

Peptic Ulcer
There are multiple causes of abdominal inflammation. Don’t overlook the fact that this is one of the initial symptoms of a peptic ulcer.
  • You’ll have noticeable swelling of your stomach, almost always accompanied by feelings of heaviness or discomfort.
  • This occurs due to the inflammatory response of your body to combat the acid production in your stomach.

2-Burning and abdominal pain

An uncomfortable burning sensation in your stomach could indicate an ulcer in development. This may also be interpreted as pain and is a result of an injury to the gastric mucosa.

  • You’ll feel discomfort between your sternum and belly button. Depending on the location of the ulcer, it is sometimes felt along the sides of the body.
  • It usually gets worse after eating spicy or very hot foods.

3-Loss of appetite

Loss of appetite
Many patients with peptic ulcers lose their appetite, thanks to the digestive system effects that occur when they do eat.
  • Burning and swelling after eating causes them to stop wanting to consume normal amounts of food.
  • This can become a chronic problem that leads to nutritional deficiencies.

4-Nausea or vomiting

Just like many other digestive disorders, ulcers can lead to nausea and vomiting.

  • The excessive production of gastric juices irritates the mucus lining of the stomach and triggers a defense mechanism that you’ll perceive as the need to vomit.
  • Sometimes the ulcer can become so severe that it causes you to vomit when you eat certain foods.


Eating too much food or certain types of food can cause indigestion. When ulcers appear, however, the problem happens more often.
  • Sores in the stomach lining produce irritation and pain when you eat acidic or difficult to digest foods.
  • You may experience gas, an upset stomach, and other symptoms with this condition.

6-Changes in your stool

Changes in the color or consistency of your stool should never be overlooked. This might not indicate a peptic ulcer, but plenty of digestive system diseases can cause this problem.

  • In this case, be sure to notice any dark or sticky stools. When an ulcer becomes more severe, there could be blood in your stool.

7-Food intolerance

Food intolerance
Because your stomach becomes more sensitive when you have an ulcer, you could experience certain food intolerances, even when you’ve never had such a problem before.
  • Certain foods can worsen inflammation, causing the pain and discomfort to intensify.
  • Typically people will have trouble eating fatty, spicy, or very sugary foods.

8-Definite weight loss

When an ulcer isn’t treated in time, the sufferer will experience obvious and alarming weight loss.

  • This is usually related to a lack of appetite, which prevents you from eating well.
  • It may require a deeper analysis, as chronic diseases like cancer also have this side effect.

Do you want to know more? See: 4 benefits of spirulina to lose weight

9-General malaise

Ulcer symptoms can often be confused with the flu. Although there’s no relationship whatsoever, many people think that their general malaise is caused by a respiratory illness.

  • Typically you will experience feelings of fatigue and muscle weakness, with a mild fever.

10-Hunger pain

While an ulcer can cause a lack of appetite in some patients, it often causes hunger pains in others, even after you’ve just finished a meal.

If you have several of the symptoms we mentioned today, it’s a good time to seek medical help. It’s important to treat a peptic ulcer as soon as possible, especially if the pain returns after your initial treatment.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Chan, F. K., & Lau, J. Y. W. (2016). Peptic ulcer disease. Sleisenger and Fordtran’s Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease: Pathophysiology/Diagnosis/Management. 10th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders.
  • Kempenich, J. W., & Sirinek, K. R. (2018). Acid Peptic Disease. Surgical Clinics, 98(5), 933-944.
  • Lee, S. P., Sung, I. K., Kim, J. H., Lee, S. Y., Park, H. S., & Shim, C. S. (2017). Risk factors for the presence of symptoms in peptic ulcer disease. Clinical endoscopy, 50(6), 578.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.