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Symptoms - Stomach ulcer

The most common symptom of a stomach ulcer is a burning or a constant, dull pain in your abdomen (tummy).

Some stomach ulcers are not painful. You only notice them when a complication of a stomach ulcer develops.

Tummy pain

The pain caused by a stomach ulcer can spread out from the middle of your tummy. It can spread up to your neck, down to your belly button or through to your back.

It can last from a few minutes to a few hours. The pain often starts within a few hours of eating. You may also wake up in pain during the night.

Taking indigestion medicine (antacids) may relieve the pain for a short time. But it'll keep coming back if you do not get treatment for the ulcer.

Other symptoms of stomach ulcers

Less common symptoms of a stomach ulcer can include:

  • indigestion
  • heartburn
  • loss of appetite
  • feeling and getting sick
  • weight loss

Some people also burp or become bloated after eating fatty foods.

When to see your GP

Talk to your GP if you have symptoms of a stomach ulcer that are not going away.

Urgent advice: Contact your GP immediately or go to your nearest emergency department (ED)

if you develop signs of a serious complication including:

  • vomiting blood – the blood can be bright red or have a dark brown, grainy appearance, like coffee grounds
  • passing dark, sticky, tar-like poo
  • a sudden, sharp pain in your tummy that gets worse over time

Find your nearest emergency department (ED)

Content supplied by the NHS and adapted for Ireland by the HSE

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This project has received funding from the Government of Ireland’s Sláintecare Integration Fund 2019 under Grant Agreement Number 123.

Page last reviewed: 8 May 2021
Next review due: 8 May 2024