An ulcer is a lesion that develops on the skin or mucous membranes of the body. Ulcers that occur in the stomach or small intestines are known as peptic ulcers. A peptic ulcer in the stomach is also called a gastric ulcer. Ulcers may be caused by lifestyle factors like diet and stress, or an excess amount of stomach acids, however, the majority are caused by an infection from the bacterium Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori). Ulcer symptoms are acute for some people and mild for others. Sometimes ulcers are asymptomatic, meaning a person who has them experiences no symptoms whatsoever.
Pay attention to abdominal pain anywhere between your breastbone and your belly button. The pain can vary in severity and duration, lasting anywhere from a couple of minutes to several hours. It often occurs between meals as your stomach empties and could be described as a burning, stabbing, or aching pain.
• Often pain caused by ulcers can be temporarily relieved by eating foods that buffer the acid in the stomach, or by taking an over-the-counter antacid medication.
• If your stomach pain is caused by ulcers, flare-ups may occur at night and whenever you are hungry.