Symptoms of stomach ulcer 

The most common symptom of a stomach ulcer is a burning or gnawing pain that develops in your abdomen (tummy).

However, some stomach ulcers aren't painful and are only noticed when a complication of a stomach ulcer develops, such as bleeding from the ulcer.

Tummy pain

The pain caused by a stomach ulcer can travel out from the middle of your tummy 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 and often starts within a few hours of eating. You may also wake up in pain during the night.

Taking antacids (indigestion medication) may relieve the pain temporarily, but it will keep coming back if the ulcer isn't treated.

Other symptoms

Less common symptoms of a stomach ulcer can include:

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

When to seek medical advice

Visit your GP if you experience persistent symptoms of a stomach ulcer.

Contact your GP or NHS 111 immediately, or go to your nearest accident and emergency (A&E) department, if you develop signs of a serious complication, including:

  • vomiting blood – the blood can appear bright red or have a dark brown, grainy appearance, similar to coffee grounds
  • passing dark, sticky, tar-like stools
  • a sudden, sharp pain in your tummy that gets steadily worse

Page last reviewed: 21/05/2015

Next review due: 21/05/2017