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Peptic Ulcer Disease, Gastric Ulcer, Stomach Ulcer

One might ask, “With the stomach making so much acid, why doesn’t it just digest itself?” The body has a number of defense mechanisms which protect the stomach from the acid it produces. Any agents or conditions which decrease these normal defense mechanisms can predispose the development of an ulcer in the stomach. Symptoms of a gastric ulcer may be indigestion, burning upper abdominal pain or intolerance to certain foods. Some people complain of pain in the pit of their stomachs (the soft part of the stomach just below the breast bone) or slightly to the left. Classically, this pain is relieved by eating food but one or two hours later the pain returns. Others say eating makes the pain worse. If an ulcer is located near the valve at the end of the stomach (pylorus), it may interfere with the valve’s function and prevent adequate emptying of the stomach contents into the small intestine. This may result in nausea and/or vomiting. Should the ulcer bleed, blood may be present in the material vomited or blood may pass in the stool (bowel movement). If a large amount of blood has been passed, it may be digested and the stool will appear black and sticky and have a bad odor.

If a person passes such a black stool, he should consult his physician immediately!