Ulcers | Complications

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Are ulcers serious?

Most people with ulcers just have stomach pain. Some people don’t have any symptoms at all. But ulcers may cause other health problems. Sometimes they bleed. If the ulcers become too deep, they can break through the stomach. This is called perforation. Ulcers can block food from going through the stomach (called obstruction). This causes nausea, vomiting and weight loss. Get help right away if you have any of the warning signs listed below.

Warning signs that your ulcer is getting worse

  • You vomit blood.
  • You vomit food eaten hours or days before.
  • You feel cold or clammy.
  • You feel unusually weak or dizzy.
  • You have blood in your stools (blood may make your stools look black or like tar).
  • You have ongoing nausea or repeated vomiting.
  • You have sudden, severe pain.
  • You keep losing weight.
  • Your pain doesn't go away when you take your medicine.
  • Your pain reaches to your back.

Written by familydoctor.org editorial staff

Reviewed/Updated: 05/14
Created: 01/96

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