Stomach Ulcer Pain Relief
In this article, you will find all the information you need on stomach ulcer pain, including what it feels like, how to relieve it, and an important message about dealing with other types of pain when you have an ulcer.
Stomach Ulcer Pain
Stomach ulcer pain typically is a burning sensation in the upper stomach. The location of this pain is typically in the upper portion of the stomach. Peptic ulcers are most likely to occur in the stomach or duodenum (initial part of the small intestine).
The actual organ that is the stomach sits higher than most people think in the abdomen (primarily above the navel). The lower portion of the abdomen (navel and below) is primarily the home of the small intestines and large intestine. As a result, upper stomach pain is more consistent with stomach ulcer pain.
Stomach Ulcer Pain Relief
The best solution for stomach ulcer pain relief is to see a doctor and get treated for your ulcer. Given that most ulcers are caused by H pylori, your stomach ulcer symptoms will never completely go away until you receive treatment.
However, there are a few things you can do in the short-term. One simple solution is to eat regular, small meals. Keeping some food in the stomach at all times significantly reduces stomach ulcer symptoms.
Another way to get stomach ulcer pain relief is by avoiding irritating agents. Alcohol, tobacco, coffee, and spicy foods all can irritate ulcers. These products, however, do not cause ulcers in the first place, so eliminating them will just reduce discomfort and will not heal the ulcer.
There are a few over-the-counter remedies available as well. Antacids (like calcium carbonate), stomach-coating medications (bismuth subsalicylate, i.e. Pepto-Bismol), and proton-pump inhibitors (omezaprole, i.e. Prilosec) can all provide stomach ulcer pain relief.
However, you have to be careful when using any of these medications and be sure to disclose them to your doctor. Many over-the-counter medications can block the absorption or have negative effects on stomach ulcer medications, which can subvert any medication you may be taking to heal the ulcer for good.
Other Pain Relievers
One thing that you need to be careful about when you have an ulcer are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs for short). These include ibuprofen, naproxen, and aspirin. NSAIDs lower the production of the protective mucus that coats the stomach. Taking these can actually cause ulcers.
If you have an ulcer, using these drugs can interfere with ulcer healing, cause more pain, and even make the ulcer worse. Certain medications like low-dose aspirin may not be avoidable.
Research has shown that patients using a proton-pump inhibitor or H-2 blocker for their ulcer while taking low-dose aspirin can still experience ulcer healing (1). Other researchers have reported that it may be advisable to stop aspirin therapy in the case of a bleeding ulcer and resume it once bleeding has been appropriately managed (2). The same study found that discontinuing aspirin therapy entirely after treatment led to a higher risk-rate for cardiovascular event and mortality (2).
To make it simple: there is no hard rule on the use of low-dose aspirin therapy and ulcers; the decision whether to continue or discontinue aspirin therapy during ulcer healing should be left to a specialist who can accurately weigh the pros and cons of the situation.
If you have an ulcer and are experiencing an unrelated pain (migraines, joint pain, cold or flu symptoms, etc.), Tylenol (acetaminophen) may be an appropriate short-term substitution as the path of action for this medication is different from NSAIDs and seems to have no effect on ulcers.
1. Nema H, Kato M. Comparative study of therapeutic effects of PPI and H2RA on ulcers during continuous aspirin therapy. World J Gastroenterol. 2010 Nov 14;16(42):5342-6.
2. Sostres C, Lanas A. Should prophylactic low-dose aspirin therapy be continued in peptic ulcer bleeding? Drugs. 2011 Jan 1;71(1):1-10.