Cause of pain:Peptic ulcer disease usually causes pain in the abdomen, but occasionally the pain can be perceived in the chest.
Characteristics of pain:The pain of peptic ulcers is often described as a burning or gnawing sensation. It is often relieved by eating a meal, and often made worse by drinking alcohol, smoking, or ingesting caffeine. It can be accompanied by symptoms of bloating or gas.
Evaluation:The evaluation includes a careful medical history and physical examination, which often point to the diagnosis. The ECG is generally normal, and ulcer disease is only rarely confused with heart disease. Endoscopy (examining the GI tract with a special flexible scope) is the favored method of diagnosis.
Gururatsakul M, Holloway RH, Talley NJ, Holtmann GJ. Association between clinical manifestations of complicated and uncomplicated peptic ulcer and visceral sensory dysfunction. J Gastroenterol Hepatol 2010; 25:1162.
Barkun A, Leontiadis G. Systematic review of the symptom burden, quality of life impairment and costs associated with peptic ulcer disease. Am J Med 2010; 123:358.