Are the sharp pains in my stomach an ulcer?
I don't know what an ulcer is like but think I might have one. I have a sharp pain in my stomach that gets worse when I drink alcohol. Is this an ulcer? How does a doctor diagnose one??
A stomach ulcer -- medically known as peptic ulcer disease -- is a relatively common problem. That being said there are many other causes of stomach pain. I would recommend that you discuss this with your primary care doctor. Peptic ulcer disease occurs when the lining of the stomach (or the duodenum -- the first part of the small intestine) develops an errosion. Often this is caused by excess action of stomach acid -- although often other irritants can contribute (notably alcohol can be a major irritant, as can pain killing medications. A bacteria known as H Pylori is also a major irritant.). When there is an erosion in the lining -- the symptoms that occur are often severe abdominal pain -- often at the top half and middle of the stomach. Other common symptoms are nausea and blood in the stool or blood in the vomit. A doctor can help you with this. History, examination, checking the stool for blood and other tests of the blood (specifically looking for a bacteria that causes ulcers) can help. Ultimately however, the only true way to diagnose this is to do an endoscopy -- that is placing a small camera into the stomach to visually inspect it. Your doctor can help treat this with medications. Talk to your doctor for more information.
This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.
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