H. pylori Ulcer Symptoms

Ulcers are common digestive tract lesions. Dr. Nancy A. Lynch explains in her article, “Helicobacter pylori and Ulcers: a Paradigm Revised” that since the discovery of the bacteria Helicobacter pylori in 1982, and its role in causing ulcers, doctors and scientists have been fascinated. Modern science has associated the bacteria with most cases of ulcers. Treatment for ulcers caused by H. pylori is different than treatment for ulcers not caused by the bacteria. However, most doctors treat all ulcers in the same manner. Early treatment is important to prevent the ulcer from eating through the lining of the stomach. Therefore, patients should consult a doctor when they first experience the symptoms of an ulcer.

Abdominal Discomfort or Pain

The National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse (NDDIC) lists abdominal discomfort as one of the most common symptoms of ulcers. The pain is described as a dull, gnawing pain that comes and goes for an extended period. The discomfort usually occurs 2 to 3 hours after a meal, or in the middle of the night. The pain is relieved when the patient eats or if antacid medications are ingested.

Weight Loss

The Delaware County Community College (DCCC) reports that significant weight loss is a symptom of H. pylori ulcers. When significant weight loss occurs at the same time as a history of chronic abdominal discomfort, then the patient may be suffering from an ulcer. Weight loss is most probably caused by improper digestion of food and the discomfort the patient feels that discourages him from eating

Poor Appetite

According to the NDDIC, most patients with ulcers complain of having a poor appetite. The increased acid secretion in the stomach can cause the loss of appetite. The acid secretion leads to the abdominal discomfort. During these bouts of pain, the patients do not feel like eating and if they do eat, they only eat a small amount. Poor appetite can contribute to the weight loss most ulcer patients experience.


H. pylori ulcers lead to an increase in the acid production in the stomach. The increased acid can lead to the sensation of fullness and increase the gaseous pressure in the stomach. This process can lead to more frequent burping. A patient who is burping more than normal while also experiencing the other symptoms of an ulcer, such as abdominal discomfort, should seek medical advice.

Emergency Symptoms

There are some symptoms that point to an emergency situation. These symptoms include a sharp, sudden, persistent stomach pain, the presence of bloody or black stools, or vomit that is bloody or has the color of coffee grounds. The DCCC lists these symptoms as indicators that the patient is experiencing a life-threatening complication of an ulcer.

The patient could be experiencing perforation (when the ulcer erodes through the stomach wall), bleeding (caused by the ulcer breaking into a blood vessel), or an obstruction of the digestive system. Any of these conditions requires prompt medical care.

About this Author

Joseph Pritchard graduated from Our Lady of Fatima Medical School with a medical degree. He has spent almost a decade studying humanity. Dr. Pritchard writes for the Examiner.com as the SF biology examiner and thoroughly enjoys sharing the knowledge he has accumulated.