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Can Ulcers Cause Chest Pain?



Ulcers CAN cause chest pain.

More Info: Though ulcers can sometimes cause chest pain, the most common symptom associated with an ulcer is a burning pain in the abdomen or gut area.

Common Symptoms Associated with Ulcers

The location of the pain associated with an ulcer depends on the location of the ulcer.  Some experience a gnawing pain in the upper stomach, which may be relieved by eating a meal.  Some experience a dull, aching pain that occurs at night or just after eating a meal.  Because ulcer pain in generally focused in the abdomen or gut area, it can troubling when the pain radiates into other parts of the body.  [1]

Chest Pain and Ulcers

Though not as common, ulcer patients may experience radiating pain in the back or chest behind the breastbone.  The chest pain that may result from an ulcer is commonly dull and achy.  It is often disconcerting for those experiencing the chest pain associated with an ulcer as it can often be mistaken for the chest pain associated with a heart attack.

Chest pain by itself does not necessarily indicate an ulcer.  Upper abdominal symptoms, including discomfort, nausea, and bloating are the most common signs of a peptic ulcer.  The abdominal or gut pain caused by an ulcer may ache, gnaw, burn, or stab, and in some situations may spread to other locations including to the sufferer’s back or to their chest. [2]

The Perforated Ulcer

Chest pain will also present as a symptom of a perforated ulcer. [3] A perforated ulcer occurs when a peptic ulcer burns through the wall of the stomach excreting digestive juices into the abdominal cavity.  Left untreated, this type of ulcer is life threatening.  In fact, the most common cause of death from a perforated ulcer is delayed treatment. [4]

Chest Pain Can Indicate Serious Health Issues

You should seek immediate medical advice if you are experiencing chest pain.  Chest pain can be indicative of many health problems, some could be benign, but some could be life threatening.  For example, a panic attack can cause chest pains, as well as shingles, heartburn, and gallstones.   More serious causes of chest pain could include a heart attack, a blood clot in the lung, and pleurisy, to name a few. [5]

If in Doubt Err on the Side of Caution

According to the Women’s Heart Foundation, the chest pain and shortness of breath associated with heart disease is often mistaken for a panic attack.  Heart disease is the number one killer of women over the age of 35.  If the duration of chest pain lasts more than a few minutes it should be considered life threatening requiring immediate medical attention. [6]



[1] Mayo Clinic
Peptic Ulcer Symptoms

[2] University of Maryland Medical Center
Peptic Ulcers Symptoms .

[3] International Journal of Emergency Medicine
Respiratory distress and chest pain: a perforated peptic ulcer with an unusual presentation

[4]National Center for Biotechnology Information
Management of perforated duodenal ulcer

[5] National Institute of Health
Chest Pain

[6] Women’s Heart Foundation
Panic Attack or Heart Attack

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