No one wants to have an ulcer, but the truth is about 10% of adults in the USA will end up with an ulcer at some point in their lives. I know about this all too well myself as ulcers have always run in my family.
They say that the primary cause of stomach ulcer symptoms is getting infected with H pylori. Unfortunately, H pylori itself has very little symptoms and not much is known about the way it is transferred from person to person.
One thing that I have found out is that H pylori tends to run in the family, so it must be considered contagious to a degree. H pylori being spread from family member to family member is perhaps the reason why stomach ulcers are so prevalent in my family (as opposed to congenital weakness).
The most common sign of a stomach ulcer is a gnawing, burning stomach pain. Think of it as a very amplified feeling of gnawing hunger. The sensation of hunger often occurs when you are thinking about food which stimulates the stomach; when the stomach is empty this leads to hunger.
In the case of an ulcer, that same feeling is amplified to the point of pain and sometimes significant discomfort because the stomach acid is splashing against a weakened stomach lining. This is what causes the additional burning sensation.
However, some people have very little symptoms at all. One thing to know is that this burning, gnawing pain seems to peak in the middle of the night or early in the morning, when the stomach is completely empty. It’s not common to get peptic ulcer symptoms when you are on a full stomach; in fact eating usually helps relieve this type of pain.
Some signs and symptoms of more serious ulcers include blood in the stool or vomit of the patient. A lot of people are slow to recognize blood in the stool from an ulcer as it is actually black and sticky. This is the result of blood from the stomach or early portion of the small intestine being digested and then excreted. Blood is never red in stool unless it is the colon or rectum that is bleeding; any blood that runs through the small intestine turns black.