Can ulcers affect bowel movements?

An ulcer is a sore that can develop in a few different areas inside the body. Most ulcers occur in the esophagus, the stomach and even in some cases the intestines. They happen when the acid from your stomach deteriorates the lining in any of these areas. Peptic ulcers, also known as stomach ulcers, affect an estimated 10% of the U.S. population. They can be extremely painful for some people and at minimum, disruptive to daily life. For those with ulcers, the effects can make bowel movements painful and unpleasant.


3 ways an ulcer can affect regular bowel movements


  • Can make bowel movements painful if in the rectum — Rectal ulcers occur in about 1 out of 100,000 people. An ulcer can affect your bowel movements particularly if it is located in the rectum. The location of these sores can make passing stool painful. 


  • Can cause pain if located in the stomach — Ulcers can cause pain in the stomach prior to a bowel movement. This could be due to a few reasons. Large ulcers can block the small intestine and make passing a bowel movement difficult or slower than normal. Ulcers can also be associated with pain in between meals because of a buildup of corrosive stomach acid. These types of pain can make subsequent bowel movements dreaded and uncomfortable.


  • Can cause blood to be present in the stool — In some cases, ulcers can cause blood to show up in the stool. The blood may indicate a bleeding ulcer somewhere in the stomach or intestines. Blood in the stool from a bleeding stomach or intestinal ulcer also causes the stool to appear black and tarry. If blood is present in the stool, patients should consult with a physician or digestive health specialist.


Ulcers can make going to the bathroom uncomfortable and even painful. If you or someone you know is struggling with an ulcer that is affecting your bowel movement, your doctor may recommend an endoscopy during the course of your treatment. Typically, endoscopies can help determine where ulcers are located and identify those that are causing bleeding. 


Don’t hesitate to reach out to the Digestive Health Institute with any further questions!


If you’re still wondering what else an endoscopy entails, are looking for more information on ulcers or have other digestive health questions, please don’t wait to reach out to one of our team members at the Digestive Health Institute for help. We’re ready and willing to help you determine if your symptoms are ulcer related. In addition, our specialists can create a personalized treatment plan for you that’s designed to ease your symptoms and promote recovery.


Contact our team today for more information about all the GI services we offer or to schedule an initial appointment to get help for your ulcer symptoms. 

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