Gallstones symptoms are very similar to stomach ulcer symptoms. In fact, many people confuse the two. The symptoms of these two conditions may be painful, minimal, or non-existent. This causes many to misdiagnose, ignore, or pass their symptoms off as a stomachache.
Ulcers occur when acidic digestive juices from your stomach corrodes the lining your digestive tract, forming sores. Often, these sores are found in the duodenum of your small intestines. However, these ulcers are also formed in the stomach. These ulcers are known as gastric ulcers.
Stomach ulcer symptoms vary and some people may have no symptoms at all. However, the amount of pain one receives does not correlate to how serious the symptoms are. Some individuals still experience pain after their ulcer is healed.
Stomach ulcer symptoms include a burning, gnawing, or hunger pain in the stomach area. The pain is often throbbing, and it can occur after eating or in the middle of the night. These pains can be relieved by eating or taking some antacids. Some other symptoms you might notice are loss of appetite, nausea, bloating, heartburn, fatigue, and weakness.
There are two types of gallstones: cholesterol and pigment stones. Cholesterol gallstones are made of 80% cholesterol and are harder to detect through ultrasound. On the other hand, pigment stones are made of minerals, such as calcium and bilirubin and are easy to diagnose. Similar to the symptoms of gastric ulcers, pain may be experienced in the abdominal area. Other symptoms are chest and shoulder pain, dizziness, increased flatulence, weight gain, headaches, acid reflux, diarrhea, and jaundice. The symptoms occur often after large fatty meals.
A way to differentiate the two is to notice what type of abdominal pain you are feeling. Stomach ulcer pains often feel like it’s burning, gnawing, or similar to hunger pains. They often are throbbing pains. On the other hand, abdominal pain from gallstones will be either a dull ache or a quick sharp and jabbing pain. Gallstones symptoms usually cause pain on the right side of the body.
Another large difference between the two conditions is that gallstones symptoms can lead to jaundice. This occurs when bile is backed up in the liver and forced into the blood stream. The bile will cause the whites of the eyes and skin to turn yellow. If you experience a fever and chills along with the symptoms above, or if you notice you have jaundice, please see your doctor immediately. This is a strong indicator that your condition may be more serious.
In the event that you are still unsure if you are having gallstones symptoms or a stomach ulcer, a physician will be able to do an ultrasound or a barium GI x-ray examination to see if you have stomach ulcer symptoms or gallstones.