All About YOU: GERD or Stomach Ulcer?

Medically reviewed in December 2019

If you're getting a burning sensation in your gut, it could be:

  1. A case of heartburn
  2. A stomach ulcer

How do you tell the difference?

Pinpoint the Pain
The location of the pain is one of the easiest ways to tell whether stomach discomfort is more likely to be heartburn or an ulcer. Ulcer pain tends to occur in the abdominal area -- especially just above the belly button -- but people experiencing heartburn (as well as the more serious form of heartburn -- GERD) typically feel pain in the chest and throat.

Another way to distinguish between the two: Often, eating makes stomach ulcers feel better but typically makes heartburn and GERD symptoms worse.

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