2. Is this just bad indigestion

Sometimes, instead of sharp stomach pains, a person with a duodenal ulcer gets pains very similar to those that severe indigestion or GERD (heartburn) produce. It becomes very difficult to know whether this discomfort comes from an ulcer, or from the acid used to dissolve foods leaking out of the stomach in these situations. However, while indigestion occurs after eating too large an amount of food or eating in great haste, if an ulcer is responsible these pains can occur on an empty stomach and eating may actually bring pain relief. It is always safer to consult a doctor when in any doubt.

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