Q. Why does the consumption of foods like ketchup, coffee, and cheeses exacerbate abdominal pain for those with peptic ulcers? What is a peptic ulcer?
A. A peptic ulcer is a sore on the lining of the stomach or the duodenum (start of the small intestine). Patients may present with abdominal pain, dark or black stool due to bleeding in the GI tract, vomit that resembles coffee grounds, heartburn, nausea, and bloating. The most common symptom of having a peptic ulcer is pain that is burning or searing in nature and can be felt anywhere from the top of the sternum all the way down to the navel. Peptic ulcer pain is typically aggravated by excess stomach acid, which can happen especially at nighttime, when one’s stomach is empty or in relation to eating or drinking certain foods. The aforementioned foods– ketchup, coffee, and cheeses– are all considered highly acidic, and contribute to the aggravation caused by excess stomach acid. Pain can be reduced by eating other foods that help neutralize stomach acid or by taking acid-suppressing medications. Resources: