Heartburn vs Ulcer: Difference and Comparison

That burning feeling inside your stomach might be caused by an ulcer, or it may be caused by heartburn, a persistent acid reflux disorder.

In any case, you must see a professional medical officer or a gastroenterologist to determine if you have heartburn or an ulcer.

A gastroenterologist can help you cure both heartburn and ulcers. Nevertheless, there are significant variances between the two sorts of diseases.

Key Takeaways

  1. Heartburn is a burning sensation in the chest due to acid reflux, whereas Ulcer is a sore in the stomach lining or duodenum.
  2. Heartburn is more common than ulcers, which can occur anytime, whereas ulcers are chronic and have constant pain.
  3. Heartburn can be relieved by antacids and changes in lifestyle, whereas ulcers are treated with antibiotics and medications to reduce acid production.

Heartburn vs Ulcer

Heartburn occurs when stomach acid backs up into the tube that carries food from your mouth to your stomach (esophagus). , when food is swallowed. An ulcer is an open, painful sore. Peptic ulcers affect the stomach and the upper part of the small intestine, called the duodenum (pronounced: doo-uh-DEE-num). 

Heartburn vs Ulcer

Heartburn is a sick feeling in the chest that occurs directly beneath the breastbone. After consuming meals after long gaps, in the evenings, or when lying down or bending over, the discomfort is greater.

Heartburn is a regular occurrence that is no reason for concern. With dietary adjustments and over-the-counter medicines, most people can handle the irritation of heartburn on their own.

Ulcers are lesions that take a long time to mend or that reoccur.

They come in a variety of shapes and sizes and can occur from both in and out of your body and it occurs mainly in areas that cannot be treated with topical medicine application.

It appears as an open wound in the stomach mucosa of the proximal section of the small intestine. It has the ability to pierce the tissue’s protective coating, allowing stomach acids to enter.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonHeartburnUlcers
DefineHeartburn is a sick feeling in the chest that occurs directly beneath the breastbone. It causes a burning sensation inside the throat.Ulcers are lesions that take a long time to mend or that reoccur. These occur in the stomach or even in the small intestine.
SeverityIt is not very severe but if not taken care of soon, it can develop into GERD.It is quite severe and complete dietary guidance along with medications is needed.
MedicationOTC medicines that perform the neutralization process and medicines like tulsi drops and antacid can help.Milk and curd are preferred with rice in the case of a medicated diet whereas medicines like omeprazole and rabeprazole are prescribed along with antibiotics.
CauseCaused by indigestion and unusual gap frequencies in between meals. It can also be a side-effect of certain antibiotics.Either by irregular fooding habits or by Helicobater pylori (Bacteria)
TypesThere are not any types of heartburns but it can grow into gastroesophageal reflux disease.Peptic Ulcers, mouth ulcers and gastric ulcers are some types of ulcers.

What is Heartburn?

Heartburn is characterized by a burning feeling behind your ribcage, or breastbone, in the center of your chest. It may also be felt in your chest and a distasteful mouth is very common in this case.

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You might also: When you bend over or lie down, you may have pain in the chest. Have a scorching, caustic, bitter, or salty feeling in your esophagus, or find it difficult to swallow?

Well, heartburn it is.

The esophageal tube, the tube that joins your neck and belly, is irritated by heartburn. Digestive juices are to be blamed.

This causes a burning sensation in the upper abdomen that is below the breastbone. Heartburn, despite its reputation, has little to do with the heart.

However, some of the indications are comparable to those seen in people who have had a heart attack or who have heart disease.

Experts refer to chronic acid reflux that occurs approximately twice a week as gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD which is the more severe version of heartburn.

Heartburn is significant when stomach acid increases into the tube that transports food from the mouth to the stomach. Heartburn can further develop into the more lethal GERD.

According to the American College of Gastroenterology, more than 1 to 12 million people in the United States suffer from heartburn daily.

Heartburn (along with the more serious version of the condition, gastrointestinal disorders, or GERD) causes chest pains and esophagus burning.

However, while certain meals might help with stomach ulcers, they can also aggravate heartburn and GERD sensations.


What is Ulcer?

Ulcers, known colloquially as gastric ulcers, are painful lesions on the wall of the intestine and the stomach. Peptic ulcer infection causes stomach ulcers.

Any ulcer that affects both the belly and the small intestine is known as a gastric ulcer and a peptic ulcer is always limited to the stomach.

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Whenever the thick coating of mucus that shields your stomach from digestive fluids is weakened, stomach ulcers develop.

The digestive acids corrode the stomach’s lining tissues, resulting in an ulcer. Although stomach ulcers are relatively treatable, they can develop serious if not treated properly.

Peptic ulcer disorder is a disease in which painful and irrational sores or ulcers form in the wall of the stomach and the first section of the small intestine as a result of being within the stomach and then being impacted by pepsin juices.

The gut lining is normally protected from the effects of its digestive fluids by a thick coating of mucus. However, a variety of factors can weaken this barrier, allowing stomach acid to harm the tissue.

The degree of the symptoms is determined by the ulcer’s severity.

A burning sensation or discomfort in the center of your stomach, between your chest and belly button, is perhaps the most prevalent symptom.

When your stomach is empty, the discomfort is more strong, and it can last anywhere from a few minutes to many hours.

People used to believe that ulcers were caused by stress or particular meals. However, no proof has been produced to back up their views.

Instead, investigations have found two primary causes of ulcers: the Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) bacterium and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).


Main Differences Between Heartburn and Ulcers

  1. Heartburn is caused by excess acid secretion whereas an Ulcer is an injury to the stomach or duodenum lining.
  2. Heartburn can be cured by OTC medicines whereas, Ulcers require serious attention and sometimes surgeries.
  3. Heartburn can also be called GERD whereas ulcers are also called peptic and gastric ulcers.
  4. Heartburn is not a severe condition whereas ulcers are very severe.
  5. Heartburn causes a burning sensation whereas ulcers cause stinging pain.
Difference Between Heartburn and Ulcer
  1. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/peptic-ulcer/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20354229#:~:text=These%20drugs%20include%20the%20prescription,)%20and%20pantoprazole%20(Protonix).
  2. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/17019-gerd-or-acid-reflux-or-heartburn-overview

Last Updated : 13 July, 2023

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