Strange Hunger Pangs

Q.I get a gnawing sensation in my stomach often, even in the middle of the night. It feels sort of like hunger pains, and eating food always makes it go away. I have no other symptoms. Could this be stomach cancer? What else might it be?


A. The symptoms you describe, which we call dyspepsia, have the typical pattern of a peptic ulcer (either a duodenal ulcer or a stomach ulcer).

This pain usually occurs when the stomach is empty and is relieved by food or an antacid. It may occur in the middle of the night — usually around 1am.

I don’t know how old you are, but it is unlikely you have stomach cancer, which is uncommon to begin with and extremely uncommon in people under age 50. Still, you need to see your doctor to be evaluated and to treat your ulcer if you have one.

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