Wednesday, June 27, 2018 by Janine Acero
An ulcer – also called a sore – is an open and painful tissue wound. Peptic ulcers refer to painful sores that form in the stomach or the upper part of the small intestine (duodenum).
An ulcer in the stomach is called a gastric ulcer and an ulcer in the duodenum is called a duodenal ulcer.
Peptic ulcers occur when Helicobacter pylori (a common bacteria in the stomach) or a drug weakens the protective mucous coating of the stomach and duodenum, letting stomach acids and an enzyme called pepsin – which helps digest food – erode the mucosal wall.
H. pylori infection is usually contracted in childhood, but most people won’t have any symptoms until they’re older. This infection usually doesn’t cause problems in childhood; however, it can cause gastritis (irritation and inflammation of the stomach lining), peptic ulcer disease, and even stomach cancer later in life.
The most common symptom of peptic ulcers is abdominal pain, usually in the upper-middle part of the abdomen, above the navel and below the breastbone. The pain is akin to a burning sensation or gnawing and may go through to the back. The pain is often worse at night and early morning.
The pain usually comes several hours after a meal and can last anywhere from a few minutes to several hours.
Other symptoms of peptic ulcers include:
Smoking and drinking alcohol are some of the risk factors for developing peptic ulcers. Smoking, in particular, increases acid secretion which can aggravate ulcers and lead to complications. Smoking also prevents medications from effectively treating the ulcers.
People who take over-the-counter painkillers (such as NSAIDs) in excess are also prone to gastric ulcers. This includes older adults who frequently take pain relief drugs like aspirin and ibuprofen.
Stress may also increase the risk of ulcers.
Untreated ulcers can lead to more serious health complications such as:
These complications are serious and may require surgery.
Dietary changes are important for treating and preventing peptic ulcers.
It is recommended to avoid intense spices and flavorings like chili powder, garlic, and black pepper as these can induce the production of stomach acids, exacerbating the condition.
Other foods/habits to avoid or cut down on include:
Your diet should contain plenty of foods rich in vitamin A and fiber that dissolves easily.
Sources of soluble fiber:
Sources of vitamin A:
Antioxidant-rich foods like berries and snap peas are also recommended.
Some natural remedies for peptic ulcer include apple cider vinegar, ginger, aloe vera juice and cranberry juice, among others.
Activated charcoal tablets can also help relieve stomach discomfort caused by peptic ulcers. These tablets can soak up excess acid in the stomach. However, taking prescription or over-the-counter drugs alongside activated charcoal may interfere with effectiveness.
Peptic ulcers occur when painful sores form in the stomach or the upper part of the small intestine (duodenum). It is caused by the erosion of the stomach lining due to excess production of stomach acids.
Infections from H. pylori, a common stomach bacteria, is one of the causes of peptic ulcer. The most common symptom of peptic ulcers is abdominal pain.
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