WHAT IS A STOMACH ULCER?
A stomach ulcer is also known as a gastric ulcer, which are painful sores in the lining of the stomach. The stomach ulcer is a form of peptic ulcer disease. Peptic ulcers are any ulcer which attack both the stomach and small intestines.
Stomach ulcers happen when the thick layer of mucus which protects your stomach from digestive fluids diminishes. Which will then allow the digestive acids to eat away at the tissues that line the stomach, resulting in an ulcer. Stomach ulcers can be cured easily, however if not properly treated may become severe.
WHAT CAUSES STOMACH ULCERS?
Most if not all stomach ulcers are caused by one of the following:
- a bacterium Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection.
- long-term and continued use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), for example aspirin, ibuprofen, or naproxen.
Hardly ever, a condition called Zollinger-Ellison syndrome may cause stomach and intestinal ulcers due to increasing the body’s production of acid. The syndrome is assumed to cause less than 1 percent of all peptic ulcers. Which renders it less harmful if not at all harmful.
For a while these following factors were thought to cause stomach ulcers:
- Smoking – it could increase the risk of peptic ulcers in people who are infected with H. pylori.
- Drinking alcohol – alcohol tends to irritate and erode the mucous lining of your stomach, and it rises the amount of stomach acid formed.
- Untreated stress.
- Eating spicy foods.
On their own, these aspects do not cause ulcers, but they have a tendency of making ulcers worse and problematic to heal.
TREATMENT OF STOMACH ULCERS
If your ulcer is a result of the Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori), the main treatment is to clear the infection by taking acid-suppressing medication.
If your ulcer is a result of an anti-inflammatory medicine, stop taking the medicine immediately. Your doctor may prescribe some acid-suppressing medicine that you will have to take for a few weeks, this will stop the stomach from producing acids.
SURGICAL TREATMENT OF STOMACH ULCERS
Surgery might be an option in certain cases, for instance if the ulcer will not heal, bleeds, prevents food from leaving the stomach or continues to return.
Surgery can include:
- getting rid of the ulcer
- binding bleeding blood vessels
- stitching a tissue from another site onto the ulcer
- cutting the nerve that controls stomach acid produce.
What Happens After Treatment?
To check if the ulcer has healed, a few weeks after you have finished your treatment a repeat gastroscopy (endoscopy) is done. And some tests are done to check if the H. pylori has disappeared.
Here Are Some Remedies For Treating Stomach Ulcers;
1.Probiotics (yogurts, fermented foods, probiotic supplements), they help to restore the bacteria balance in the digestive tract.
- Ginger, it helps prevents ulcers that can be caused by NSAIDs.
- Colorful fruits like; (apples, blueberries, cherries, lemons and oranges), these contain Flavonoids. Flavonoids prevents the development of ulcers on the stomach lining by inhibiting the growth of the H. pylori by producing stomach mucus.
- Plantain bananas, unripe bananas contain leucocyanidin, a flavonoid which produces stomach mucus and it also reduces acidity.
- Honey, it contains antimicrobial that is useful when treating stomach ulcers.
- Turmeric, it contains anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activities that may prevent stomach ulcers.
- Chamomile, they contain anti-ulcer properties.
- Garlic, it contains antimicrobial and antibacterial properties that fight infections.
- Licorice, eating a dried licorice root may help prevent ulcers.
- Aloe vera
WHAT TO EAT AND DRINK
You will have to try out different types of food to find out which foods work out for you. Your doctor may recommend the following foods;
- Dairy products; milk, low-fat cheeses, yogurt, fermented milk
- Oilseed; flaxseed, Brazilian nut, walnuts
- Oils and olive oils; Vegetable oils, olive oil
- Fruits; Apple, papaya, melon, banana
- Vegetables; Leafy dark green vegetables, carrot, beet, green bean, spinach, kale, radish, zucchini, leek Broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, cucumber, onion, red pepper
- Legumes; Bean soup, lentils, chickpeas, soybean
- Meats; Lean meat (beef, pork, chicken, fish) Fatty meats, organ meats and sausages
- Natural juices
Some helpful tips to prevent or allow healing of ulcers include:
If you are overweight, try to lose weight.
Avoid trigger foods like coffee, chocolates, fatty, tough or spicy food and sweet foods.
Have your evening meals 3-4 hours before going to sleep, eat smaller quantities of food.
Reduce alcohol consumption to recommended limits. Avoid / reduce alcohol to recommended limits.
Do not sleep on your right side.