Stomach ulcer, which is also termed as gastric ulcer, is the condition in which open sores, holes, or breaks build up in the lining of the stomach. Being a peptic ulcer disease, stomach ulcer has an effect both in the stomach and small intestines. These are the areas that come into contact with stomach acids and enzymes.
Stomach Ulcer Overview
Stomach ulcers come about during the thinning of the layer of mucus which defends the stomach from digestive juices. When thinned out, the digestive acids then cause the ulcers on the stomach. These types of ulcers are usually quite painful, sending up burning or gnawing pain in the tummy.
Children and adults can both suffer from stomach ulcers. Be that as it may, the condition is quite common to those in their 60s. It has been studied that 1 out of 10 Americans will experience having stomach ulcer at some point in life. A rather commonly encountered disease, stomach ulcers may easily be treated. All the same, these ulcers may become severe if proper treatment won’t be taken on.
In severe cases, stomach ulcers can cause grievous complications. The ulcers can result in severe bleeding or hemorrhaging. Notably, the stomach ulcer can gnaw through the stomach, which can cause a hole inside the abdomen and may be infected. That is why, it is quite important to know the common stomach ulcer causes and proper stomach ulcer relief, especially that each cause require a different treatment.
Stomach Ulcer Causes
Throughout the mid-1980s, stomach ulcer was considered to be caused mostly by lifestyle habits like eating fatty foods, consuming too much alcohol and caffeine, and smoking to a fault. It was also believed that stress and a genetic predisposition to excessive stomach acid secretion are factors that develop a stomach ulcer. Even so, a comparatively recent theory claims that the chief cause of peptic ulcers like the stomach ulcers is actually a bacterial infection.
Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori)
The bacterium called Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) has been proven to be present in more than 80% of stomach ulcer cases. There is a limited study on how H. pylori infection spreads out. But some studies claim that the bacterium may be carried from a person to another through intimate contact like kissing. Passing on food and water may also be culprits of the spread of the infection.
Along with the infection with the bacterium H. pylori, excessive intake of pain relievers can cause stomach ulcers. Too much use of non-prescription painkillers (the usual aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen), had been observed to contribute in the development of stomach ulcers. People who have osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis who constantly take pain relievers (or the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs / NSAIDs) are more prone to having ulcers as these medications can cause stomach and bowel problems when taken for quite a long time (for weeks or months). These stomach and bowel problems can cause the ulcers, to begin with, that is why, people aged in their 60s are the ones more prone to ulcers, as they also deal with arthritis in the first place.
In addition, the Zollinger-Ellison syndrome has been noted to cause stomach ulcers. It is an uncommon condition in which one or more tumors develop in the pancreas or the duodenum. The duodenum is the part of the small intestine between the stomach and the jejunum (the middle portion of the small intestine). The tumors release great amounts of the hormone gastrin. This causes the stomach to produce too much acid that then leads to peptic ulcers.
On the other hand, findings which claim that excessive smoking of cigarettes and drinking alcohol can create stomach ulcers remain proven. Nonetheless, modern science has proven that stress isn’t considered a cause of ulcers, rather a factor that may worsen them.
Stomach Ulcer Relief
There are different treatments for stomach ulcer, depending upon its cause. Some ulcers may be treated by antibiotics and other drugs. However, surgery may be required in complicated conditions of stomach ulcer. It is highly important to first be medically looked up. This is to confirm the reason why the stomach ulcer occurred.
In minor cases, stopping the intake of all types of NSAIDs may free the stomach from ulcers. Taking H2 receptor blockers, the drugs that block acid production, are also proven to relieve the condition. To address the bacterium H. pylori, antibiotics, probiotics, or proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) may be prescribed. On the other hand, patients with actively bleeding ulcers should immediately be treated in hospital.
Natural Remedies for Stomach Ulcers
Indeed, most anti-ulcer treatments that are based on antibiotics and medications are well-proven treatment plans. Nevertheless, at times, these medications can cause negative side effects, including headaches and diarrhea. Good thing, research has shown that there are also some natural home remedies that may be useful in managing a stomach ulcer.
These are some of the foods that you can add to your diet. These are backed by science to help relieve ulcer remedies:
Probiotics, found in yogurts, pickles, and some types of cheese (Gouda, mozzarella, cheddar, and cottage cheese) can help restore balance to the bacteria in the digestive tract. As well as helping achieve optimal gut health, they can help with treating ulcers.
This spice has a compound called curcumin, which has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activities that may help stop stomach ulcers.
Apples, blueberries, cherries, lemons, and oranges contain compounds called flavonoids. Flavonoids can help protect the stomach lining from having ulcers.
Ginger can aid with gastric ulcers caused by H. pylori and may also prevent ulcers caused by NSAIDs.
Unripe plantain bananas also contain flavonoid, which enhances the amount of mucus in the stomach. Thus, brings down its acidity and relieves ulcers.
Manuka honey has antimicrobial effects against H. pylori.
Garlic can have anti-bacterial effects against H. pylori when consumed twice a day.