Peptic Ulcer

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Description

A peptic ulcer is a small spot anywhere in the stomach or small intestine that is broken or has become eroded leading to an internal open sore/wound.
There are two main types of ulcers: duodenal and gastric.

1. Duodenal ulcers: These ulcers occur in the first part of the duodenum (the portion of the small intestine that is closest to the stomach). They are usually round or oval in shape and less than 1 cm in diameter. Duodenal ulcers are more common in men, particularly in middle or old age. These ulcers are seen more frequently than gastric ulcers. It has been estimated that 10% of the population are likely to experience a duodenal ulcer at some time during their life

2. Gastric ulcers are seen by both sexes usually in middle or old age. Almost all are located in the antrum area (the lower portion of the stomach which is near the small intestine). Although gastric ulcers respond well to treatment there is a tendency for relapses to occur.

Duodenal and gastric ulcers that are not treated can become chronic, painful, start bleeding, or perforate. Gastric ulcers that perforate are 3 times more likely to be fatal than duodenal ulcers. People suffering from gastric ulcers need to be monitored closely, should an ulcer fail to start healing within 3 weeks, they should have further tests done so gastric cancer can be ruled out.

Note: If blood appears in the stools (where they appear black), or if intense, steady pain is experienced that worsens with movement please consult a medical professional immediately.

Symptoms

Peptic ulcer symptoms include burning pain or discomfort in the stomach, which usually begins 45-60 minutes after eating or at night (the pain may awaken an individual in the middle of the night). The pain may vary in severity. This pain may be more severe before a meal and can be relieved by eating, drinking a glass of water, or taking antacids. Other symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, lower back pain, headaches, and feeling bloated.

Flare-ups may occur on and off over time.

Treatments

1. The treatment for peptic ulcers will depend on the cause. If H. pylori are present antibiotic medications will be used to kill the bacterium. Drs may also use medications that block acid production in the stomach (Proton pump inhibitors – PPIs), and others to reduce stomach acid production such as histamine (H-2) blockers, as well as antacids that neutralize stomach acid may also be used. Lastly, medications that help protect the tissues that line the stomach and small intestine (cytoprotective agents) might also be utilised.

Healing can take 2-8 weeks, recurrences however are common if dietary and lifestyle habits are not changed.

The following lifestyle changes are necessary for treating ulcers:
1. Eliminate or cut down on smoking Smoking may delay healing and make relapses more likely.
2. Reducing stress is important for healing.
3. Regular exercises for at least 30 minutes, 3 times a week.
4. Avoid using aspirin or ibuprofen for pain management.
5. Diet see below

Other recommendations:
1. For pain relief drinking a glass of water may assist as this dilutes stomach acid.
2. Drinking raw fresh cabbage juice has been shown to be successful in healing ulcers.

Nutrients and supplements:

1. Ulcer formula – for stomach and duodenal ulcers. Stomach discomfort.

2. L-Glutamine – assists in healing peptic ulcers.

3. Vitamin E – aids in reducing acid and easing pain.

4. Probiotics – aid in digestion.

5. Digestive enzymes – assist with the digestion of undigested food and helps reduce inflammation.

6. Vitamin B Complex – is required for proper digestion.

7. Vitamin B6 – is required for enzyme production and wound healing.

8. Zinc – assists with healing

Causes

Factors that can cause or worsen ulcers include:
1. Helicobacter pylori is a bacteria commonly found in the mucous layer that forms a protective barrier protecting tissues lining the stomach and small intestine. In some instances H. pylori can cause inflammation of the stomach’s inner layer, thereby causing an ulcer.
2. Hereditary factors. There tends to be an overproduction of acid and digestive enzymes in the stomach of ulcer sufferers which is probably hereditary in nature.
3. Regular/overuse of certain pain relievers such as aspirin (aspirin is irritating and increases membrane permeability), and other prescription/over-the-counter pain medications like NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) may irritate or inflame the sensitive lining of the stomach and small intestine.
4. Cortisone steroids
5. Smoking may double the chance of developing a peptic ulcer. Smoking may also delay healing and make relapses more likely.
6. Stress, anxiety, and anger issues.
7. Decreased production of protective substances lining the stomach. Certain people may also have a defect in the lining of the stomach and intestinal tissue, which causes susceptibility to ulcers.
8. Resulting from major surgery, multiple injuries, or serious burns
9. Poor nutrition, allergies, and food sensitivities.

Underlying Emotions

Those suffering ulcers may feel deprived of something e.g. something that was promised or owed. There may be feelings of fear or a strong belief that they are not good enough. In ulcer, sufferers there is often a need to become aware of and admit the dependence on maternal security, and the longing to be loved and cared for.

Diet

1. For ulcer sufferers it is important to maintain a healthy diet. Consume fresh foods as close to their natural state as possible. Ample fiber (Increasing dietary fiber will delay gastric emptying time) should be eaten with daily servings of leafy green vegetables (leafy green vegetables contain vitamin K often lacking in people with digestive problems) whole grains (such as brown rice and rolled oats), fresh fruit, and proteins with a minimum of animal fat.

2. Avoid caffeine and alcohol (caffeine and Alcohol both stimulate acid secretion) prepackaged and processed foods, chocolate, fried/greasy foods, fizzy drinks, sugar, refined carbohydrates, milk, and irritants such as black pepper, chili, and spicy foods. Also, be aware of allergens and food sensitivities.

3. Eating smaller more frequent meals are better tolerated by those with ulcers, also chew food thoroughly as this improves digestion.

4. For those with severe symptoms or with bleeding ulcers eating soft foods or food that is mashed, blended, or pureed is preferable as they are easy to digest.

5. Drinking raw fresh cabbage juice has been shown to be successful in healing ulcers.

6. Drink 8 cups of filtered water daily

Remedies

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