Ulcers…The Do’s and The Dont’s

What is a Peptic ulcers?

An ulcer is an open sore or lesion generally caused by the destruction of the gastric or intestinal lining of the stomach by hydrochloric acid. We need hydrochloric acid but only a certain amount, any less or any more then we need can cause big problems…one of them being a peptic ulcer.

Where are peptic ulcers  found?

Ulcers are generally found in your small intestine if this is the case it’s referred to as an duodenal ulcer, when found in your stomach it’s referred to as a gastric ulcer. Regardless of which ulcer you may be suffering from both are equally painful and can make eating an uncomfortable and unpleasant task.

What are the symptoms?

The most common symptom of peptic ulcers include abdominal discomfort and pain. The pain can be described as burning, cramping or aching. It can often be interpreted as heartburn,  indigestion or hunger. The pain usually occurs in the upper abdomen, but sometimes it may occur below the breastbone. In some individuals the pain occurs immediately after eating. In other individuals, the pain may not occur until hours after eating. The pain may also wake you at night.

Why would I get an ulcer?

Ulcers can also be linked with low fibre diets and hidden food allergies. If food allergy is the cause, then the ulcer will persist until the offending food is completely eliminated.  An allergy to a specific food may cause you to crave the food daily or could be a food you “cannot live without”. If you think it may be a food allergy, consult your health care practitioner and they can help you determine if a food allergy could be playing a role.

Other known factors include:

Repressed emotions
NSAID’s (Advil, etc.)

What do I do?

The usual medical treatment for peptic ulcers is to take drugs that reduce or eliminate stomach acid secretions. These drugs, however, impair digestion significantly and alter the function of the gastrointestinal tract. There is also a high relapse rate as soon as the drugs are discontinued. Rather than eliminating stomach acid which is a vitally important bodily secretion, a more effective approach is to increase the integrity of the lining of the stomach and duodenum.

A high fibre diet both speeds the healing of the peptic ulcer and prevents their recurrence.  A high fibre diet would include generous amounts of vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, non-citrus fruits and excludes refined sugars and flours.

Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E and Zinc help to maintain the integrity of the lining of the digestive tract and prevent ulcers.

Raw cabbage juice has been a very common treatment in ulcers. One litre of fresh juice, taken in divided doses throughout the day, may result in total ulcer healing in about 10 days or so.

Deglycrrhizinated licorice root (DGL) is particularly effective when it comes to ulcers. Rather then inhibit the release of acid it stimulates the normal defense mechanisms that prevent ulcer formation.  It also helps improve the quality and quantity of the protective substances that line the stomach and intestinal tract.  The recommended usage for DGL is to take two 300 mg capsules either between meals or 20 minutes before meals. This treatment may take from two to four months depending on individual response.

Cayenne pepper can both prevent and ease the pain of ulcers by regulating your stomach secretions. Capsaicin, the compound that gives cayenne pepper its heat, can act as a natural pain reliever. The compound can also stop your stomach from producing acid which can irritate an ulcer. Cayenne pepper also tells your stomach to produce more protective juices that may prevent an ulcer from forming in the first place.

Foods to avoid while repairing:

Fried foods, coffee, tea, salt, pepper chocolate, strong spices, carbonated beverages.

This information is for educational purposes and is not meant to treat, prescribe or diagnose any medical disease. For further information please contact your health care practitioner.

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