At one time, it was highly advisable to keep a hot temper under wraps or avoid the third burrito from Taco Bell because these actions could possibly lead to a condition known as an ulcer. Stress and spicy foods used to carry most of the blame for the open sores that can grow on the inside lining of the stomach, upper small intestine, or esophagus. Today, the peptic ulcer is believed to come from a bacterial infection (among other things), which can be successfully remedied within a couple of weeks.
What is an Ulcer?
A distinct pain characterizes the open wound or sore that appears about the stomach and small intestines. Although the aliment is sometimes excruciatingly painful, the condition is very treatable and common. It is believed that close to 1 out of every 10 people will deal with an ulcer at one point in their lives .
The location of a peptic ulcer is what determines the name of the condition. When a peptic ulcer is found in the stomach, it is called a gastric ulcer. A duodenal ulcer is one that develops within the first part of the small intestine, also referred to as the duodenum. An esophageal ulcer is generally situated in the lower part of the esophagus, and is often linked with chronic gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
Sharp aches that occur between the breastbone and the navel usually characterize ulcer activity. The pain that comes usually surfaces a few hours after eating, but may also arise at night or at the start of the day on an empty stomach. While stomach pain is one of the most common symptoms associated with an ulcer, there are additional signs to alert an individual that they may have an open sore in their stomach region. Below are a few considerations to make when you suspect an ulcer:
a) Loss of Appetite:
An individual suffering from an ulcer may not want to eat as a result.
b) Nausea and Vomiting:
When blood is found in the vomit or it resembles coffee grounds, there is cause for immediate medical attention, where only severe cases display this kind of characteristic.
c) Weight Loss:
A patient with an ulcer may suffer weight loss they cannot explain.
d) Frequent Burping:
An ulcer may cause one to frequently belch or hiccup.
e) Abnormal Bowel Movements:
If bowel movements showcase blood or appear blackish, this is an indication of a serious problem and should receive speedy medical attention.
Causes of an Ulcer
Contrary to popular and past medical belief, the stress and spicy foods once associated as the main cause of ulcers is now being replaced with the presence of Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori), a bacterium shaped like a corkscrew. H. pylori dwells and reproduces within the mucous layer that covers and protects the tissues that line the stomach and small intestine. Usually, the kind of bacteria is harmless, but when the mucous layer is disrupted, the lining of the stomach becomes inflamed with an ulcer as the result.
It is believed that people who suffer from peptic ulcers are those who have already sustained damage to the stomach lining or small intestine, increasing the chances of a bacteria invasion. H. pylori is a common infection in the gastrointestinal system and typically affects 1 in 5 people under the age of 30 and about half of the population older than 60 . It isnít yet clear how H. pylori spreads, but many doctors feel it originates from close person-to-person contact. Additional causes for peptic ulcers also include alcohol consumption, smoking, and stress.
When paying a visit to the doctor, he or she may ask a series of questions regarding symptoms and overall health. A physical exam may follow. When symptoms are not severe and the patient is younger than 45 years of age, the doctor may then run a few tests to determine whether or not they display signs of H. pylori infection.
When older than 45, additional screening is needed, which may include an endoscopy. This will give the doctor a better picture of the inside of the esophagus, stomach, and intestine. During this test, the doctor may also perform a biopsy, where small pieces of tissue at the ulcer are removed and then analyzed. This test may also reveal cancer cells, where in rare instances, a stomach ulcer may contain .
Natural Cures for Ulcers
It is important to treat the symptoms of an ulcer when they first arise. Untreated ulcers have the potential to grow larger, creating a host of additional medical issues. Ignoring an ulcer can lead to bleeding in the digestive system or the formation of holes in the wall of the stomach or duodenum. Before seeking a prescription medication to solve the problem, you might want to try a natural approach, such as:
Licorice root acts as an anti-inflammatory and produces a substance that aids in the protection of the stomach wall. When incorporating licorice as part of a natural cure, the production of acid is also reduced. Some individuals make a decoction, while others simply suck the juice from licorice sticks. Tinctures also make effective remedies. If you have high blood pressure, you may want to refrain from this type of natural treatment.
Studies conducted in New Zealand reveal that the bark, pollen, flowers, and leaves of manuka honey destroy the bacterium associated with ulcer development . One may take 1 to 2 teaspoons of manuka honey twice per day or use the flowers and leaves to create infusions. The bark is also used to form decoctions. To add an anti-bacterial component to a manuka infusion, consider using thyme or echinecea.
Peptic ulcers react quite well when using bananas to neutralize the extra acidity found in gastric juices. The banana also lessens the irritation associated with an ulcer by coating the stomach lining. Some individuals with an advanced peptic ulcer have found great results by following a strict diet of two bananas with a glass of milk (3 to 4 times per day).
The citric acid of limes works with mineral salts to aid digestion.
It is believed that the juice extracted from raw cabbage is a helpful remedy for a peptic ulcer. Add 250 grams of cabbage to 500 ml of water and bring to a boil until the quantity is reduced to half of its original amount. After cooling the water, the natural cure can be taken twice daily. Usually, the juice is too strong and some people have lessened its potency with carrot juice. Additional raw vegetable juices that aid in remedying ulcers include spinach, beets, and cucumber.
A natural approach towards curing an ulcer includes almond milk and goat’s milk. Almond milk is created when adding blanched almonds to a blender. The remedy is known to bind excess acid in the stomach. Goat’s milk has been known to heal peptic ulcers and receives a better response from the body when taken in its raw form. Goat’s milk should be taken three times per day.
To prevent the development of ulcers, you should reconsider your regular use of pain relievers (such as Aleve, Advil, or Motrin), which can aggravate or inflame the lining of your stomach and small intestine. Decreasing the amount of stress in one’s life allows peptic ulcers to respond better to the healing process.
The nicotine found in tobacco is known to increase the volume and concentration of stomach acid that intensifies the risk of ulcers. Quitting smoking helps to aid the healing process during ulcer treatments. Since alcohol can irritate and weaken the mucous lining of the stomach, lowering the amount of consumption is highly suggested.
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