Introduction to Stomach Ulcers
Also known as a peptic or gastric ulcer, a stomach ulcer is an open sore that develops on the inner lining of the stomach, upper intestine or the esophagus. Ulcer occurs when the lining of these organs is corroded by the acidic digestive juices.
This is not an uncommon condition, affecting almost five million people worldwide each year. And so far, billions of dollars have been spent on treating this condition and its complications.
Not that long ago, the main culprits for stomach ulcers were thought to be stress and spicy foods. However, this has been proven wrong, and the doctors now know that the main cause of most peptic ulcers is the bacterium Heliobacter pylori. This is a bacterium that lives in the mucous layers of the stomach. That mucous layer is what protects the abdomen from the destructive effect of the hydrochloric acid that is in the stomach. Normally, H. pylori causes no problems. But sometimes, it can cause the mucous layer to inflame, thus producing the sore.
Other causes of this condition are: smoking (some chemicals in the tobacco may increase the production of stomach acid), excessive alcohol consumption (not only does it increase the amount of stomach acid, but it also erodes the mucous lining), and regular use of pain relievers.Stress, although not an actual cause, usually aggravates the symptoms and even delays the healing.
The main symptoms of stomach ulcer are: burning pain (that may be felt anywhere from the breastbone to the navel), nausea accompanied by vomiting (the vomit may be red or black), loss of appetite, dark stool, and inexplicable weight loss,etc.
It is important that one consult a doctor as soon as the first symptoms have presented themselves. In that way, the treatment will be more effective.
Remedies for Stomach Ulcer
The doctor may prescribe antacids, acid blockers, antibiotics, cytoprotective agents or proton pump inhibitors. All of these have two goals: to kill the bacteria that has caused the ulcer and reduce the acid level in one’s stomach.
As for unconventional methods, there are a few things one might do that have been proven to be effective when it comes to relieving stomach ulcer symptoms.Drinking plenty of water. This will help the digestive system get rid of toxins.Avoiding smoking, alcohol, caffeine, spicy foods, fatty foods and salty foods. These have been proven to aggravate the symptoms, thus should be avoided.Drinking cold milk. This helps neutralize the stomach acid.Eating raw honey, lime and bananas. Honey (especially manuka honey) and lime destroy the bacteria, heal the lining and reduce the level of stomach acid, while bananas reduce the inflammation.Drinking fresh vegetable juice, especially cabbage and carrot juice. They help protect the lining of the stomach.
There are a couple of natural remedies that might also help in the healing of ulcers.Soaking leaves of wood apple in water over night, and then, in the morning, straining and drinking it.Brewing fenugreek leaves or seeds with tea and drinking it.