Ulcers are formed in the stomach when acid in the stomach comes into contact with unprotected tissues. Mostly, the stomach protects itself naturally against this acid burn, but occasionally this protection breaks down for some reason. The result is basically an open sore that develops on the lining of the stomach. Most people used to think that an ulcer was caused by stress or by eating too much spicy food. While either of these can cause more acid in the stomach, it has now been found that ulcers are caused by H. pylori, but only when certain conditions are present. In fact, many people have H. pylori in their gut, but never develop ulcers.
Another cause of ulcers is when certain medications such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications are taken over the long-term for whatever reason. Not only do these drugs cause more acid to form in the stomach, they block the production of prostaglandin, which helps to prevent injury and maintains blood flow. To a lesser extent, radiation therapy, excessive alcohol consumption and burns can also cause ulcers.
Probiotics have been found to be an effective and useful aid in helping to heal ulcers. Used alone, they cannot heal an ulcer. But when used in addition to other traditional forms of treatment, Probiotics not only help the healing process, but also prevent certain unpleasant side effects caused by the treatment.
What exactly, are probiotics? They are friendly bacteria of various kinds that have a positive effect on the overall health of the gut. The best known one is the probiotic found in yogurt, Lactobacillus acidophilus, but there are many other kinds. Lactobacillus Reuteri is another probiotic that is found naturally in the gut. It not only helps to boost the immune system, but it helps the body to absorb certain nutrients such as minerals, needed for optimum health.
While not quite strong enough to kill off H. pylori the bacterium that causes ulcers, on their own, probiotics certainly inhibit its growth.
If you have severe abdominal pain it is not wise to self-diagnose and treat, but the advice of a health-care provider should be sought immediately. Ulcers are dangerous and should never be left untreated. However, with prompt treatment many nasty complications can be avoided and the ulcer can almost certainly be cured. Just be sure that your doctor also prescribes probiotics in addition to any other treatment.
In the case of the traditional triple therapy of two antibiotics and an acid blocker, additional probiotic treatment will not only enhance recovery, but also help to stop unpleasant side effects such as nausea, vomiting, metallic taste in the mouth, diarrhea, and headache. And since the success rate of this traditional treatment seems to be becoming less effective – probably due to the resistance of H. pylori to antibiotics – it is certainly a wise step to provide other non-antibiotic treatment that can and does help recovery. And even without recovery enhancement, who wouldn’t want symptoms such as those listed above eliminated if at all possible?