Peptic ulcer is a crater-like hole in the stomach or the beginning of the small intestine. The gastric ulcers form in the stomach while the duodenal ulcers form in the beginning of the small intestine. Duodenal ulcers occur in twelve to fifteen percent of adults in the United States.
Ulcers occurs due to the breakdown of protective barriers that line the stomach and intestines. Digestive juices are very acidic but there are secret substances such as bicarbonate and mucus that neutralize this acidity. These protective secretions are emitted to prevent ulcer formation. A loss of integrity in the lining of the small intestine or stomach due to a breakdown of these protective barriers leads to ulcers.
The culprits that cause this loss of integrity and development of ulcers are listed below:
# 1. Bacterium Helicobacter pylori, is an infection that attaches to the protective lining in the stomach and weakens it.
# 2. Food allergies
# 3. Overuse of Naproxen, Ibuprofen and Aspirin increase risk of gastrointestinal bleeding
# 4. Emotional stress may be a causative factor
# 5. Smoking is a significant factor
It is difficult to diagnose the sometimes vague symptoms of an ulcer. The most common symptom is abdominal pain that feels like an ache, burning sensation or cramp. This gnawing feeling can occur anywhere from forty-five minutes to two hours after a meal.
Sometimes this "heartburn" type feeling can worsen in the evening. Other symptoms are black stools, vomiting or nausea. A procedure known as an endoscopy can be performed by a physician to evaluate this disorder. Swift medical attention is advised. Individuals that have a peptic ulcer must be monitored by a doctor. There are serious complications that can quickly translate to "medical emergencies." One of the biggest problems is that individuals experiencing these symptoms mask them with a large quantity of antacids. These supplements, natural remedies and dietary considerations have proven to be beneficial:
# 1. Vitamin A
# 2. Vitamin E
# 3. Vitamin C
# 4. Aloe Vera – drink a couple of glasses daily
# 5. Increase dietary fiber
# 6. Flavoniods
# 7. Cabbage juice
# 8. Rhubarb
# 9. Bismuth Sub-citrate – natural mineral available through a compounding pharmacy.
# 10. Licorice
Last but not least, control stress through effective relaxation techniques. Deep breathing, Yoga, or stretching through Pilates exercises can provide beneficial and therapeutic outlets. Stress management, high fiber diet and antacids (on an occasional basis only) are helpful. A combination of all of these is the key to preventing and healing ulcers.