Peptic ulcer is a common disorder of the digestive system that causes inflammation, irritation and lesions to internal tissues and organs. Peptic ulcers generally occur on the premises of infection with Helicobacter pylori (bacteria that often populate the interior of the stomach), triggered by an overproduction of gastric acids and pepsin. Helicobacter pylori weaken the internal organs’ mucus-covered protective walls, enabling digestive fluids to cause ulcerations and lesions.
The natural physiologic factors that can prevent the occurrence of peptic ulcer are: appropriate production of mucus, good mucosal blood circulation, appropriate production of bicarbonate, alkaline tide and a thick hydrophobic layer. If the balance of these natural defenses is perturbed, the risks of developing peptic ulcer are considerably increased.
Peptic ulcers can be developed either at the level of the duodenum or at the level of the stomach. Duodenal peptic ulcers are generally less serious, while stomach peptic ulcers can lead to serious complications. In the absence of an appropriate medical treatment, stomach peptic ulcer can lead to perforated ulcer or bleeding ulcer, disorders that require immediate medical intervention.
Peptic ulcer occurs in people of all ages and it affects both sexes equally. Although at first the disorder may be mild, peptic ulcer can progress over the years, sometimes even becoming life-threatening. However, nowadays peptic ulcer can be effectively overcome with medication treatments, rarely requiring surgical intervention. When it is timely diagnosed, peptic ulcer is highly curable.
Peptic ulcer usually generates symptoms such as abdominal discomfort and soreness, which usually intensify after meals or during the night. It is important to note that antacids can only provide temporary symptomatic relief, being unable to prevent the progression of peptic ulcer. Peptic ulcer can only be overcome with the means of an appropriate diet and specific medical treatment. When suffering from peptic ulcer, it is very important to pay regular visits to your doctor in order to receive medical examinations and a correct treatment.
The best means of preventing the progression of peptic ulcer are a healthy lifestyle and an appropriate diet. A good ulcer diet can ease the symptoms of peptic ulcer and can also keep the disorder under control. Ulcer diets should only contain non-acidic foods and beverages. When suffering from peptic ulcer, you should limit the intake of citrus fruits, processed foods and some dairy products. Although milk is known to provide relief for peptic ulcer, it can actually aggravate the disorder.
Avoid smoking, alcohol and coffee when suffering from peptic ulcer. Smoking affects the blood circulation at the level of the stomach and it also slows down the process of healing, while coffee and alcoholic beverages stimulate an overproduction of pepsin and gastric acids. In order to minimize the risk of complications, it is best to abstain from smoking, alcoholic and caffeine beverages when suffering from peptic ulcer.