Stomach ulcer treatment: food and medicine

Ulcers can develop in different parts of the body, including the stomach lining. Certain natural home remedies and foods can relieve pain and other symptoms associated with the condition. Stomach ulcers are lesions that develop in the area of ​​the lining of the stomach or duodenum, which is the initial part of the small intestine. In therapy, not only drugs are used , an important role is given to regime measures, changes in nutrition, enrichment of the diet with foods with beneficial bacteria and rejection of bad habits. 

Causes of stomach and intestinal ulcers

Stomach ulcers are also known as peptic ulcers, and a concomitant lesion of the duodenum is also possible . A stomach ulcer develops when stomach acid irritates the mucous membrane, provokes inflammation and erosion, which gradually damage the underlying tissues. An ulcer can be caused by reasons including:

  • infection with Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) bacteria;
  • long-term use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen or aspirin;

Some people believe that stress or spicy foods can cause ulcers. They do not cause ulceration by themselves, but they can exacerbate existing damage by stimulating the production of stomach acid. There are simple remedies that can help reduce the severity of the condition and enhance the positive effects of medication.

Peptic ulcer manifestations: pain, discomfort

If a person has an ulcer, they may experience abdominal pain, burning, or severe discomfort. These sensations last from several minutes to several hours, gradually subside. Pain is also relieved by taking antacids or stopping food. Sometimes it starts suddenly in the middle of the night or with meals. With proper treatment, pain goes away within a few weeks. Patients can relieve unpleasant symptoms more quickly by using certain foods in combination with basic therapy.  

Probiotics and beneficial bacteria

Yoghurts contain probiotics that help restore the balance of bacteria in the digestive tract. Probiotics are living organisms that help restore the physiological balance of bacteria in the gut. In addition to helping to normalize bowel function, they can help treat ulcers. According to a 2014 review, probiotics themselves are not fatal to the H. pylori bacteria. However, they can reduce the number of bacteria present in the stomach, speed up the healing process of the mucous membrane, and eliminate some of the symptoms. When used along with other treatments, probiotics can help eradicate harmful bacteria. 

Patients can obtain beneficial bacteria from the following sources:

  • Yoghurts and other fermented milk products;
  • Fermented foods;
  • Probiotic supplements.

So, some foods contain probiotics. But many patients prefer supplements because they have a higher concentration of probiotics per serving.

Foods that help treat ulcers

Many people know that ginger has gastroprotective effects. Some use it to treat stomach pathologies and normalize digestion for constipation, bloating and gastritis. A 2013 literature review shows that ginger can help treat stomach ulcers caused by H. pylori bacteria. Consuming ginger also helps prevent ulcers caused by NSAIDs. However, many of these results come from animal studies, so it is unclear if the effects will be similar in humans.

Many plant foods contain compounds called flavonoids, which are polyphenols. According to a 2011 review, polyphenols may help with stomach ulcers and a range of other digestive problems, including intestinal cramps and diarrhea. Flavonoids protect the gastric mucosa from erosion by increasing the production of gastric mucus. Flavonoids also have antioxidant properties. Flavonoids are found in foods such as apples, blueberries, cherries, lemons and oranges, and nuts.

Plantains are one of the banana varieties. Research from 2011 suggests that these bananas may have a positive effect on peptic ulcer disease. They contain a flavonoid called leukocyanidin, which increases the amount of mucus in the stomach. This fruit can also reduce the acidity of the juice and relieve ulcer symptoms.

Food such as honey has antimicrobial properties that can be helpful in treating ulcers. Honey is a popular, natural sweetener used in food preparation. A 2016 review says honey has antimicrobial activity against H. pylori, making it useful for treating stomach ulcers. Honey is also used to speed up the healing of wounds, including skin ulcers, burns and wounds. 

Any food products are used only as an adjuvant, in no way a substitute for medicines.

Ulcer treatment: medication

Doctors may advise patients to stop taking certain medications that can cause erosion and ulceration. And the very treatment of stomach ulcers will depend on what is causing it. If taking NSAIDs provokes erosion or ulceration, the doctor will discontinue the drug, choosing safer pain medications. 

A doctor may prescribe proton pump inhibitors to reduce the synthesis of hydrochloric acid and protect the stomach lining. Drugs cannot suppress bacteria, but they can help fight the effects of H. pylori infection. Histamine receptor blockers may also be prescribed. These medicines prevent the stomach from building up too much acid.

In addition, your doctor may prescribe a protective agent called sucralfate. It helps prevent further damage to the area around the ulcer. When H. pylori infection is confirmed, antibiotics are given . Because H. pylori is difficult to eradicate, the patient should take all doses as directed even after symptoms have subsided. 

Often, doctors combine several medications and therapies to treat an ulcer. Combination therapy can help fight pain, prevent further mucosal damage, and treat existing infections.

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