I had a question the other day about peptic ulcers.
A peptic ulcer is a spot where the lining of your stomach or small intestine and the tissues beneath have eroded, leaving an internal open wound.
The surrounding tissue is usually swollen and irritated.
Ulcers can happen anywhere along your gastrointestinal tract, but are most common in your stomach (gastric ulcers) and duodenum (duodenal ulcers), the portion of the small intestine closest to your stomach.
Peptic ulcers affect approximately 4.5 million Americans every year, and it’s estimated they’ll affect approximately 10% of Americans at some point in their lives.
Symptoms of a peptic ulcer include chronic burning or gnawing stomach pain usually beginning 45-60 minutes after eating or at night.
The pain may range from mild to severe.
It may cause you to wake up in the middle of the night.
Other possible symptoms include lower back pain, headaches, a choking sensation, itching, and possibly nausea and vomiting.
An ulcer happens when the lining of your stomach doesn’t give enough protection against your digestive acids and enzymes, which in effect, start to digest your stomach itself.
It was once thought stress and anxiety were the main causes of ulcers.
But, evidence has shown ulcers are caused by an infection with Helicobacter pylori bacteria combined with the presence of stomach acid.
H. pylori can live on the lining of your stomach and small intestine, where it can cause damage to your lining and also to the mucous layer protecting your lining from digestive acids.
Many health care professionals believe the bacteria are transmitted from person to person through close contact.
But, many health care professional still think stress is a risk factor because it increases stomach acid production.
Certain drugs also may increase acid production, especially aspirin, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and steroids.
Those who drink alcohol and heavy smokers are more prone to developing ulcers, and have greater trouble getting ulcers to heal.
Stomach Acid Self-Test
If you suffer from stomach pain, you can determine whether the problem is caused by excess stomach acid with this simple test.
When you have the pain, swallow a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar or lemon juice.
If this makes the pain go away, you most likely have too little stomach acid, not too much.
If it makes your symptoms worse, then you may have an overly acidic stomach.
If your pain is significant and has continued for several days, seek medical care.
To deal with peptic ulcers it’s beneficial to:
*Drink 6-8 cups of purified water daily.
*Alfalfa is a good source of vitamin K.
*Aloe vera aids in pain relief and speeds healing. Take 4 oz of aloe vera juice or gel daily. Be sure to buy a food-grade product.
*Cat’s claw is cleansing and healing to your digestive tract (don’t use during pregnancy).
*Garlic is an antimicrobial and may help eradicate ulcers.
*Hops, passionflower, skullcap, and valerian root are good for promoting a restful sleep.
*Malva tea calms your stomach and reduces intestinal irritation.
*Marshmallow root soothes irritated mucous membranes.
*Rhubarb, taken in juice or tablet form, is good for treating intestinal bleeding, which sometimes accompanies peptic ulcers.
*Other beneficial herbs include bayberry, catnip, and myrrh, which can all be taken in tea form.
*Eat plenty of dark green leafy vegetables. These contain vitamin K, which is needed for healing and is likely to be deficient in people with digestive problems.
*Don’t drink coffee (even decaffeinated) or alcoholic beverages.
*Drink freshly made cabbage juice daily. Drink it immediately after juicing.
*If symptoms are severe, eat soft foods like avocados, bananas, potatoes, squash, and yams. Put vegetables through a blender or food mill. Eat harder vegetables like broccoli and carrots occasionally – well steamed.
*Eat frequent small meals; include well-cooked millet, well-cooked rice, goat’s milk, and soured milk products like yogurt, cottage cheese, and kefir. Drink barley, wheat, and alfalfa juice.
*If you have a bleeding ulcer, eat organic baby foods or steamed vegetables blended in a blender or mashed. Add nonirritating fiber like guar gum and/or psyllium seed. These foods are easy to digest and nutritious, and they contain no chemicals.
*For rapid relief of pain, drink a large glass of water. This dilutes stomach acids and flushes them out.
*Avoid fried foods, tea, caffeine, chocolate, animal fats of any kind, and carbonated drinks. Instead of drinking soda, sip distilled water with a bit of lemon juice added.
*Avoid salt and sugar. They’ve been linked to increased stomach acid production.
*Reduce your intake of refined carbohydrates, as they’ve been linked to peptic ulcers.
*Don’t drink cow’s milk. Even though it neutralizes existing stomach acid, the calcium and protein it contains actually stimulate the production of more acid, and it’s known to be associated with the occurrence of ulcers. Soy milk is a good substitute.
*Chew your food thoroughly. This improves digestion. Taking bitters also improves digestion. Place 10-15 drops under your tongue before meals.
*Allow teas and other hot beverages to cool before drinking them. Otherwise, they may trigger gastric discomfort.
*Keep your colon clean. Make sure your bowels move daily.
*Don’t smoke. Smoking can delay or even prevent healing, and makes relapse more likely.
*Avoid painkillers like aspirin and ibuprofen; these can aggravate an ulcer.
*Try to avoid stressful situations. Learn stress-management techniques.
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