Treating Peptic Ulcer Disease

Do you suffer from Peptic Ulcer Disease? Learn how to protect your and cope with the pain of ulcers.

Peptic Ulcer Disease is the single most common disorder diagnosed in North America today. Men, women and children are equally affected by this painful, irritating condition. Quick treatment is key, since new research now suggests that repeated stomach ulcers have the capability of becoming malignant over time. The latest ulcer studies have proven that some suffer ulcers because of an overgrowth of bacteria.

DEFINITION

Ulcers are small erosions within the gastrointestinal tract. They are not contagious or cancerous growths. There are two basic types of ulcers:

DUODENAL ULCERS are the most commonly diagnosed. They occur within one foot of the small intestine, just beyond the stomach, and are seen more frequently in male patients, though a significant number of women suffer duodenal ulcers, as well.

GASTRIC ULCERS form inside the lining of the stomach and are especially painful.

DUODENAL ULCER SYMPTOMS

Burning, boring pain experienced before or in-between meals.

Gnawing pain in upper abdomen or just below the ribs on the right side of the body.

Recurrent vomiting episodes.

Blood in feces.

Anemia

GASTRIC ULCER SYMPTOMS

Weight loss.

Burning, boring or gnawing pain lasting up to 3-hours in the upper abdomen after eating.

Occasional gnawing pain just below the breastbone.

A deep boring pain which often awakens one in the middle of the night.

CAUSES

Though there are no exact causes of ulcers, the medical community agrees that there are precursors which contribute to the formation of gastric and duodenal ulcers.

CHRONIC heartburn.

OVERACTIVE stomach that produces too much acid.

FAMILY history of Peptic Ulcer Disease.

STRESS

LIVER disease, emphysema, arthritis and anxiety related disorders.

SMOKING

EXCESSIVE alcohol consumption

WARNINGS

While most ulcers can be treated safely at home, it's important to note that any ulcer can perforate (or erode through the intestinal wall) or hemorrhage. These conditions are medical emergencies requiring immediate attention. If you begin vomiting blood or coffee ground looking material, seeks medical attention immediately. Other signs and symptoms of complications from ulcers include severe pain, weakness, sudden pale skin tone and bloody or black stools. You can help to reduce dangerous complications by following a simple set of guidelines.

NEVER take aspirin while suffering from an ulcer.

MINIMIZE your intake of alcohol.

AVOID excessive coffee, tea and caffeine intake, which irritates the ulcer.

TRADITIONAL TREATMENT

Most ulcers heal themselves within a 6-week period with treatment. Those ulcers which show no improvement during this time may require the attention of a physician.

ANTACIDS work to reduce or neutralize excessive stomach acid. They can be taken daily, as need be.

H-2 BLOCKERS control the body's ability to produce acid, allowing the body time to heal. These medications are sold over-the-counter (OTC) and can be taken for up to 8-weeks at a time.



LIQUID antacids and antigas formulas coat the stomach and ulcer, helping to relieve pain temporarily.

PRESCRIPTION medications like lansoprazole can also be used.

ALTERNATIVE ULCER THERAPY

CAYENNE pepper eaten as a food can irritate an ulcer. Cayenne pepper capsules however, are a time honored treatment for ulcers in Europe. Cayenne works at rebuilding damage stomach linings and increases the stomach's production of mucus. Take up to 3, 450-mg. tablets with food and a glass of water daily.

LICORICE ROOT work to promote healthy digestion and healing. Adults can take up to 1200mg. daily, divided into three individual doses. Take following meals with a glass of water for maximum effectiveness.

ENZYMES that help to speed digestion reduce the amount of stomach acid produced by the body. Papaya enzyme, made from a mixture of ripe papaya melon and sucrose, are sold in chewable tablet form and can be taken after each meal.

STRESS reducers, such as meditation, acupressure and acupuncture aid the body in handling stress and preventing future ulcers.

GARLIC, taken in clove or pill form, will help to reduce the level of bacteria present in the body.

YOGURT contains healthy bacteria and also coats ulcers, providing short-term pain relief.

ALOE VERA juice, consumed between meals, aids in the body's ability to heal itself.

TEAS made of chamomile are calming to the body, allowing it to relax and heal itself more efficiently.

GREEN teas boost the body's immune system naturally and have been used in China for centuries for their healing properties.

VALERIAN root is an herbal pain relief medication, which is especially effective in relieving pain in duodenal ulcers.

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