While doctors are not exactly sure what causes stomach ulcers, it is certain that they are not caused by spicy foods or stress. For the most part, it is true that spicy foods and stress can aggravate the symptoms in individuals who suffer with stomach ulcers. Approximately 5 million Americans each year suffer with gastric and duodenal ulcers. It is estimated that more than 2% of the U.S. adult population suffers with active peptic ulcers and approximately 10% will develop some type of stomach ulcer in their lives.
It has been found that there is a link between Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) and peptic ulcers. H. pylori are spiral shaped bacteria that live in the stomach and duodenum areas. Although much research suggests that while H. pylori bacteria are present in most peptic ulcer patients, it has not been established that the bacteria caused the ulcers, but rather, that the bacteria may have simply added to the problem. Moreover, there is evidence that the bacteria may have arisen from the development of the ulcer itself.
Symptoms of Stomach Ulcers
The symptoms of stomach ulcers can easily be confused with those of other GI Tract disorders. In order to properly treat stomach ulcers, proper diagnosis is always recommended. Though not limited to the following, symptoms do include:
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- Acidic retches and deep burping
- Burning pain in the upper abdomen, most often shortly after eating and/or after drinking coffee, orange juice, or alcohol, and in the early morning or at bedtime; pain may lessen after drinking milk or taking antacids
- Tarry, black or bloody stools
- Unexplained weight loss
Fortunately, today, individuals who suffer with stomach ulcers do not have to simply tolerate the accompanying pain. There are a variety of remedies that can help lessen such pain.
- Drinking a glass of milk during an ulcer attack may provide quick relief, as it works as an antacid.
- Avoid spicy and acidic foods, as well as coffee and alcohol, as they tend to aggravate ulcers.
- Stop smoking, as it irritates the mucosal lining of the stomach.
- Lastly, avoid antacids, as they can cause a rebound effect of increasing gastric acid secretions and cause stomach bleeding over time.
Alternative homeopathic and natural treatments have proven to relieve symptoms and even promote the healing of stomach ulcers. Probiotics and fiber supplements are helpful as well. For more information about such remedies, please visit our supplement page.