WHAT ARE PEPTIC ULCERS?
HHave you ever suffered symptoms of acid reflux and heart burn, or been diagnosed with a peptic ulcer?
A peptic ulcer is like a bad canker sore, only it occurs in a spot where the lining of the stomach or small intestine and the tissues beneath—and sometimes part of the stomach muscle itself—have been eroded, leaving an internal open wound.
The surrounding tissue is usually red, swollen and irritated. Ulcers can occur anywhere along the gastrointestinal tract; they are most common in stomach (aka gastric ulcers) and duodenum (aka duodenal ulcers) (the portion of small intestine closest to the stomach). Peptic ulcers affect approximately 5 million North Americans each year, and it is estimated that they will affect approximately 10 percent of Americans at some point in their lives.
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF PEPTIC ULCERS
The symptoms of a peptic ulcer include chronic burning or gnawing stomach pain that usually begins forty-five to sixty minutes after eating or at night, and that is relieved by eating specific foods, taking antacids, vomiting, or drinking a large glass of water.
The pain may range from mild to severe. It may cause the individual to awaken in the middle of the night in pain. Other possible symptoms include lower back pain, headaches, a choking/ coughing sensation, itching, possibly nausea and vomiting, and in extreme cases coughing up blood.
WHAT CAUSES PEPTIC ULCERS?
Peptic Ulcers can be caused by a variety of factors which include:
- Stress and Anxiety
- Diets high is spicy foods, red meats, alcohol, coffee and high acid producing foods
- Smoking and a lack of sleep or Insomnia can also be a factor
- Presence of Helicobacter pylori bacteria in the stomach lining combined with increased stomach acid
Insomnia is occasionally a symptom of an underlying medical or psychological condition, but it may also be caused by stress (from work, school, or family) or lifestyle choices, such as excessive coffee and alcohol consumption. About 50% of insomnia cases have no identifiable cause. Some conditions or situations that commonly lead to insomnia include:
- Certain drugs and supplements may also increase acid production, which in turn can cause gastritis and eventually if left untreated ulcers when combined with other factors
- Taking aspirin or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), especially over a long period of time
- Family history of peptic ulcer disease
- Alcohol consumption
- Heavy smokers are more prone to developing ulcers, and have greater trouble getting ulcers to heal
- Certain cultural groups such as African-American and Latinos are twice as likely as Caucasians to have ulcers
If left untreated, ulcers can cause internal bleeding or perforation of the stomach or small intestine.
DIAGNOSIS AND TREATMENT FOR H. PYLORI AND ULCERS
Diagnosis of H. pylori can be made by either a biopsy or a breath test. H. pylori can live on lining of the stomach and small intestine, where it can cause damage to the lining and also to the mucous layer that protects the lining from digestive acids
Eradication of H. Pylori is difficult and quite often your medical doctor or GI specialist will recommend a series of antibiotics along with antacids. Many health care professionals believe that the bacteria are transmitted from person to person through close contact. If you have been diagnosed, it might be a good idea to rule out H. Pylori in other family members as well.
NATUROPATHIC TREATMENT OF H. PYLORI AND PEPTIC ULCERS
Once the diagnosis of either H. Pylori or peptic ulcers has been established, our goals for naturopathic treatment* would:
- Eradicate H. Pylori using a combination of natural supplements, herbs and vitamins
- Heal the stomach / gastric lining and acid issues using a combination of dietary and lifestyle changes and gentle herbs (only if need be)
- Create an individualised naturopathic treatment plan to manage acid issues such as LPR, gastritis, silent acid reflux using naturopathic treatments and also optimize your health and well- being
If you have been diagnosed with H. Pylori and Ulcers, and are looking to treat it naturally, please contact us at 416 913 4325 (HEAL) or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a naturopathic consultation.
Please ask your doctor or naturopath before starting on any supplements. Its is better to first identify the cause and then treat it with the right remedies, even though those mentioned above have minimal side effects.
* DISCLAIMER: The information on this article is the property of Dr. Sushma Shah, Naturopathic Doctor, and is not intended to treat, diagnose or cure any diseases or promote any services or products mentioned on the website.