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Treatments for ulcers

Benefits of natural products
28 April 2017

The gastroduodenal ulcer, also called gastric ulcer if it is located in the stomach and which is called duodenal ulcer when it is formed in the duodenum (first part of the small intestine), are in a way wounds in the form of erosion that penetrates deeply into the wall of the digestive tract.

These wounds are often painful: they come into direct contact with the acid present in the digestive tract. A situation comparable to the application of an alcohol swab on a scratch.

The term “peptic ulcer” includes, because of the similarity of their manifestations, gastric ulcer and duodenal ulcer.

It is estimated that about 10% of the population in the industrialized world is likely to suffer from an ulcer at some time. People aged 40 and over are the most affected. The ulcers of the duodenum are 10 times more frequent than the ulcers of the stomach.

 

Causes

The bacterium Helicobacter pylori (H. Pylori), a bacterium that survives acidity, is the leading cause of ulcers: it causes approximately 60% to 80% of stomach ulcers and 80% to 85% of duodenum ulcers.  These bacteria invade the mucus layer that normally protects the stomach and small intestine from acidity, and would disrupt this protective mechanism in some people. In industrialized countries, 20% of people aged 40 and under have this bacteria in their digestive tract. A proportion that reaches 50% among over 60s. About 20% of carriers of the bacteria will have an ulcer during their lifetime.

Taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs (eg, aspirin, Advil®, and Motrin®) is the second most common cause of digestive tract ulcers. The combination of infection with H. pylori bacteria and the use of anti-inflammatory drugs increases the risk of ulcer in a synergistic manner. The risk is then 60 times greater.

Other causes :

  • Excessive stomach acid production (gastric hyperacidity) due to smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, high stress, hereditary predisposition, etc. However, these may be aggravating factors rather than true causes of ulcers.
  • Severe burns, serious injuries or physical stress related to serious illness. It creates “constraint ulcers”, which are often multiple and are most often in the stomach, sometimes at the very beginning of the small intestine (the proximal duodenum).
  • More rarely, a stomach ulcer may be a stomach cancer that has ulcerated.

 

Evolution

Usually, an ulcer appears gradually in a few weeks. It can also manifest itself quickly after a few days of taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, for example, but this situation is not very common.

The rate of spontaneous healing could be around 40% (over a period of 1 month), especially if the ulcer was caused by taking NSAIDs and stopped taking them. Final spontaneous healing, without relapse, is however rare. Smokers are more likely to relapse than nonsmokers.

If the ulcer is not treated or the cause is not stopped, there is a strong possibility that the ulcers will reappear within one year.

 

Possible Complications 

Complications are relatively rare. The ulcer can cause hemorrhage: the blood then flows into the digestive tract. The hemorrhage is sometimes massive, with vomiting of red blood or similar to coffee beans, with blood in the stool that can be red or black. Bleeding can also be less and relatively slow. It will be noticed or not that the stools become black. Indeed, under the influence of digestive juices, the blood becomes black. Bleeding can cause anemia over time if it is not detected. The first symptom of the ulcer may be hemorrhage, with no previous pain, especially in older subjects. You must consult a doctor without delay.

Another complication, much less common than hemorrhage, is the complete perforation of the digestive tract wall. This situation causes violent abdominal pain, which worsens rapidly in peritonitis. This is a medical and surgical emergency.

 

Possible Symptoms

  • A recurrent burning sensation in the upper part of the abdomen. In case of stomach ulcer, the pain is aggravated by eating or drinking. In case of duodenal ulcer, the pain subsides at mealtime, but increases from 1 to 3 hours after eating and when the stomach is empty (overnight, for example).
  • The feeling of being quickly satiated.
  • Belching and bloating.
  • There is sometimes no symptom before the occurrence of bleeding.

Signs of aggravation

Nausea and vomiting.
Blood in vomiting (coffee color) or stool (black).
Fatigue
A loss of weight.

Risk factors

Some factors may aggravate or delay the healing of ulcers by making the stomach more acidic:

  • smoking;
  • excessive alcohol consumption;
  • the stress ;
  • coffee does not seem to be in question, according to a study conducted in Japan in 2013.
  • in some people, eating can make the symptoms worse:
  • drinks: tea, milk, cola drinks;
  • foods: fatty foods, including chocolate and meat, concentrates;
  • spices: black pepper, mustard seeds and nutmeg.
  • Some drugs like anti-inflammatories, cortisone, bisphosphonates (used for osteoporosis), potassium chloride.

 

Measures to prevent :

It is important to use nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs (aspirin, Advil®, Motrin®, etc.) appropriately. Otherwise, they may cause heartburn, or even a peptic ulcer, the first symptom of which may be hemorrhage. Sensitivity to these drugs varies from person to person, including age, dose and duration of use.

 

To decrease the symptoms :

  • Take several small meals at regular intervals, eat slowly and chew each bite. Do not leave the stomach empty for a long time helps to reduce the symptoms.
    Avoid drinking while eating.
    Avoid eating before going to bed.
    It is important not to smoke, as tobacco use delays and may even prevent the healing of gastric mucosal lesions.
    If necessary, be sure to reduce your stress level by understanding the origin and making the appropriate changes to your life (work, a specific situation, a relationship, etc.). Although stress does not cause ulcers, it is believed to be an important aggravating factor.
    Be aware of foods and drinks that make your symptoms worse. Alcohol, tea, milk and dairy products, chocolate, cola drinks, some spices (black pepper, mustard seed, nutmeg), as well as high-fat foods cause pain in many people. Avoid them or consume a small amount with other foods.
    The consumption of yogurt and honey contributes to the healing of peptic ulcers.

Recommendations

First of all, it is necessary to calm the irritation and to promote the healing of the damaged tissues.

Take a complex of melissa and valerian (such as the Relaxsom Complex). Click here to consult the technical sheet.

E.O. of Geranium. Click here to consult the technical sheet.

Note: Vitamin C and zinc in combination will act on the healing of the damaged mucosa.

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