Stomach ulcers are quite common and many people do not recognize their symptoms until they become quite serious. They usually occur in people with a history of digestive problems. If you are experiencing new or intensified digestive discomfort, it’s possible you have a stomach ulcer. If you have already been diagnosed with an ulcer, this article may give you some helpful tips.

A stomach ulcer occurs when the lining of the stomach becomes inflamed and damaged. The medical term for a stomach ulcer is gastric ulcer. Peptic ulcer refers to an ulcer either in the stomach, or the first part of the small intestine (called the duodenum). In the past, doctors thought stomach ulcers are caused by stress, smoking or poor diet. These days most ulcers are associated with infection with the bacterium Helicobacter pylori. In reality, stomach ulcers are usually caused by several contributing factors. Most people are found to be infected with Helicobacter pylori, and they do feel better after antibiotic treatment. However, poor diet, stress, food allergies, dysbiosis, bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine, and nutrient deficiencies increase the risk of suffering from a stomach bacterial infection. People with a healthy digestive system aren’t as susceptible to Helicobacter pylori infection.

The conventional medical treatment for stomach ulcers is two different antibiotics and an acid suppressing drug. Most people recover, but they’re at high risk of developing an ulcer again. Fortunately there are natural supportive remedies that can help heal a stomach ulcer.

What are the symptoms of a stomach ulcer?

  • Abdominal pain just below the ribcage
  • Loss of appetite or ravenous appetite creating hunger pains
  • Indigestion
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

If the stomach ulcer is bleeding, this can eventually lead to anemia. Symptoms of anemia include fatigue, weakness and light-headedness. Blood from a bleeding ulcer will end up in the bowel motions and can make them appear much darker than usual. If you think you may have a stomach ulcer it is critical you see your doctor for a diagnosis. Iron deficiency in elderly people is often due to blood loss from somewhere in the digestive tract.

Causes of stomach ulcers

  • Infection with the bacterium Helicobacter pylori. This bug is thought to be present in between 60 and 90 percent of cases of peptic ulcer.
  • Side effect of medication. Several drugs are capable of causing a peptic ulcer, including aspirin, drugs for arthritis, some blood thinners and some pain relieving drugs. If you are taking one of these medications and experience any of the symptoms above, please see your doctor.
  • Occasionally stomach cancer can first present as an ulcer. This is especially true in elderly people.

How your diet affects your risk of stomach ulcers

  • Coffee and cigarettes can both compromise the protective lining of the stomach, increasing the risk of ulceration.
  • Drinking soda increases the risk of ulcers in susceptible people. This is because of the sugar and acids.
  • Dairy products. Many people drink milk as a way of soothing the burning of a stomach ulcer. Milk temporarily soothes the ulcer, but it causes a rebound rise in acid production and inflammation, therefore guarantees you’ll suffer the same discomfort again later.
  • Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO). This is where bacteria that normally reside in the large intestine travel upwards into the small intestine and create havoc. An overgrowth of microbes here can result in fermentation of carbohydrates in the small intestine. The microbes release gases that travel upwards into the stomach and alter the pH of the stomach, making the stomach a more favorable environment for Helicobacter pylori. Overcoming SIBO involves restoring healthy digestive function and reducing the intake of fermentable carbohydrates in the diet.

Natural remedies for peptic ulcers

  • Avoid all foods you know or suspect aggravate your ulcer. These generally include foods such as spices, citrus, tomatoes or peppers.
  • Avoid dairy products.
  • Avoid sugar, grains and highly fermentable carbohydrates. Fermentable carbohydrates are found in foods such as onions, broccoli, apples, legumes and others. A low FODMAP diet is recommended. This will starve the intestinal bacteria of a food supply and help to manage small intestinal bacterial overgrowth. The low FODMAP diet is restrictive but it does not need to be followed long term; it is simply designed to restore the health of the small intestine.
  • The herbal supplement BactoClear capsules helps to reduce numbers of unfriendly microbes in the digestive tract. It has a powerful disinfectant action in the small intestine.
  • Glutamine is healing and soothing to the lining of the entire gastrointestinal tract. It can offer great symptom relief and also helps to heal inflamed tissue. You can find glutamine in Ultimate Gut Health Powder.
  • Vitamin C and selenium will help to improve tissue healing and these nutrients are lacking in most people’s diets.
  • Aloe vera is very healing and soothing to the digestive system. You can find the juice or gel in health food stores and add it to your smoothies.
  • Including raw garlic in your diet is a good way to help manage Helicobacter pylori, however raw garlic may aggravate an acute ulcer.

The above statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease.