A Natural Approach To Helping Yourself Through Your Diet
Ulcers are sores that can happen in your digestive tract, including your lower throat , stomach and intestines. Ulcers are usually caused by the bacteria Helicobacter pylori that many of us have in our bodies already. The symptoms can be made worse by your stomach acid.
It is not entirely clear why ulcers start but stress and diet, especially a fatty diet, are big contributing factors. A higher intake of fat can greatly increase your chance of getting an ulcer in the first place and cause other gastrointestinal problems. High salt intake is also implicated.
STOMACH ULCER TREATMENT
You can treat ulcers. A doctor will recommend antibiotics to kill the bacteria, a medical herbalist will recommend herbal antibiotics such as goldenseal.
Carefully controlling your diet is crucial to successful treatment. This is to make sure that your stomach produces less acid when digesting your food. Eating large meals requires the stomach to produce large amounts of stomach acid. So it is best to eat small meals. Ideally, you should be having 5 to 6 small meals a day and not 2 or 3 large ones.
Your meals should be low in fat and sugar and high in fibre. A diet based on fruits, vegetables and whole grains is just that. The reason for avoiding fatty foods, is that they are harder for you to digest, so your body then produces more stomach acid and aggravates your condition. Foods that are low in fat can speed up your recovery.
CUTTING DOWN ON RED MEAT
FRUIT AND VEGETABLES
If Your Ulcer Was Caused By Helicobacter Pylori
Most stomach ulcers are caused by infection with H. pylori. Therefore, a main part of the treatment is to clear this infection. If this infection is not cleared, the ulcer is likely to return once you stop taking acid-suppressing medication. For more information, see the separate leaflet called Helicobacter Pylori.
How Are Peptic Ulcers Diagnosed
Your healthcare provider will look at your past health and give you a physical exam. You may also have some tests.
Imaging tests used to diagnose ulcers include:
- Upper GI series or barium swallow. This test looks at the organs of the top part of your digestive system. It checks your food pipe , stomach, and the first part of the small intestine . You will swallow a metallic fluid called barium. Barium coats the organs so that they can be seen on an X-ray.
- Upper endoscopy or EGD . This test looks at the lining of your esophagus, stomach, and duodenum. It uses a thin lighted tube called an endoscope. The tube has a camera at one end. The tube is put into your mouth and throat. Then it goes into your esophagus, stomach, and duodenum. Your health care provider can see the inside of these organs. A small tissue sample can be taken. This can be checked for H. pylori.
You may also have the following lab tests to see if you have an H. pylori infection:
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Causes Of Stomach Ulcers
Stomach ulcers happen when theres damage to the layer that protects the stomach lining from the acids in your stomach.
This is usually a result of:
- an infection with Helicobacter pylori bacteria
- taking anti-inflammatory medicines , such as ibuprofen or aspirin particularly if they’re taken for a long time or at high doses
It used to be thought that stress or certain foods might cause stomach ulcers, but there’s little evidence to suggest this is the case.
Stomach ulcers can affect anyone but are more common in people aged 60 or over. Men are more affected than women.
Beyond Diet: How To Help A Peptic Ulcer
In the past, people with peptic ulcers were often sent home to care for themselves until the sore healed itself. Today, the eradication of H. pylori is the central concern in the majority of cases. It is only by eliminating the bacteria that recurrence can be fully prevented.
While other things can cause peptic ulcers, such as the overuse of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs , H. pylori accounts for 85% to 95% of all cases.
In addition to changes in diet, the treatment of peptic ulcers will typically involve one or more of the following:
- Antibiotics: These are prescription antibacterial drugs used in combination to kill H. pylori. Options include Flagyl , Amoxil , clarithromycin, and tetracycline.
- Proton pump inhibitors : These are over-the-counter and prescription drugs used to reduce stomach acids. Options include Prilosec , Prevacid , Nexium , and Protonix .
- Histamine-2 receptor blockers: These are over-the-counter and prescription drugs aslo used to reduce stomach acids. Options include Pepcid AC , Tagamet HB , and Axid AR .
- Antacids: These are over-the-counter agents used to neutralize stomach acids. These include Tums , Milk of Magnesia , and Pepto-Bismol .
- Cytoprotective agents These are prescription drugs ed to protect the lining of your stomach and small intestine. Options include Carafate and Cytotec .
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What Not To Eat With A Stomach Ulcer
Since stomach ulcer is a problem related to stomach, following a diet menu which can help heal stomach ulcer is advisable. However, there are certain diet restrictions for individual suffering from the stomach ulcer. These include
- High salt intake in food
- Higher Intake of fat in food should be avoided both for preventing the occurrence of stomach ulcers or any other gastrointestinal problems
- Avoiding large meals and replacing it with 5 to 6 small meals each day since the small meals would require the stomach to produce smaller quantities of stomach acids
Thus Ideally The Food items Which Should be Avoided by the Individuals Suffering from Stomach Ulcers Include
- Red Meat
- Caffeinated products such as chocolate, coffee and soft drinks
- High fat dairy products
- Spicy foods with seasonings of chili peppers, black pepper, mustard, and other strong spices
- Pre Prepared Meals
Should I Take A Vitamin And Mineral Supplement
If you find it hard to eat five portions of fruit or vegetables each day, a vitamin and mineral supplement may be beneficial, so discuss this with your doctor or ask to be referred to a dietitian.
Try to drink 6-8 glasses of fluid each day which will support wound healing and is important for your general health.
- Water, tea, coffee, squash, juices, fizzy drinks, milk and milky drinks all count as fluids
- Milky drinks such as hot chocolate, latte, malted drinks and milkshakes are particularly good as they contain both calories and protein.
You may struggle to eat enough energy if you have a poor appetite. Here are some tips which will help you improve your intake:
- Choose full fat or high energy food varieties e.g. whole milk, thick and creamy yoghurts. Avoid low calorie options e.g. skimmed milk, diet yoghurts, light hot chocolate
- Eating 4 to 6 smaller meals or snacks may be easier than the traditional 3 larger meals per day
- Avoid drinking before you eat as this will fill you up l If you are struggling to prepare foods use convenience foods or ready meals
- Try fortifying your diet by adding extra protein and calories to foods
- Include extra snacks between meals
- Have regular nourishing drinks and try fortified milk.
Fortified Milk: This is higher in calories and protein than ordinary cows milk and can be used as a drink, in tea / coffee / hot chocolate / Ovaltine/ Horlicks, on breakfast cereals, or added to your recipes e.g. sauces and puddings.
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What Does A Mouth Ulcer Look Like
Mouth ulcers are usually round or oval sores that commonly appear inside the mouth on the:
They can be white, red, yellow or grey in colour and swollen.
It’s possible to have more than one mouth ulcer at a time and they may spread or grow.
Mouth ulcers shouldn’t be confused with cold sores, which are small blisters that develop on the lips or around the mouth. Cold sores often begin with a tingling, itching or burning sensation around your mouth.
Foods To Help Prevent Symptoms
Gastritis involves inflammation of the stomach lining. For this reason, an anti-inflammatory diet may help some people.
There is no single best anti-inflammatory diet. To combat inflammation, eat plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables, and other plant foods, which are rich in antioxidants. It is also important to avoid processed foods and any containing unhealthful fats and added salt or sugar.
Learn more about an anti-inflammatory diet here.
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Foods To Avoid When Suffering From Gastritis
A diet for chronic gastritis will help eliminate any irritation in the stomach. At first it might seem difficult to kick coffee and sugar, but once you realize how much diet plays a part in healing, it wont be an issue for long.
Below are the beverages and gastritis foods to avoid in your diet if you suffer from gastritis.
What Are The Best Foods To Eat With A Stomach Ulcer
Stomach ulcers, also known as gastric ulcers, are fairly common. The majority of people with stomach ulcers do not experience any symptoms, but some may experience pain, nausea, diarrhoea, or bloating.
Current research into stomach ulcer diets is based on evidence that suggests that Helicobacter pylori infection plays a role in the formation of stomach ulcers.
Stomach ulcers usually require a combination of medications, including antibiotics. However, there is growing evidence to suggest that eating certain foods can also help get rid of stomach ulcers or, at least, reduce the symptoms they cause.
Keep reading to learn more about the best diet for stomach ulcers, including which foods to eat and avoid.
As well as taking any prescription medications, a person could try including the following food types in their diet:
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Complications Of Peptic Ulcers
If a peptic ulcer is treated, the outcome is usually very good, and complications arent very common. But if you havent had any treatment, or your ulcer has gone unnoticed for a while, complications may develop. Theres a particular risk if youre older and if youre taking medicines that stop your blood clotting, such as aspirin or warfarin. Complications include:
The most common of these is bleeding, especially if your ulcer is linked to NSAIDs. It happens if your ulcer grows into any underlying arteries or veins . If your ulcer is bleeding, you may:
- throw up blood this can be bright red, or dark like coffee grounds
- pass poo that is black and sticky
- develop iron deficiency anaemia, if youve been losing blood for some time
You should get urgent medical help if you have any of these symptoms. The surgeon may be able to stop the bleeding using an endoscope rather than open surgery. Its also possible to treat bleeding with a high dose of PPIs. Less commonly, you may need emergency surgery, but this can depend on how much blood youve lost.
If your ulcer eats through the lining of your stomach or duodenum, you may develop perforation. Perforation means the ulcer has broken through the wall of your stomach or duodenum, causing inflammation of your abdominal lining and a potentially serious infection. Your stomach will feel rigid and sore. You should go to hospital if you think this has happened as you may need emergency surgery.
What Are The Symptoms Of Any Complications
Stomach ulcers can cause various complications but these are much less common now because of more effective treatments. However, complications can be very serious and include:
Bleeding from the ulcer
- This can range from a ‘trickle’ to a life-threatening bleed.
- If there is sudden heavy bleeding then this will cause you to vomit blood and make you feel very faint.
- Less sudden bleeding may cause you to vomit and the vomit looks coffee-coloured because the stomach acid has partly broken down the blood.
- A more gradual trickle of blood will pass through your gut and cause your stools to look very dark in colour or even black .
PerforationThis is the term used to describe the ulcer having gone all the way through the wall of the stomach. Food and acid in the stomach then leak out of the stomach. This usually causes severe pain and makes you very unwell. Stomach perforation is a medical emergency and needs hospital treatment as soon as possible.
Stomach blockageThis is now rare. An ulcer at the end of the stomach can cause the outlet of the stomach to narrow and cause an obstruction. This can cause frequent severe vomiting.
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Foods To Eat With A Peptic Ulcer
A bland diet is generally your best bet when dealing with a peptic ulcer. These foods are low in acidity, saturated fats, and spiciness.
Another rule of thumb is to choose foods that are high in dietary fiber, both soluble and insoluble. Studies have shown that fiber-rich diets reduce the risk of peptic ulcers by lowering stomach acids. Foods that are rich in vitamin A have similar effects.
Foods that are probiotic can speed healing by blocking H. pylori from attaching to the lining of the stomach. Probiotic-rich foods include pickled vegetables as well as certain fermented dairy products like yogurt and kefir.
Foods rich in flavonoids are also believed to inhibit the growth of H. pylori in the gut. These plant-based nutrients are found in berries and many other fruits and vegetables.
Among the foods you can eat if you have a peptic ulcer are:
- Bean and legumes, which are fiber-rich
- Eggs, which are rich in vitamin A
- Fish, including fatty fish that are rich in omega-3 polyunsaturated fats
- Fiber-rich fruits, like apples, bananas, strawberries, and raspberries
- Flavonoid-rich foods, like cranberries, kale, broccoli, celery, and all berries
- Leafy green vegetables, which are rich in vitamin A
- Orange and yellow vegetables, like sweet potatoes and summer squash that are also rich in vitamin A
- Pickled foods, like kimchi, sauerkraut, and dill pickles
- Lean meats and poultry
Symptoms Of Stomach Ulcers
Although the most common symptom of a stomach ulcer is a burning or gnawing pain in the centre of the abdomen . Not all stomach ulcers are painful.
Some people experience:
Speak to your GP immediately if:
- your symptoms persist
- you’re vomiting blood the blood can appear bright red or have a dark brown, grainy appearance like coffee grounds
- you’re passing dark, sticky, tar-like stools
- you feel a sudden, sharp pain in your tummy that gets steadily worse
These could be a sign of a serious complication.
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What Conditions Need Surgery To Treat Rectal Ulcers
Rectal prolapse is a condition where part of the rectum protrudes from the anus. If rectal prolapse is causing your rectal ulcers, you may need a surgical procedure called a rectopexy to repair your rectum. This procedure can be done laparoscopically or robotically.
After making a few small incisions near your belly button, doctors insert a laparoscope into your abdomen. Your doctor uses tiny tools to move your rectum into the proper position.
Foods To Limit When You Have Acid Reflux And An Ulcer
Some people who have an ulcer also have acid reflux. In some people, certain foods can relax the lower part of the esophagus, known as the lower esophageal sphincter or LES. A relaxed LES makes it easier for acid to back up into the esophagus and cause heartburn, indigestion, and pain.
Foods that may make acid reflux worse include:
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Treatment Of Peptic Ulcers
Its really important to get the right treatment if youre diagnosed with a peptic ulcer. If treated properly, duodenal ulcers will heal in around four weeks and stomach ulcers in eight.
Treating the underlying cause lowers the chance of your ulcer coming back. This usually means getting rid of the H. pylori or stopping taking NSAIDs.
Foods To Help Treat Gastritis
Two foods that may help treat gastritis are broccoli and yogurt.
Broccoli contains a chemical called sulforaphane, which has antibacterial properties. It also contains antioxidants, which can help protect against cancer. For this reason, eating broccoli sprouts may help relieve or prevent gastritis and decrease the risk of stomach cancer.
Authors of an older study, published in 2009, found that participants with H. pylori infection who ate 70 grams more than half a cup of broccoli sprouts per day for 8 weeks had lower levels of infection and inflammation than those who did not eat broccoli.
In 2006, another team investigated whether eating about 2 cups of probiotic yogurt daily before using a combination of antibiotics could boost the ability of the medication to combat drug resistant H. pylori infection.
After 4 weeks, the researchers found that the participants who consumed the yogurt and antibiotics tended to eliminate the infection more effectively than those who only took antibiotics.
The results may have stemmed from the yogurts active cultures of beneficial bacteria that help improve the bodys ability to combat infection.
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When Should I Call My Healthcare Provider
See your healthcare provider right away if you have any of these symptoms:
- Vomiting blood or dark material that looks like coffee grounds
- Extreme weakness or dizziness
- Blood in your stools
- Nausea or vomiting that doesnt get better, or gets worse
- A sudden, severe pain that may spread to your back
- Losing weight without even trying
Untreated peptic ulcers may cause other health problems. Sometimes they bleed. If they become too deep, they can break through your stomach.
Ulcers can also keep food from going through your stomach.
Treating Helicobacter Pylori Infection
If your stomach ulcer’s caused by a Helicobacter pylori bacterial infection, you’ll be given:
- a course of antibiotics
- a medication called a proton pump inhibitor
This is also recommended if it’s thought your stomach ulcer’s caused by a combination of an H. pylori infection and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs .
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