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Peptic Ulcer Symptoms & Remedies


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    Peptic Ulcer Symptoms & Remedies

    Peptic ulcer

    Peptic ulcers, open sores in the lining of the stomach, esophagus, or duodenum (the first part of the intestine -- are common. According to the American College of Gastroenterology, about 20 million Americans will develop an ulcer during their life. Contrary to popular belief, ulcers are not caused by spicy food or stress. Instead, a type of bacteria called Helicobacter pylori is usually to blame. Long-term use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen (Advil) can also cause ulcers.

    Signs and Symptoms:

    • Abdominal pain with a burning or gnawing sensation
    • Pain 2 - 3 hours after eating
    • Pain is often made worse by an empty stomach; nighttime pain is common
    • Pain may be relieved by antacids or milk
    • Heartburn
    • Indigestion (dyspepsia)
    • Belching
    • Nausea
    • Vomiting
    • Poor appetite
    • Weight loss
    If you experience any of the following symptoms, it is considered an emergency and you should call your doctor immediately:
    • Sudden increase in the abdominal pain or sharpness in the quality of the pain
    • Vomiting blood or material that looks like coffee grounds
    • Blood in your stool or black, tarry stools


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    Re: Peptic Ulcer Symptoms & Remedies

    Causes:

    The lining of the stomach is usually protected from the damaging effects of stomach acid. When that protection fails, an ulcer forms. There are a few different ways this happens.
    • Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) -- H. pylori, a type of bacteria, is responsible for most ulcers. This organism weakens the protective coating of the stomach and first part of the intestine and allows damaging digestive juices to eat away at the sensitive lining below. As many as 20% of Americans over age 40 have H. pylori living in their digestive tract, but most do not develop ulcers.
    • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) – Long-term use of these pain relievers is the second most common cause of ulcers. These drugs block prostaglandins, substances in the stomach that help maintain blood flow and protect the area from injury. Some people are more susceptible to this side effect of NSAIDs than others. These drugs include ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), naproxen (Aleve), and ketoprofen (OrudisKT), as well as prescription drugs. Some may be more likely to produce ulcers than others. If you must use long-term pain medications, talk to your doctor about which ones are safest.
    Other causes of ulcers are conditions that can result in direct damage to the wall of the stomach or duodenum, such as heavy use of alcohol, radiation therapy, burns, and physical injury.


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    Re: Peptic Ulcer Symptoms & Remedies

    Risk Factors:

    • Heredity
    • Older age
    • Chronic pain, from any cause such as arthritis, fibromyalgia, repetitive stress injuries (like carpal tunnel syndrome), or persistent back pain, causing long-term use of aspirin or NSAIDs
    • Alcohol abuse
    • Diabetes may increase your risk of having H. pylori
    • Lifestyle factors, including chronic stress, coffee drinking (even decaf), and smoking, may make you more susceptible to damage from NSAIDs or H. pylori if you are a carrier of this organism. But these factors do not cause an ulcer on their own.



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    Re: Peptic Ulcer Symptoms & Remedies

    Lifestyle

    Doctors used to recommend eating bland foods with milk and only small amounts of food with each meal. Now we know that such a diet isn' t needed to treat ulcers. Dietary and other lifestyle measures that should help include:
    • Eat a diet rich in fiber, especially from fruits and vegetables. This may reduce your risk of developing an ulcer in the first place and speed your recovery if you already have one.
    • Foods containing flavonoids, like apples, celery, cranberries (including cranberry juice), onions, garlic, and tea may inhibit the growth of H. pylori.
    • Some people may find that spicy foods make existing symptoms worse.
    • Quit smoking.
    • Receive treatment for alcohol abuse; your doctor can help get you appropriate care.
    • Cut down on coffee, including decaffeinated coffee, as well as carbonated beverages. All can increase stomach acid.
    • Reduce stress with regular use of relaxation techniques, such as yoga, tai chi, qi gong, or meditation. These practices may also help lessen pain and reduce your need for NSAIDs. Consider taking a class; some early information suggests that, if you have an ulcer, a formal stress-reducing program may be more helpful than listening to tapes on your own at home.



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    Re: Peptic Ulcer Symptoms & Remedies

    Medications

    If you have H. pylori, you will probably be prescribed three medications. "Triple therapy," including a proton pump inhibitor to reduce acid production and two antibiotics, is commonly used to treat H. pylori-related gastritis and ulcers. Bismuth salicylate (Pepto-Bismol) may be used instead of the second antibiotic. This drug, available over the counter, coats and soothes the stomach, protecting it from the damaging effects of acid. Two-drug regimens are currently being developed.
    Some of the same drugs are used for non-H. pylori gastritis as well as for symptoms (like indigestion) due to ulcers:


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    Re: Peptic Ulcer Symptoms & Remedies

    H2 blockers -- reduce gastric acid secretion. They include:
    • Cimetidine (Tagemet)
    • Ranitidine (Zantac)
    • Nizatidine (Axid)
    • Famotidine (Pepcid)
    Proton-pump inhibitors -- decrease gastric acid production. They include:
    • Esomeprazole (Nexium)
    • Lansoprazole (Prevacid)
    • Omeprazole (Prilosec)
    • Pantoprazole (Protonix)
    • Rabeprazole (Aciphex)






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    Re: Peptic Ulcer Symptoms & Remedies

    Nutrition and Dietary Supplements

    Following these nutritional tips may help reduce symptoms:
    • Foods containing flavonoids, like apples, celery, cranberries (including cranberry juice), onions, garlic, and tea may inhibit the growth of H. pylori.
    • Eat antioxidant foods, including fruits (such as blueberries, cherries, and tomatoes), and vegetables (such as squash and bell peppers).
    • Eat foods high in B-vitamins and calcium, such as almonds, beans, whole grains (if no allergy), dark leafy greens (such as spinach and kale), and sea vegetables.
    • Avoid refined foods, such as white breads, pastas, and sugar.
    • Eat fewer red meats and more lean meats, cold-water fish, tofu (soy, if no allergy) or beans for protein.
    • Use healthy oils, such as olive oil or vegetable oil.
    • Reduce or eliminate trans-fatty acids, found in commercially baked goods such as cookies, crackers, cakes, French fries, onion rings, donuts, processed foods, and margarine.
    • Avoid beverages that may irritate the stomach lining or increase acid production including coffee (with or without caffeine), alcohol, and carbonated beverages.
    • Drink 6 - 8 glasses of filtered water daily.
    • Exercise at least 30 minutes daily, 5 days a week.
    These supplements may also help:
    • Probiotic supplement (containing Lactobacillus acidophilus), 5 - 10 billion CFUs (colony forming units) a day -- Probiotics or “friendly” bacteria may help maintain a balance in the digestive system between good and harmful bacteria such as H. pylori. Probiotics may help suppress H. pylori infection and may also help reduce side effects from taking antibiotics, the treatment for an H. pylori infection. Some probiotic supplements may need to be refrigerated for best results.
    • Vitamin C, 500 - 1,000 mg 1 - 3 times daily -- One study found that taking vitamin C along with triple therapy allowed the dose of one antibiotic to be lower. Vitamin C may also be helpful in treating bleeding stomach ulcers caused by aspirin use.



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    Re: Peptic Ulcer Symptoms & Remedies

    Herbs

    Herbs are generally a safe way to strengthen and tone the body's systems. As with any therapy, you should work with your health care provider to get your problem diagnosed before starting and during treatment. You may use herbs as dried extracts (capsules, powders, teas), glycerites (glycerine extracts), or tinctures (alcohol extracts). Unless otherwise indicated, you should make teas with 1 tsp. herb per cup of hot water. Steep covered 5 - 10 minutes for leaf or flowers, and 10 - 20 minutes for roots. Drink 2 - 4 cups per day. You may use tinctures alone or in combination as noted.
    • Cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon) 400 mg twice daily -- Some preliminary research suggests cranberry may inhibit H. pylori growth in the stomach.
    • Mastic (Pistacia lentiscus) standardized extract, 1,000 - 2,000 mg daily in divided dosages -- Mastic is a traditional treatment for peptic ulcers and inhibits H. pylori in test tubes. More studies are needed to see whether it works in humans.
    • DGL-licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra) standardized extract, 250 - 500 mg 3 times daily, chewed either 1 hour before or 2 hours after meals -- may help protect against stomach damage from NSAIDs. Glycyrrhizin is a chemical found in licorice that causes side effects and drug interactions. DGL is deglycyrrhizinated licorice, or licorice with the glycyrrhizin removed.
    • Peppermint (Mentha piperita) standardized, enteric coated tablet, 1 tablet 2 - 3 times daily -- may help relieve symptoms of peptic ulcer. Each tablet contains 0.2 ml peppermint oil. Be sure to use the enteric coated form to avoid heartburn.



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