A peptic ulcer, also called peptic ulcer disease (PUD), is a defect in the lining of your stomach, your esophagus, or the beginning of your small intestine (referred to as the duodenum). An ulcer in your stomach is called a gastric ulcer, in your esophagus an esophageal ulcer, and in your duodenum a duodenal ulcer. All three types of peptic ulcer result from the developed inability of a normally protective lining to protect you against the acidic environment of that part of your digestive system.
The most common cause of a peptic ulcer is infection by the bacteria Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) a naturally occurring bacteria in your stomach. Your risk of developing a peptic ulcer can also be raised by:
- excessive alcohol consumption
- regular use of aspirin, ibuprofen, and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
- smoking cigarettes or chewing tobacco
- a history of heartburn or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
- malignant tumor of the stomach
Symptoms of a peptic ulcer vary from person to person, and you may or may not experience:
- abdominal pain
- bloating and abdominal fullness
- nausea and vomiting (possibly with blood)
- loss of appetite and weight loss
- bloody or dark stool
- chest pain
Once diagnosed with a peptic ulcer, your doctor will prescribe medication to counteract the H. pylori (if present), as well as medication to lower the acid levels in your stomach. Other drugs prescribed may involve protecting the lining of your stomach from the use of NSAIDs and further development of your ulcer. If bleeding is occurring regularly, you may require surgery.
Natural medicine can be a very effective complement in preventing and managing your peptic ulcer. A nutritional counsellor can help you modify your diet, e.g. by recommending supplements such as zinc, and by teaching you what foods to include and also avoid in your diet. Acupuncture and TCM can help resolve your pain, nausea and other symptoms. Private yoga and massage therapy can help to reduce your stress levels and help your body heal itself.
Contact us for a FREE consultation on how natural therapy can help you prevent and manage peptic ulcers.
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