Stomach Ulcers

Peptic Ulcer Disease involves a break in the protective mucosa layers of the duodenum, stomach and less commonly in the distal esophagus and the mid portion of the small intestine, called the jejunum. It arises when the lining of the stomach is no longer capable of protecting it from its acid contents.


There are two types of ulcers, the duodenal ulcer and the gastric ulcer. Duodenal ulcer is characterized by an elevated gastric acid and also a quick draining of the food from the stomach reducing the buffering effect of food and delivering acid bolus to the duodenum. It presents a deep, sharply demarcated lesion that penetrates through the mucosa and sub mucosa into the muscle layer. A steady, gnawing pain is usually felt 1 1/2 to 3 hours after a meal, occurring frequently at night. It is also called the poor man’s ulcer as it is relieved by food intake.  Find out how you can cure your digestion problems with food.


Other associated causes can be helicobacter pylori infection, smoking, caffeine and use of NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs).


The second type is the Gastric ulcer which is characterized when the lining of the stomach has a cut and is damaged by the acid or when there is an abnormal functioning of the pyloric sphincter in which bile reflux backs up into the stomach.  It has a steady, gnawing pain felt at the left abdominal area usually 30 to 60 minutes after a meal.  It can sometimes be alleviated by vomiting as the pain worsens with food intake and thereby termed as the rich man’s ulcer.


There are several ways to manage ulcers: drug therapy, diet therapy, and surgical management. Among the three, diet therapy is more feasible and mostly can be done by ourselves.   In diet therapy we should:


* Avoid substances that increase gastric acid secretion such as caffeine containing food and beverages.


* Consume a bland, non-irritating diet avoiding oily and fatty foods, spicy foods and very hot and cold food and drinks.


* Practice small frequent feedings instead of 3 large meals a day make it 5 small meals a day. Limit carbohydrates and simple sugars. Instead consider a moderate “good” fats and protein intake.


* Avoid alcohol and tobacco


* Reduce stress. Get enough sleep, engage in sports, keep a schedule, have a nice warm shower or speak with a friend.  Daily stressors increase gastric acid secretion.


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