A stomach ulcer is an open sore in the stomach lining that can become extremely painful when it interacts with acid. While there are several causes, such as overuse of over-the-counter pain medications as well as harmful bacteria, there are also several home remedies that can help alleviate symptoms.
But first, identifying which type you have is key to fixing the problem.
Different Types of Ulcers
A stomach ulcer is also commonly referred to as a peptic ulcer. There are two types of these ulcers. Gastric ulcers form in the stomach lining, while duodenal ulcers form in the upper portion of the small intestine. The duodenum is the area where contents from the stomach enter the small intestine.
The symptoms of gastric and duodenal ulcers are similar. However, people with gastric ulcers typically feel discomfort after eating, while those with duodenal ulcers usually experience pain when their stomachs are empty. A doctor will need to perform tests in order to determine which type of ulcer a patient may have.
Ways to Find Relief
These are a few of the products that could help you find relief from your stomach ulcer symptoms.
– Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that can help offset the effects of “bad” bacteria such as H. pylori, which has been identified as one of the causes of stomach ulcers.1 Probiotics can be found in many different types of food, including yogurt, buttermilk and others, but they are also available in supplements.
– You might think that licorice is nothing more than an old-fashioned candy, but research shows it has properties that can help relieve some of the symptoms associated with stomach ulcers. 2 Rather than reduce the stomach acid that can make ulcer pain worse, licorice actually reduces acid’s ability to damage stomach lining. Licorice, according to researchers, helps to inhibit the growth of the H. pylori bacterium. You can find licorice supplements in a lot of stores, or you can find it in your nearest candy store like they did in the old days. You can also make a tasty licorice tea by cutting it into slices and mixing it with a quart of boiling water. It’s very important, however, that you don’t overdo it. Consuming too much licorice can raise your blood pressure and possibly lead to other health issues.
– Garlic has also been associated with H. pylori inhibition. 3 If you’re not that fond of the taste, you can find garlic extracts very easily that come in capsule form. It’s very important that you talk to your doctor if you’re using a blood thinner, however, before you start taking a garlic extract or using the spice on a regular basis. The reason is that it could also act as a blood-thinning agent, and that could lead to some serious health issues.
– You can either eat cranberries, drink them in a juice (unsweetened only!) or take a cranberry supplement. However you choose to consume them, they could help relieve some of your stomach ulcer symptoms by helping to fight H. pylori.4 But you have to be careful with how much you consume, because if you use too much it could actually cause greater discomfort.
Properly Using Ulcer Medications
The most commonly used medications to relieve the symptoms associated with ulcers are antacids, H2 blockers such as Zantac and Tagamet, and proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) such as Prilosec. While these medications can help block acid production and protect the lining of the stomach from further irritation, overuse can lead to potentially serious health issues.
Antacids are found in a lot of medicine cabinets, as they’ve been used for years in order to relieve acid indigestion. H2 blockers are designed to inhibit certain receptors located in the stomach that produce acids. PPIs also work to reduce the production of stomach acids, but they are stronger and faster acting.
Overuse of Antacids
Overuse of antacids has been linked to body weakness and bone damage because they absorb phosphorus that would otherwise be used to strengthen bones and tissues.5 They are also believed to cause constipation if used too often. 6
Tagamet and Zantac have been linked to insomnia and stomach pain, while PPIs have been linked to skin rashes and other gastrointestinal issues such as infections caused by an overabundance of the C. difficile bacterium. 7,8
But before you immediately head to your bathroom to throw away all of these medications, talk to your doctor. Again, they have proven to be effective in helping address many of the symptoms associated with stomach ulcers. If you suddenly stop using any of them, that could cause potentially serious health issues.
When to See a Doctor About Stomach Ulcer Symptoms
If you already know that you have an ulcer because you’ve received a diagnosis from a doctor, it’s extremely important that you keep a close eye on your condition and do whatever you can to keep it from getting worse. If you don’t, you will be susceptible to several potentially harmful problems. 9
For example, swelling and scarring in the stomach can lead to a narrowing of the opening to the duodenum. If the duodenum is obstructed, that can result in a great deal of vomiting. Ulcers can also create holes in the duodenum and stomach wall, potentially leading to inflammation and infections. They can also result in bleeding due to erosion of the duodenal and stomach walls.
In severe cases, a lack of proper treatment of an ulcer can result in a medical emergency. You will need to get immediate medical help if you vomit either blood or a dark material that is similar in appearance to coffee grounds. If you have blood in the stool, or your stool appears black in color, that could be another sign of a serious problem. You’ll also need to call a doctor as soon as you can if you experience sudden, severe pain that spreads to your back, you are losing a substantial amount of weight unexpectedly, or you become dizzy or weak.
An ulcer can be an extremely frustrating – and potentially dangerous – problem. However, it can eventually be cured in many instances. Working closely with your doctor will provide you with the best chance of finding permanent relief.
1. Krans, Brian. “Natural & Home Remedies For Ulcers”. Healthline. N.p., 2015. Web. 5 Apr. 2017.
2. Asha MK, et al. “In Vitro Anti-Helicobacter Pylori Activity Of A Flavonoid Rich Extract Of Glycyrrhiza Glabra And Its Probable Mechanisms Of Action. – Pubmed – NCBI”. Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. N.p., 2013. Web. 5 Apr. 2017.
3. Cellini, Luigina et al. “Inhibition Ofhelicobacter Pyloriby Garlic Extract (Allium Sativum)”. N.p., 1996. Print.
4. Gotteland M, et al. “Modulation Of Helicobacter Pylori Colonization With Cranberry Juice And Lactobacillus Johnsonii La1 In Children. – Pubmed – NCBI”. Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. N.p., 2008. Web. 5 Apr. 2017.
5. Spencer, H et al. “Effect Of Small Doses Of Aluminum-Containing Antacids On Calcium And Phosphorus Metabolism.”. Ajcn.nutrition.org. N.p., 1982. Web. 5 Apr. 2017.
6. Wienbeck M, et al. “[Effect Of Antacids On Intestinal Motility]. – Pubmed – NCBI”. Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. N.p., 1983. Web. 5 Apr. 2017.
7. “Common Side Effects Of Zantac (Ranitidine Hcl) Drug Center – Rxlist”. RxList. N.p., 2017. Web. 5 Apr. 2017.
8. “Side Effects And Complications Of Long-Term PPI Use”. Medscape. N.p., 2017. Web. 5 Apr. 2017.
9. “Peptic Ulcers 101”. Hopkinsmedicine.org. N.p., 2017. Web. 6 Apr. 2017.