Stomach ulcers, medically known as Peptic Ulcer Disease, are a condition that causes damage to the inner surface of the stomach, small intestine, or oesophagus. This article explains the different signs of stomach ulcers and home remedies to treat them.
An ulcer in the stomach is called a gastric ulcer. It usually occurs in people who drink a lot of alcohol or eat a high-acid diet. The acid in the stomach eats away at the inner lining of the stomach, causing it to appear ulcerated. This is not a dangerous condition and can be treated without needing to go to the hospital. When an ulcer occurs in the first part of the small intestine it is known as a duodenal ulcer.
Causes of Stomach Ulcer
The most common cause of stomach ulcers, however, is infection with a type of bacteria called Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori). H. pylori causes inflammation of the stomach lining, which in turn causes stomach ulcers.
Lifestyle factors such as smoking, drinking, spicy foods consumption, certain drugs (NSAIDS), and stress can cause stomach ulcers. Other causes of peptic ulcer disease include gastric ischaemia, metabolic disturbances, cytomegalovirus (CMV), upper abdominal radiotherapy, Crohn’s disease, and vasculitis. In some cases, peptic ulcer disease is caused by gastrinomas, also known as Zollinger–Ellison syndrome.
Signs of stomach Ulcer
As the lining of the stomach or first part of the small intestine becomes damaged, it can no longer protect the inside of the organ from acid. This allows stomach acid to reach the inner body tissues, causing pain, burning, and other symptoms of an ulcer. Gastric ulcers are commonly associated with long-term (chronic) pain, while duodenal ulcers are commonly associated with short-term (acute) pain. The long-term effects of gastric and duodenal ulcers can be serious, and even life-threatening, if the ulcers are left untreated.
One or more of the following symptoms may accompany stomach ulcers:
- Epigastric abdominal pain is strongly associated with mealtimes. The pain may also appear about three hours after eating and arouses the patient from sleep.
- there may be abdominal discomfort and bloating.
- feeling nauseated and vomiting excessively.
- reduced appetite and weight loss
- severe heartburn
- Hematemesis (vomiting blood) is caused by bleeding from a gastric ulcer or damage to the oesophagus from severe/continuous vomiting.
- Melena (dark coloured faeces due to oxidized haemoglobin)
Complications of Stomach Ulcer
The symptoms of stomach ulcers may not always be severe in their early stages. However, if left untreated, severe complications can develop, which may even result in death. Knowing the signs of stomach ulcers and home remedies to treat them is very helpful. You can easily identify when you have an ulcer and treat it to prevent complications.
Complications of untreated peptic ulcer disease can include:
– Bleeding which can lead to anaemia
– Infection of the stomach and duodenum (sepsis)
– Perforation of the stomach or duodenum (a hole)
– Tearing of the stomach or duodenum
– Scarring and swelling of the antrum and duodenum (stenosis)
Home Remedies to Treat Stomach Ulcer
- Coconut – The antibacterial properties in coconuts fight the bacteria which causes stomach ulcers and promote healing. Coconut water and coconut milk also possess anti-ulcer properties. Every day, drink fresh coconut milk (a few cups) or tender coconut water. You can also eat the tender coconut kernel. As an alternative, you can take 1 tablespoon of coconut oil each morning or add it to your tea, smoothie, or cereal.
- Fenugreek – Boil 1 tablespoon fenugreek seed or powder in a glass of water. strain, add honey and drink. Alternatively you can use fenugreek leaves and you can also use milk instead of water. Drink this every morning and evening.
- Carrot juice – Carrot juice is often hailed as one of the best home remedies for peptic ulcers. Drinking carrot juice can help reduce the pain caused by peptic ulcers. For best results, you can drink at least two glasses of carrot juice daily.
- Cabbage – The natural anti-inflammatory properties of cabbage have been known to help heal ulcers and strengthen the stomach lining. Simply blend your cabbage with water to extract the juice. Drink a cup of this juice before each meal and at bedtime.
- Unripe plantain – unripe plantain is rich in probiotics which help to balance the GIT flora and promote healing of the ulcer. Peel and blend the plantain with water. Drink a glass of the plantain mixture 3 times daily.
- Banana – Bananas are very good for ulcers. They contain fibre and vitamins which helps with digestion and reduces inflammation. Eat three ripe bananas every day. If you’re not a fan of bananas, you can make banana milkshakes. It is possible to peel two or three bananas and cut them into thin slices. After that, you let these slices dry in the sun. Grind them to a fine powder. Mix 2 tablespoons of the powder with one tablespoon of honey. Eat the mixture three times daily for a week.
- Almond milk – Almond milk provides a natural source of fat and protein which is helpful in the healing of peptic ulcers. Almond milk is also a good source of natural vitamin E which promotes the healing of ulcers. Enjoy a glass of cold almond milk every morning or you can make a paste by soaking almonds, peeling them, and then grinding them. The paste is then added to the milk, and the milk is consumed immediately after that.
- Slippery elm – Mucilage found in the inner bark of slippery elm calms and soothes inflammation and pain caused by stomach ulcers. Pulverize the slippery elm bark into powder. Add one teaspoon of this powder to one cup of warm water, stir and drink it three times a day.
You may have a stomach ulcer if you experience pain or discomfort in the upper abdomen, especially after eating. This can range from mild to severe and may come and go. Symptoms may only appear when individuals eat certain foods, while others may feel discomfort even without eating. You may also experience nausea and vomiting or find that food doesn’t settle well.
If you’re concerned that you might have a stomach ulcer, the next thing you should do is seek medical attention as soon as possible. It is important to know the signs of stomach ulcers and home remedies to treat them. This is because a stomach ulcer can cause significant discomfort and if left untreated can lead to the complications mentioned above. Signs of stomach ulcers can also be an indication of a more serious medical condition.
You may also read: Benefits of drinking water and how to increase daily water intake.