Stomach ulcers, also known as gastric ulcers, are open sores that develop in the mucosal lining of the stomach. They are also referred to as peptic ulcers, though most of the peptic ulcers generally develop in the duodenum, which is the first part of the small intestine. Generally, stomach and duodenum ulcers are benign, though rarely a few of them can become malignant or cancerous.
Causes and Symptoms of Stomach Ulcers
Sores or ulcers can develop in the lining of the stomach due to the damage caused by the hydrochloric acid (a component of the digestive juice). Earlier, the consumption of spicy foods and stress were thought to be responsible for causing gastric ulcers. But later, it was discovered that most of the ulcers are actually caused by a bacterial infection.
The bacterium responsible for causing gastric ulcers is known as Helicobacter pylori. Apart from bacterial infections, some other important causes of gastric ulcers are, long-term use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, cigarette smoking, and excessive consumption of alcohol. Even stress is believed to play an important role in their development.
A burning sensation or pain in the upper abdomen, or below the breastbone, is the most common symptom that can be produced by this condition. The pain can be felt immediately after eating, though some individuals can experience the pain a few hours after having a meal. Other symptoms of this condition are, loss of appetite, vomiting, black stool, weight loss, blood in stool, and anemia.
Stomach Ulcer Cure
The conventional treatment options for gastric ulcers are medications, like antacids, acid blockers or H2 antagonists, proton pump inhibitors, and cytoprotective agents. If ulcers are caused by the H. pylori bacteria, then antibiotics are prescribed. However, in addition to these conventional medications, several natural remedies have shown their efficacy in treating this condition. Some such natural remedies for gastric ulcers are enlisted below:
- Bananas can neutralize the stomach acid or the gastric juice. This fruit can also protect the stomach lining, and reduce inflammation and irritation.
- Fresh vegetable juice, like carrot and cabbage juice can also provide significant relief. You can take cabbage juice either alone or mix it with carrot juice. Similarly, carrot juice can also be mixed with spinach or beet juice. Vegetable juices can help strengthen the stomach lining and heal the sores.
- Fenugreek, if moistened with water, becomes mucilaginous. It can form a protective coating on the stomach lining, and accelerate the healing of the ulcers.
- Lime contains citric acid and mineral salts, which can not only help promote digestion, but can heal the ulcers as well. Lime can be used in salads or taken as lime juice.
- The leaves of wood apple are another effective natural remedy that can relieve the pain and discomfort associated with gastric ulcers. The leaves should be soaked overnight. The next morning, you can strain the water and then drink it.
- Raw honey, especially the manuka honey can help heal the ulcers, strengthen the stomach lining, and destroy the bacteria that cause the infection.
- Milk, especially cold milk is known to neutralize the stomach acid. So, it can be taken to alleviate the symptoms of gastric ulcers. Raw milk, especially raw goat milk can be more beneficial for this condition.
Stomach or gastric ulcers, if left untreated, can give rise to some major complications, like gastrointestinal bleeding, perforation of the gastrointestinal wall, scarring of the tissues, and pyloric stenosis. Therefore, along with taking these remedies, it is essential to seek medical help. Equally important is to quit smoking, and limit the intake of caffeine, alcohol, and spicy and salty food. In addition to these, people having stomach or peptic ulcers should drink plenty of water, and eat several small meals in a day.