Have you been experiencing frequent pains in the stomach? Does it feel like you have wounds in your belly?
Experts say if you have been using pain relief medicines for stomach pains for more than six months without relief, you may have developed an ulcer.
Professor of Gastroenterology at the Ege University School of Medicine, Turkey, Serhat Bor, describes stomach ulcers as open sores that form on the inner lining of the stomach, because of increased gastric acid in the digestive tract.
He notes that when this condition is not detected early, it could lead to severe damages to the stomach.
“An ulcer of the stomach occurs when there is excess acid in the stomach, which eats away the protective mucus lining, leading to a sore.”
In addition to eating away your stomach lining, stomach ulcers cause a lot of discomfort and pain which could reduce one’s quality of life .
To effectively treat ulcers, the professor says that one must know the factors that trigger the conditions in the first place.
Ege says unlike before when its causes were not really known, new researches now show that 20 per cent of all cases of ulcers are caused by bacteria , Helicobacter Pylori, which live s and grow s within the mucus layers that protect the tissues lining the stomach and the small intestines.
“ In most instances, these bacteria do not cause a problem, but sometimes they could disrupt the layer of the mucus leading to an inflammation. The inflammation in turn could cause the acids in the stomach to rise. It is only a specialist( gastroloenterlogist) that can diagnose these cases .It is important that you see a doctor first , then you can follow up on his/her advice,” he states.
If you’ve been swallowing pain reilef medications frequently, you may want to watch it. Abuse of analgesics could increase one’s risk of getting ulcer. Ege states that these over-the-counter medicines are taken frequently. They could inflame or irritate the lining of the small intestines and the stomach leading to sores.
“ If you don’t want to have ulcer, you need to be very careful with over-the-counter pain medicines. Remember: No drug is risk-free. It is very important to discuss the use of over-the-counter drugs with your doctor.” he adds.
Stress has been linked to aggravating the stomach lining. The professor notes that stress, which increases acidic levels in the stomach, could result in stomach ulcers.
He explains, “There are different health problems that occur because of stress, acidity being one of them. If steps are not taken to control the levels of stress in the body, the acidity could lead to stomach ulcers. “
The loss of a good night’s sleep could do more than make you yawn – it may trigger stomach ulcers.
Research published by scientists at Newcastle University, UK shows that good sleeping habits result in better production of a protein called TFF2, which repairs tissue damage in the stomach and keeps ulcers at bay.
It also confirms that eating late is bad for you because it suppresses the same protein. The lead researcher, Dr. Felicity May, said the study backs up the idea that stressful lifestyles are more likely to lead to ulcers.
“These findings show the implications for ulcers for those whose daily routine does not allow them to get a good night’s sleep. If you don’t get any sleep it would mean lower levels of the protein. This would suggest that those who get too little sleep and often eat late are more at risk of stomach ulcers.”
You have probably heard ulcer patients reject spicy or peppery food, diet could heighten or lessen your chances of hurting your stomach, says consultant gastroenterologist with the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Idi-Araba, Dr. Funmi Lesi.
To show the importance of diet, Lesi says a study carried out among 400 medical students who took coffee and kola nuts during their examinations showed that 26.3 per cent of them had symptoms that could lead to ulcers within one month while another study among 688 residents in Mushin, Lagos, revealed that 15.5 per cent of them had stomach pains after their meals at least once in a month.
The experts note that since all foods consumed by a person have an effect on the body, one way or the other, it is absolutely essential for all to ensure that they eat the right food to avoid stomach ulcer, especially if they are prone to the problem, suffer from acidity on a regular basis, or have a family history of ulcers.
They note that people who are undergoing treatment for this condition should follow diets which have a positive effect on the ir stomach lining by eating the right food forto speed up th ier recovery process.
Home made remedies for ulcer pain
If you have an ulcer, you need to avoid any foods or medicines that will make your condition worse. Following are some of the best natural remedies for healing and soothing stomach ulcers:
-One of the very best home remedies for ulcers is eating raw cabbage. Juicing the raw cabbage will make it easier to take and mixing it with carrots in the juicer will make it better tasting. Drink half a cup before each meal and at bed time and make sure that it is fresh. Your ulcer may be gone in only a few weeks.
-Eat at least three bananas a day. These fruits contain an antibacterial substance that inhibits the growth of ulcer-causing H. pylori. Studies show that animals fed bananas have a thicker stomach wall and greater mucus production in the stomach, which helps build a barrier between digestive acids and the lining of the stomach. Eating plantains is also helpful.
-Cayenne pepper is wonderful for healing ulcers as well as dulling the pain. It is a bit strong and may take some getting used to at the outset. Start with one-eighth teaspoon of cayenne pepper in a glass of water twice a day and work up to a quarter-teaspoon. You can also take cayenne capsules that you can get at the health food store. Take three a day immediately after meals.
-The bark of slippery elm soothes the mucous membranes that line the stomach and duodenum. It is often taken in powdered form. Some herbalists recommend taking a teaspoon of powdered slippery elm bark added to one cup of warm water three times a day.
-Colloidal silver helps kill the H. pylori bacteria and helps heal injured stomach tissues.
-Raw honey soothes and reduces inflammation of the lining of the stomach and is good for healing as well.
-Garlic’s antibacterial properties include fighting H. pylori. Take two small crushed cloves a day.