What is Peptic Ulcer ?

Ulcerations (sores) in the lining of upper part of the digestive tract are known as Peptic Ulcers. The ulcers may exist in the lower part of food pipe (oesophagus), in the stomach or in the initial part of the intestine (duodenum). About 10% of all adults are affected with Peptic ulcers at some time in their life. The incidence of Peptic ulcers is more common in males as compared to females.

Causes:

The underlying process that results in Peptic ulcer formation is excess of acid production in the stomach and damage to the protective barrier inside the stomach. Certain things that can trigger excess acid production or can cause damage to the protective lining of the stomach are:

  • Emotional stress

  • Foods (spices, pungent foods, etc)

  • Overuse of certain drugs, especially NSAIDs (Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs)

  • Infections (H-Pylori)

  • Hereditary

  • Smoking

Types of Peptic Ulcers:

Peptic ulcers usually run a chronic course and complaints tend to be episodic in nature; the patient is usually free from the symptoms in between these episodes. Some of the common symptoms of Peptic ulcers are:

  • Pain in the epigastrium (upper part of abdomen)

  • Hunger pain- worsening of pain when the stomach is empty

  • Night pain- wakes the patient from sleep

  • Heartburn

  • Water brash

  • Loss of appetite (anorexia)

  • Nausea

  • Haematemesis (vomiting of blood)

  • Dark or black stools

The pain is usually relieved by taking some food, milk, antacids, by belching or vomiting.

Diagnosis:

Diagnosis of Peptic ulcers is confirmed by:

  • Endoscopy to evaluate ulcers

  • Biopsy may be required

  • Barium meal (double contrast)

  • Stool examination

  • Complete blood count

Complications:

  • Hemorrhage

  • Perforation of ulcer

  • Gastric outlet obstruction (obstruction in terminal part of stomach)

Homeopathic treatment of Peptic Ulcers:

Peptic ulcer disease is a constitutional disease that finds its local expression at the level of the digestive system. Being a constitutional disorder, it calls for constitutional approach towards treatment. Homoeopathic approach towards the management of Peptic ulcer disease involves the evaluation of the complaint in details while taking into account individual factors such as one’s personal and family history while planning a long-term treatment. Since the treatment targets the root cause, Homeopathy offers long-term cure instead of temporary relief. It treats at a deeper level of immunity and enhances the healing capacity of the body. Homeopathy can also help to prevent complications of Peptic ulcers.

Self-Care at Home

Home care for peptic ulcers often centers on neutralizing the stomach acid.

  • Don't smoke, and avoid coffee and alcohol. These habits increase gastric acid production and weaken the mucosal barrier of the GI tract, thus promoting ulcer formation and slowing ulcer healing.

  • Don't take aspirin or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications.

No particular diet is helpful for people with peptic ulcers.

  • At one time, medical professionals recommended a bland diet and avoidance of spicy or greasy foods.

  • We now know that diet has little effect on ulcers. In some people, however, certain foods seem to aggravate symptoms.

  • A bland diet is no longer considered necessary as a blanket recommendation.

  • Avoid eating any foods that aggravate your symptoms.

Prevention

You can prevent peptic ulcers by avoiding things that break down the stomach's protective barrier and increase stomach acid secretion. These include alcohol, smoking, aspirin and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and caffeine.

Preventing infection with H pylori is a matter of avoiding contaminated food and water and adhering to strict standards of personal hygiene. Wash your hands carefully with warm water and soap every time you use the bathroom, change a diaper, and before and after preparing food.

Suggestion about homeopathic treatment:

Homeopathy is very strongly suggested for Peptic ulcer disease.

Things to avoid in case of Peptic ulcer disease:

  • Spicy foods, pungent things

  • Excess of alcohol

  • Oily foods

  • Heavy meals