A stomach or peptic ulcer is a lesion or sore in the digestive tract that causes sharp pain in the upper portion of the stomach. The acid that is produced by the stomach can in some cases burn a hole right through the stomach, and portions of the small intestine. The pain a patient feels with an ulcer is due, in large part, to the acid of the stomach coming into contact with the ulcer itself.
Traditional medical treatment has undergone many changes in recent years. Doctors are thinking about treatment for ulcers in a new light. Years ago typical treatment for an ulcer was a bland diet and milk consumption. We now know much more about the digestive tract, and ulcers in general, leading to more effective treatments.
While antacids containing magnesium and aluminum (such as Maalox) can be helpful they are often not strong enough to provide real relief. Don't despair. Treatments for ulcerative conditions have come along way with the development of products such as Tagament, Zantac and Pepcid. These drugs work by dramatically lowering the amount of acid in the stomach.
Although these drugs are very effective in treating ulcers they are not a cure. H2 blocking drugs lower the amount of stomach acid in the stomach only while a patient continues to take them. Many times a patient will feel better and decide they don't need medication anymore and the ulcers return. Because of the ineffectiveness of H2 blocking drugs doctors began to search for another cause of ulcers.
New studies suggest that ulcers are actually caused from a bacteria, and not stress or other underlying factors as was originally believed. Essentially the ulcer is a symptom of an infection with the bacteria known as Helicobacter pylori. Because of the new studies doctors may begin to treat with a antibiotic as well as an H2 blocking drug like the ones described above. Treating the ulcerative condition, as well as, the bacterial infection will heal the ulcer and prevent a future infection.
Treatment to get rid of Helicobacter pylori can take between 2-3 weeks. Your doctor may recommend that you continue treatment for up to 8 weeks to allow the ulcer(s) to fully heal. During this time you should take all medications prescribed to you. If you are prone to ulcers then you will want to limit your intake of anti-inflammatory drugs that can cause ulcers. Anti-inflammatory drugs include, aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen, ketoprofen, and drugs prescribed for arthritis.
There are many home remedies that can be a relief to a patient suffering from ulcers. Eating a banana can drastically lower the amount of acid in the stomach, while drinking a glass of milk can relieve the burning sensation a patient may feel.
The use of probiotics in your daily diet may aid in the treatment of ulcers. Probiotics are helpful in the treatment of many digestive disorders. Probiotics, such as Lactobacillus, help stimulate the production of Lactic acid in your body which will inhibit the growth of bad bacteria. Not only can you improve your digestive health by consuming products rich in probiotics, but you can also stimulate a healthy immune system.
Remember that an effective treatment relies on your ability to communicate with your doctor. Make sure that you notify him/her of any side effects of treatment. Provide your doctor with a complete list of all medications that you currently take even if they are over the counter drugs. Discuss any fears or concerns that you may have, and be sure to discuss any home remedies that you choose to use.