Peptic Ulcer Treatment, Lifestyle Changes and Prevention

Hello Doctor, I am a 45 year old working woman and have been suffering from pain and burning in stomach since few weeks. I work till late night and the pain is more when I am hungry. Sometimes the food I eat comes up with burning in throat. My doctor says this could be because of peptic ulcer. I would like to know about peptic ulcer, its treatment and also if any lifestyle changes that can help. Please let me know if this can be prevented so that it does not trouble in future.
  • Posted By:
  • 'Irine' on
  • 10/17/2014
  • 3641
  • 1 Answer

Answered By:

  • Team ePainAssist
  • Team ePainAssist

Hello Irine, it is important for you to first get a confirmed diagnosis of your condition to be sure that you are suffering from Peptic Ulcer. But here is the information that you are looking for with regards to the treatment, lifestyle management and prevention of Peptic Ulcer.

Peptic Ulcers

What Are Peptic Ulcers?

Peptic ulcers are sore areas or patches on the inner lining of your digestive tract. These can be present in the throat (esophagus), stomach or intestines (duodenum). Normally, the inner lining is well protected and a balance of the digestive juices and acid is maintained. However, sometimes certain factors disturb this balance and affect the protective mechanism resulting in sore patches or ulcers on the inner lining.

This often results in pain in the area of ulcers or upper abdominal pain. There can be bloating, feeling of fullness or discomfort in the abdomen. This is usually associated with nausea and sometimes regurgitation of food or vomiting. The abdominal pain is usually related to hunger and can be felt more when you are hungry and it worsens at night. The pain can be relieved by eating but sometimes returns within few hours of eating. Occasionally there is bleeding from ulcers and passage of black stools.

What Causes Peptic Ulcers?

Most commonly, peptic ulcers result from a bacterial infection caused by Helicobacter Pylori (H.pylori) bacteria. Additionally, there are some factors that can make you more prone to peptic ulcers. If you are taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like painkillers as a treatment for other painful conditions regularly, the risk of ulcers is more as these medicines can cause damage to the inner lining. Other factors include regular consumption of alcohol, tobacco or smoking. While factors like increased stress and eating spicy foods are not well-established, prolonged exposure can contribute to worsening of existing complaints.

How Are Peptic Ulcers Treated?

A proper diagnosis is made after considering your complaints and investigations. A series of X-ray or barium meal study may be ordered. An endoscopic examination may be performed to visualize the inner lining of the digestive tract. Laboratory investigations to detect blood loss, anemia and occult blood in stool may be done.

Medical management for peptic ulcer includes,

  • Antibiotics to kill the bacteria. 
  • Antacids like omeprazole or pantoprazole to reduce the acid level in the stomach.
  • Other medicines like sucralfate to protect the inner lining of the stomach.

In case of bleeding peptic ulcers, medicines may be directly injected into the ulcer during upper endoscopy. Surgery may be required in few cases with complication where the ulcer has caused perforation.

Lifestyle Management For Peptic Ulcers

Managing peptic ulcers with lifestyle modifications need you to follow a routine that includes a healthy balanced diet, some form of physical activity or exercise and stress management.

  • Diet - Limit your intake of stimulating drinks like tea, coffee, caffeinated colas or acidic fruit juices. Reduce the amount of spices in your food and avoid fried, fatty or heavy meals as these can increase stomach discomfort. Taking bland or light foods can help in healing of the ulcer. Take smaller frequent meals to avoid keeping your stomach empty for long. Include foods like low fat milk and milk products, fish, eggs, whole grain cereals, fruits and vegetables. 
  • Habits- Some studies have shown an association of alcohol and tobacco with increased risk of peptic ulcer. These are best avoided completely, especially when you are already suffering from peptic ulcer. Also, if these are consumed when taking NSAIDs, they can cause more harm. 
  • Routine – Try to maintain a healthy routine with adequate amount of sleep. Avoid eating late before bedtime. Have your dinner in time and prefer sitting and walking for sometime after dinner as it can help in digestion. If you need to rest, a reclining position can help to avoid regurgitation of food. Drink water in between meals and carry snacks or fruits when going outside. 
  • Exercise – Plan an exercise routine like walking, cycling, aerobics, yoga or swimming. It aids digestion and helps in proper bowel movements. 
  • Stress Management – While the exact link between stress and peptic ulcers is unclear, managing stress can help you in many ways. You can practice meditation, breathing exercises or other relaxation techniques and also spare time to indulge yourself in leisure activities that you enjoy doing. Meet your friends and speak out about your emotions to your loved ones.

Prevention of Peptic Ulcer

As certain medicines like NSAIDs are known to increase your risk of peptic ulcers, keep them to the minimum and use them only when necessary. Avoid taking such medicines on empty stomach and restrict smoking, intake of alcohol and other stimulants as these can add to your digestive problems.

While the exact mechanism of spread of H. pylori infection is not clear, it is worth considering other factors that help in preventing infections. Appling hygienic measures, washing hands with soap water, keeping food covered, washing fruits and vegetables and consuming fresh food can help in keeping your digestive tract healthy.

Make sure you take plenty of water, fluids and consume nutritious food. Take measures to prevent constipation and clear your bowels daily. Make exercise a part of your daily schedule.

For more detailed on information about Peptic Ulcer click the following link

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