Ulcer treatment: Traditional Remedies and Medications
Ulcer also known as peptic ulcer disease (PUD) is a crater-like sore (with the diameter 1/4 x 3/4, and sometimes 1/3 x 2/3) formed in the stomach. It is one of the most common diseases of the gastrointestinal tract. The ulcer if formed in the duodenum (duodenal ulcers) or in the esophagus which is less common (esophageal ulcers). Duodenum ulcers are four times as many than ulcers in the stomach itself. Approximately 4% of stomach ulcers are formed as malignant tumor and thus, the thorough examination with the multiple biopsies are required to exclude cancer. As for duodenal ulcer, they form as benign tumors.
In general, stomach is the bag where the food is digested with the help of stomach "juices", namely pepsin and hydrochloric acid. When there is the damage in the stomach lining, these juices "digest" the lining either, thus making it damaged further. An ulcer is the sore formed under defensive and aggressive factors. The aggressive effect of too acidic "juice" and pepsin cause ulcer. The lining damaged before by any other reason is further damaged being too much susceptible even to ordinary gastric acid. It is natural when the stomach defenses by creating the coating inside to prevent acid and pepsin damage. Here, the bicarbonate is produced and the blood is circulated to the stomach to assist in recovery of cells. In case of any impairment the ulcer is formed. Peptic ulcer disease is also caused by Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) bacterium, a spiral-shaped bacterium. H. pylori is known for the feature to twist through mucous and attach to cells on the stomach to produces urease, ammonia-generating enzyme.
Other factors of ulcer formation is use of NSAIDs, that is non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, lifestyle humans lead and incapacbility of the stomach to defend itself against adverse factors and acid. NSAIDs include such drugs as ibuprofen, aspirin, or piroxicam that prevent production from mucus and bicorbanate to neutralize acid and pepsin in the stomach. Smoking, consuming too much alcohol and stresses can also commit to cause peptic ulcer disease.
Symptoms of an ulcer
In some cases an ulcer shows no symptoms to get examined which is too risky for human health. However, most common symptoms of an ulcer are as follow:
- A heartburn in the stomach just after the meal or, in contrast, at night when the stomach is empty;
- Weakness (which is a symptom of a bleeding ulcer);
- Nausea and vomiting;
- Loss of appetite and weight;
- Another symptom of a bleeding ulcer is blood in stool or vomit.
Diagnosis of Ulcer
When suspicious to have an ulcer, you’d better seek for the professional medical aid as endoscopic and x-ray examinations. You may want to have the stomach tasted for H. pylori as an option. Endoscopic examination allows evaluating the way the food passes through esophagus, stomach and duodenum from within. This method is good to closely look at the ulcer, the affected area, size and growth of formation. When ulcer is suspected, the doctor performs x-rays of the esophagus, stomach and duodenum. Gastroscopy is done with a special light-conducting device to see the ulcer and obtain tissue samples for microscopic examination to exclude cancer. H. pylori bacterium can be detected through blood or tissue test. The blood test uses a blood sample to identify and measure H. pylori antibodies.
When the person suspects and then confirms the presence of ulcer but leaves it on its own without proper treatment, this result in ulcer bleeding in the end. The ulcer penetrates into blood vessel with blood leaking into the digestive tract, called ulcer bleeding. A perforated ulcer is when the ulcer eats the stomach wall making the hole for the part of digested food and bacteria go out inflaming the environment. Otherwise, the intestinal opening gets narrowed or blocked which makes difficult for the food to leave the stomach and enter into the small intestine.
Ulcer treatment involves antibiotics to kill H, pylori bacterium, and to reduce acid secretion to encourage healing. If your peptic ulcer disease is caused by other than H.pylori bacterium you will not take antibacterial therapy but only acid-reducing medications. Acid production reducing medication. Usually doctors prescribe mucosal protective agents, H2-blockers and proton-pump inhibitors. H2-blockers as cimetidine (Tagamet), ranitidine (Zantac), and nizatidine (Axid) help to reduce acid amount in the stomach. A dose administered once a day at nigh is able to heal the duodenal ulcer in a month only, while gastric ulcer is healed in two months approximately.
Therapeutic drugs to block acid production and promote healing. Proton-pump inhibitors change the way the acid is produced in the stomach. Omeprazole (Prilosec) is one of the powerful drugs to suppress acid production as compared with H2-blockers reducing the healing period for duodenal ulcer. It has the capacity to inhibit to 95% of the acid production and thus, this drug is prescribed to those who stop responding to conventional H2-blockers, and those who have Zollinger-Ellison syndrome. Proton-pump inhibitors include esomeprazole (Nexium) and pantoprazole (Protonix).
Medications to protect stomach and small intestine. Such prescription medications as misoprostol and sucralfate (Carafate) and non-prescription medications as antacids and bismuth subsalicylate (Pepto-Bismol) protect the stomach walls.
Antibiotical therapy. Ulcer treatment caused by H. pylori can be treated by a short course of combined antibiotic therapy. Whereas antibiotic is not prescribed in case of H. pylori ulcer treatment, 75% chance is that ulcer will reoccur. When antibacterial therapy is prescribed, the percentage of reoccurrence is reduced from 75 to 1 percent. Two types of combined therapies are dual therapy and triple therapy. Triple therapy involves Metronidazole, Tetracycline, Pepto-Bismol taken for two weeks. Triple therapy is 90 percent effective to destroy H. pylori bacterium. Dual therapy involves Amoxicillin two to four times a day, or clarithromycin (Biaxin) three times a day, or tetracycline two times a day. The therapeutic regimen is two weeks. Dual therapy is 80 percent effective to destroy H. pylori bacteria.
In case when the treatment is ineffective, the surgery may be required.
Surgery. Vagotomy and antrectomy are types of surgical ulcer treatment. The vagus nerve is cut during vagotomy that transmits messages to the brain to reduce acid secretion. During antrectomy lower part of the stomach is removed to stop producing a hormone stimulating digestive juices secretion. This incision helps the digested food go into the small intestine.
You may heal better and quicker if you have your lifestyle organized.
- Avoid smoking;
- Control stresses;
- Avoid alcohol;
- Choose a healthy diet.
Diet. Keeping diet is one of the most favorable tools to ulcer healing. It is one of the basic methods of peptic ulcer treatment. Good effect is achieved when dieting complies to all mechanical, thermal and chemical standards to follow with peptic ulcer. During the period of ulcer attack the strict diet should be recommended. Bulky food (roasted meal), vegetables and fruit full of rough vegetable fiber (cucumber, cabbage, jamberry, date; food reach in connective tissue as stringy meat, jacket of poultry and fish, bacon; hot and cold food, pickled food, smoked food, marinaded food, beverages, coffee, cocoa, mustard, onion, horse radish, pepper, vinegar.
You may want to refer to some traditional remedies to heal:
Traditional remedies include the following among many others:
- Extract the sap of 2 kg fresh cabbage; add the celery juice in 3:1 proportion for taste which has the ulcer healing effect. As alternative, you may add some spoonful of tomato, pineapple or lemon juice. Keep the mixture in the cool place and take 250 ml of the extract in the morning in the fasting condition. The treatment course is 3 weeks.
- A table spoonful of psyllium seeds is brewed in 1/2 glass of hot water and left for 30 minutes. Take a spoonful of the drink 30 minutes to meal three times a day.
- Bring to boil 1 kg of butter in the enamelware, cool it, add 150g fine cut propolis and mix well. Take one teaspoon 1-1.5 hours before meal. Treatment course is 3 to 4 weeks.
- Dilute the onion juice with water and drink the mixture 30 minutes before meal.
- Flax seed is a good painkiller having coating effect. Brew 2 tablespoon of seeds in 0.5L of water. Take 1/2 glass of tea 3 to 4 times a day before meal.