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July 15, 2021 5 min read

In this article:

  • Causes of stomach ulcers
  • Diagnosing stomach ulcers
  • Conventional stomach ulcer treatments
  • 10 home remedies for managing stomach ulcers

Causes of Stomach Ulcers

Stomach ulcers, also known as peptic ulcers, are more common than you'd think. There are three main types of stomach or gastrointestinal ulcers, affecting about 2.4–6.1% of the world's population. Peptic ulcers are open sores on the lining of the stomach or the first part of the small intestine, called the duodenum. Duodenal ulcers occur specifically in the duodenum, while gastric ulcers occur in the stomach.  Peptic ulcer disease can be a recurring problem for some people, but can usually be managed with over-the-counter medications and a handful of natural home remedies.

Three Main Types of Stomach Ulcers

There are two main causes of peptic ulcers: 

  • H. Pylori Infection: One of the most common causes is an H. pylori infection. Helicobacter pylori or H. pylori bacteria are typically harmless and exist within the digestive system starting as young children. Although the growth of H. pylori is natural, overgrowth and a breakdown in the gut's mucous lining can cause irritation and ulcers to form. As we'll see, controlling this bacteria can be done with conventional and/or home remedies. However, if left untreated, this can potentially increase the risk of gastritis and over time lead to stomach cancer.
  • NSAIDs: Another common culprit of stomach ulcers is NSAIDs. Long-term consistent use of non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen or aspirin, decreases digestive enzymes within the gut and slows the production of chemicals that protect the stomach lining from stomach acid.

Many people also believe spicy foods and stress can cause ulcers as well. However, they often increase stomach acid production, thus making the symptoms of preexisting ulcers worse rather than causing new ones to form.

Diagnosing Stomach Ulcers

So how do you know if you ate something funny or if you're facing stomach ulcers? It can be difficult to tell without the help of a healthcare professional. For some people, stomach ulcers go unnoticed and have mild or no symptoms. For others, stomach ulcer symptoms can include:

  • Burning stomach pain or abdominal pain
  • Feeling of fullness and bloating
  • Belching and feeling gassy
  • Intolerance to fatty foods
  • Heartburn and acid reflux
  • Nausea
  • Bleeding when vomiting 
  • Darker stools
  • Loss of appetite and weight loss

Burning Stomach Pain

Burning ulcer pain is the most recognizable and identifiable symptom of stomach ulcers. If you suspect you have a stomach ulcer, your doctor may perform an endoscopy to view the inside of the digestive tract, from the esophagus to your stomach and small intestine. Other methods of diagnosing stomach ulcers include testing the blood for H. pylori bacteria, breath tests, and/or stool tests

Conventional Stomach Ulcer Treatments

Your doctor will likely suggest the use of the following treatments for ulcer healing and prevention:

  • Stopping the use of NSAIDs, alcohol, and cigarettes.
  • Using antacids and acid-reducing medications as a temporary way to reduce ulcer pain. 
  • Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), histamine blockers, H2-receptor antagonists like Ranitidine or the protectant sucralfate (Carafate) can also be prescribed to coat the stomach lining and protect ulcers from being further damaged by stomach acids.
  • Antibiotics may be prescribed to manage or inhibit the growth of H. pylori.

NSAIDs Affect the Stomach Lining

10 Home Remedies for Managing Stomach Ulcers

Most of the treatments above are short-lived and come with their own set of side effects. Luckily, there are items you probably already have in your kitchen or can easily grab at the grocery store to prevent and manage stubborn stomach ulcers.

  • Turmeric: Turmeric and its powerful anti-inflammatory compound curcumin are also becoming a popular at-home method of preventing stomach ulcers. Turmeric has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that may be able to ease the gut and ward off stomach ulcers.
  • Ginger: Ginger has long been used as a natural method of relieving gastrointestinal pain and bloating, and it may be able to help tackle stomach ulcers as well. A 2013 review suggests ginger may help with gastric ulcers caused by H. pylori bacteria and help to prevent ulcers caused by NSAIDs. Ginger can be eaten raw in smoothies and other dishes or it can be dehydrated and consumed via capsules.
  • Deglycyrrhizinated Licorice: A supplemental form of licorice called deglycyrrhizinated licorice (DGL) may be able to reduce the risk of stomach ulcers by preventing overgrowth of H. pylori and encouraging the gut to produce more mucin to strengthen the inner lining. 
Garlic for Digestive Health
  • Garlic: You're in luck - you now have more reason to add even more garlic to your meals! Due to its antibacterial and antimicrobial properties, garlic may be able to speed up ulcer healing and prevent ulcers altogether by inhibiting H. pylori growth.
  • Mastic: Mastic is a resin from the mastic tree grown in the Mediterranean. It can be chewed like gum and has a light pine flavor. Studies have found chewing and consuming mastic gum three times a day for 14 days decreased H. pylori infections 7–15% more effectively than the conventional treatment. Another 2-week study found 70% of participants who consumed mastic were relieved of their symptoms.
  • Collagen: Collagen is a main component in the gut lining. It is responsible for keeping the gut lining firm, strong, and solid to reduce intestinal permeability (leaky gut syndrome) and potentially reduce the risk of getting stomach ulcers. Gut health is just one of the many health benefits of collagen. Since our collagen levels decline with age and collagen cannot be found in most foods and vegetables, it's recommended that you take a high-quality collagen supplement each day to boost your gut health. Get the scoop on how collagen can help manage stomach ulcers here!
  • Cabbage juice: Get your blenders ready - fresh cabbage juice is one of the oldest and most effective home remedies for stomach ulcers! Cabbage is rich in vitamin C, an antioxidant that may help prevent H. pylori infections. Some studies have even found that consuming fresh cabbage juice daily heals ulcers more effectively than conventional treatments!
  • Honey: Honey, another anti-inflammatory, antioxidant-rich food may also help to speed up ulcer healing and prevent ulcers from forming by reducing levels of H. pylori bacteria.
  • Aloe vera: Preliminary animal studies have suggested consuming aloe vera has ulcer-healing effects comparable to anti-ulcer medication and may reduce stomach acid to decrease pain and irritation.
  • Probiotics and probiotic rich foods: Adding more bacteria to your gut may help to manage and prevent stomach ulcers! Probiotics, healthy gut bacteria, help to balance your gut microbiota, produce more mucin, and encourage the formation of more blood vessels to assist in ulcer healing. Probiotic supplements can be added to your daily routine without skipping a beat! Or, if you like the idea of adding more variety to your diet, you can consume more probiotic rich foods such as yogurt, kimchi, kefir, kombucha, natto (fermented soybeans), and sauerkraut.

Gut health is no joke! Every day, scientists are learning more about how choosing the right foods and supplements can benefit your body and brain. For advice on how to prioritize the health of your gut, check out the Amandean blog! From managing IBS to workouts you can do to strengthen the gut, you can learn it all from the experts at Amandean.

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Summary Points:

  • There are three main types of stomach or gastrointestinal ulcers, affecting about 2.4–6.1% of the world's population
  • Burning ulcer pain is the most recognizable and identifiable symptom of stomach ulcers
  • Turmeric has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that may be able to ease the gut and ward off stomach ulcers
  • Due to its antibacterial and antimicrobial properties, garlic may be able to speed up ulcer healing and prevent ulcers altogether by inhibiting H. pylori growth
  • Collagen is responsible for keeping the gut lining firm, strong, and solid to reduce intestinal permeability (leaky gut syndrome) and potentially reduce the risk of getting stomach ulcers

References:

  1. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/stomach-ulcer-remedies#TOC_TITLE_HDR_2
  2. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/322740#home-remedies
  3. https://draxe.com/health/stomach-ulcer/
  4. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/peptic-ulcer/symptoms-causes/syc-20354223



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