Stomach ulcers are painful sores that occur in the linings of the stomach. It happens when the thick layer of mucus protecting the stomach is reduced; this mucus protects the stomach from stomach acid and other digestive juices, when it is reduced, the ulcer develops when the digestive juices eat away at the lining of the stomach tissues. When these sores are present in both the stomach and small intestine, it is known as peptic ulcer.
Stomach ulcer can be cured when immediate treatment is carried out but when left untreated or not properly treated, it becomes severe and cause other complications like gastric obstruction, bleeding and perforation. Stomach ulcer is also known as gastric ulcer.
Causes of Stomach Ulcer
The bacterium Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) is the microbe that causes stomach ulcer and it is the main cause of this condition.
Other causes of stomach ulcer are long term use of antibiotics, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and other painkiller drugs. Unhealthy lifestyles like smoking, unhealthy foods, poor hygiene (not washing fruits and vegetables before use or hands), indiscriminate use of painkillers (especially aspirin and ibuprofen), alcohol abuse and chronic stress can cause this.
A medical condition called Zollinger-Ellison syndrome increases the production of acid in the body; this can lead to ulcers in the stomach and intestines, this condition is responsible for less than 1% of all cases of peptic ulcers.
To prevent or reduce your risk of stomach ulcer or to hasten healing; you need to avoid some foods and some of them are caffeine, sugar, and spicy foods. Spicy foods cause irritation to the ulcer; bacteria feeds on sugar and this will make the condition worse, avoid coffee and caffeinated drinks, they aggravate the symptoms of ulcers.
Signs and Symptoms of Stomach Ulcers
The severity of these signs depends on the severity of stomach ulcers; the most common and telltale sign of stomach ulcer is a burning sensation in the abdomen or pain in the middle of the abdomen, that is between the chest and the belly button.
The pain or burning sensation becomes severe when the stomach is empty. Indigestion is another common symptom of stomach acid. Other symptoms of stomach ulcers are:
- Feeling full easily
- A bloody vomit or vomit with a coffee like colour
- A dull pain in the stomach
- Dark and tarry stools
- Weight loss
- Symptoms of anemia like shortness of breath, pale skin and tiredness
- Pain that goes away after drinking, eating or taking a pill
- Nausea and vomiting
- Acid reflux or burping
Effective Home Remedies for Stomach Ulcers
There are lots of naturopathic remedies for stomach ulcers and they work by increasing the production of mucus and also by strengthening the lining of the stomach and also protect it from stomach acid and digestive juices. Below are effective natural cures for stomach ulcers.
Raw honey also has a strong antibacterial property; take 2 tablespoons of honey daily, in the morning and at night before going to bed. It eliminates harmful bacteria; it cleans the bowels, it treats and prevents stomach ulcers by strengthening the lining of the stomach.
Take a cup of aloe vera juice daily; you can also take a tablespoon of the fresh gel daily or add it to your smoothies and fruit shakes.
Dandelions are rich in powerful anti-inflammatory properties; this help to reduce the severity of ulcer symptoms, it hastens healing and relieve the body of pain.
This is a great remedy for stomach acid; it contains a rich amount of lactic acid which helps in producing an amino acid that boosts the flow of blood to the stomach lining. This strengthens it and heals the ulcer.
Cabbage contains a rich amount of vitamin C which helps in treating infections caused by microbes. Cut a medium sized cabbage into two, chop it and blend it. You can also chop two carrots and blend them too because they are high in vitamin C.
Extract the juice using a sieve; take a cup of this juice before each meal and when going to bed. Repeat daily till you recover and always make sure you take in fresh juice each time.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Add a tablespoon of organic and unfiltered ACV to a glass of water; mix it very well and drink it. Do this twice daily; you can add honey for taste.
The powerful antimicrobial properties of garlic kill the bacterium responsible for ulcers and it hastens healing. Take few cloves of garlic daily, you can either swallow them or crush them and extract the juice and take a teaspoon of this juice regularly. Do this daily till you notice improvement; it will also relieve inflammation.
Wood Apple Leaves
These leaves also called bael are used in the traditional treatment of stomach ulcers; they contain tannins, these compounds protect the stomach from damages caused by stomach acids. The fruit juice of wood apple is also taken to reduce pain and inflammation. They also contain mucilage which protects the stomach and its lining.
Soak three leaves in a cup of water overnight; it will be very effective if it is soaked in a copper vessel, strain it in the morning and drink it on an empty stomach. Do this daily until you recover.
Eat not less than three large bananas daily; you can also make banana shakes. If you can take unripe banana, you can use the powder or make yours.
To make the powder, slice unripe bananas into pieces and dry them in the sun; when they are well dried, grind them into fine powder. Unripe plantain is also very effective. Mix two tablespoons of honey and two tablespoons of either plantain or banana powder or both (a table spoon each); take this three times daily.
The leaves of drumstick have strong therapeutic and anti-inflammatory properties; they are used in the treatment of peptic ulcer (sores in the stomach and intestines), it hastens healing, prevents further damage and manages symptoms.
Get a good quantity of drumstick leaves; crush them till they form a thick paste, add plain yogurt to it and consume it. You can add a little water to make the paste thick; do this once daily.
Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), a polyphenol found in Green tea and its active compound has a strong anti-ulcer activity; it increasing the healing of ulcers, it relieves it symptoms and relaxes the muscles of the digestive tract. Three times every day drink green tea; it will relax your body and relieve symptoms.
This is a powerful remedy for stomach ulcer; the inner back of the stem is rich in mucilage and this helps in protecting the lining of the stomach. It also removes excess fats from the gastrointestinal tracts; it relieves pain and inflammation and soothes the stomach.
Dry the inner bark of slippery elm and grind it into fine powder; add a teaspoon of slippery elm powder to a glass of warm water and drink. Take this mixture three times daily for one week.
This vitamin treats stomach ulcers and relieves its symptoms; it helps to repair the linings of the stomach and intestine. It protects the cells and increases the production of glutathione and prostaglandins which helps in protecting the lining of the stomach and intestines.
Take foods rich in vitamin E like seeds and nuts, avocado, turnips, kale, spinach and dark green vegetables; and you can meet a doctor to prescribe a good supplement for you.
Take it according to prescription; vitamin E oil is also available.
This is a surprising and effective home remedy for ulcer because it is a little bit hot and spicy yet it treats stomach ulcers. Its active compound capsaicin inhibits the production of stomach acid; it increases the production of alkali, it increases the flow of blood to the stomach and increases the production of mucus.
Add half teaspoon of cayenne pepper to a glass of water; take this solution two times daily, you can increase it gradually as you get used to it. You can also add lots of cayenne pepper to your meals.
They prevent gastritis (inflammation of the stomach) caused by stomach ulcers; they reduce irritation, pains and inflammation. Take onions daily to get relief and hasten healing. You can blend few onions daily and sieve to extract the juice; sip this regularly in little quantity throughout the day; you can also eat them raw and add them to your meals.
When the level of probiotics or healthy bacteria is reduced; it puts one at risk of stomach ulcers because these bacteria fights harmful bacteria like H. pylori and expel them from the body.
They also aid healthy digestion and foods and prevent digestive disorders; fermented foods are rich sources of probiotics and this includes yogurt, buttermilk, kefir and other fermented grains, fruits and vegetables.
Probiotics are also available in the form of supplements; also remember to increase your intake of fiber-rich foods because fiber serves as food for these beneficial bacteria.
This helps to calm the pains caused by stomach ulcers; it also fights inflammation and irritation, take two tablespoons of castor oil if you can stand the strong scent but if you can’t, mix it very well with a cup of any fruit juice of your choice. Don’t add sugar; mix it very well and take it immediately so that the oil won’t settle at the bottom.
The strong antibacterial properties of coconut help people treat stomach ulcers because it kills the bacterium H. pylori; coconut milk and water has anti-ulcer properties and they heal wounds fast.
Take two tablespoon of coconut oil twice a day; drink a cup of coconut milk or coconut water daily, you can also eat coconut tender kernel. This will help greatly.
Avoid excess milk because it increases the levels of calcium in the body and excess calcium increases the concentration of stomach acid and this will definitely worsen the condition.
Take milk, especially whole milk in moderation; the proteins present in the milk will sooth the stomach.
Cranberries are rich in antibacterial properties; they kill a wide range of bacteria and prevent them from settling in the body, that is why they are one of the most common natural treatments for urinary tract infection.
They are effective against H. pylori; take fresh cranberry juice daily, you can also take the extract or eat lots of cranberries if you are advantaged to have them.
Take a cup of ginger tea three times daily; you can also chew on fresh ginger roots daily. Ginger is a sweet spice that can be added to foods and drinks; so add lots of ginger to your meals. You can take few drops of ginger essential oil daily.
To relieve abdominal pain; you can make ginger compress by adding few drops of ginger essential oil to a bowl of hot water, put a clean cloth in this and squeeze it very lightly, apply this clothe to your stomach till it gets warm, do it repeatedly till you gain relief.
Licorice boosts the production of mucus thus treating and preventing stomach ulcers; this mucus forms a protective layer over the linings of the stomach, this speeds up healing and relieve pain.
Drink licorice tea three times daily for one week; you can take the tablets but make sure it is DGL tablets, that is Deglycyrrhizinated licorice, you can get this in health stores and take it according to prescription.
This is a sap of a tree and it has a powerful effect against H. pylori; mastic gums are usually chewed by those suffering from stomach ulcer, it helps fight the infection and get rid of the bacteria.
This is an effective traditional treatment for stomach ulcers and it doesn’t give side effects; it is available in the forms of gums and supplements.
Fenugreek seeds and leaves are rich in mucilaginous compounds; they increase the production of mucus to protect the lining of the stomach, they coat it with mucus and hasten healing.
Boil a cup of fenugreek leaves and eat it twice daily; you can add honey for taste. You can also boil fenugreek seeds and take or you drink fenugreek tea by boiling a teaspoon of fenugreek seeds in a cup of water; strain it, add honey and take it twice daily.
The active compound of this herb, Curcumin, has strong medicinal properties and treating stomach ulcers is one of them; it increases the flow of blood to the stomach and reduces inflammation, it reduces the damages caused by the bacterium and increases the production of mucus. Take turmeric tea daily; you can also chew on fresh roots of turmeric and add it generously to your meals.
Plumps are rich in polyphenols; these compounds protect the stomach and hasten healing, plum manages the symptoms of ulcers and reduces its severity. Eat three plumps daily; wash them thoroughly under running water before eating them.
Healthy Lifestyles to Adopt to Overcome Stomach Ulcers
These natural remedies are very effective and many people can swear by them but they won’t work for you if you live an unhealthy lifestyle; some risky behaviours and unhealthy living raise the risk of ulcer, it worsens the condition and makes healing slow or impossible.
There is a relationship between smoking and stomach ulcer; it raises the risk of ulcer by 50%, it increases the secretion and concentration of stomach acid, it stops the secretion of base (sodium bicarbonate) and prostaglandins which protects the lining of the stomach.
It decreases the flow of blood to the stomach and other boy organs and parts; it slows down healing and throws the body out of balance. Even exposure to second hand smoke is dangerous and can cause this. If you want to heal your ulcer and you are a smoker; quitting will be your first and very important step to health and recovery.
Reduce your dependence on painkiller medications
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen and aspirin inhibit the secretion of prostaglandins; this increases the risk of ulcer because these chemicals prostaglandins protect the lining of the stomach. They also alter the production stomach acids and digestive enzymes.
Use natural pain killers and only take these drugs in serious conditions like accident or surgery and it must be prescribed by a doctor. Ginger, chamomile, holy basil, and cinnamon are few herbs with pain relieving and sedative properties.
Increase your intake of fiber
Ulcer patients should eat high fiber foods; this will help food digest well, it will also increase the population of healthy bacteria in the gut because these bacteria feed on fiber.
Avoid processed foods and refined carbohydrates; they have been stripped of fiber and other vital nutrients; that is why they are called “empty-calorie” or “junk” foods. Fill your plate with healthy foods. Rich sources of fiber are cabbage, broccoli, spinach, whole grains, fruits, and brussel sprouts.
Stress plays a role in the formation of stomach ulcer because there is a strong connection between the brain and the gut and this aids healthy digestion; during chronic stress, the body feels it is under threat, the affects the body all round and the digestive system is not left out.
Normal digestion is changed and affected; this is why digestive disorders are common in people who undergo chronic stress, who also have depression and anxiety. Manage stress effectively; use natural stress relievers and spend more time nature.
Practice good hygiene
Healthy hygiene like regular washing of hands especially after using the toilet and before eating and also wash fruits and vegetables very well under running water reduces the risk of one becoming infected with H. pylori, the bacterium responsible for ulcer.
Eat a healthy and balanced diet
Healthy and balanced meals should be your main meals and not junks or processed foods or fast foods; healthy foods and balanced diet will increase your levels of fiber, probiotics and other vital nutrients that will protect the stomach lining and fortify the immune system against any type of infection. Also include lots of herbs, fruits and vegetables in your meals regularly.
Boosts your immune system
A healthy immune system defends the body from foreign invaders, sicknesses and infections; when you are down with gastric ulcer or peptic ulcers, it simply means your immune system has been compromised and boosting it is a very important step you have to take.
Avoid inflammation and things that causes it because this is a main cause of a weak or suppressed immune system. It weakens the digestive system and puts it at risk of H. pylori infection.
Smoking, excess alcohol, poor and unhealthy diet, processed and fast foods, exposure to toxins and an inactive lifestyle triggers inflammation, this weakens the immune system and makes the body susceptible to ulcer formation. There are effective natural ways to boost your immune system.
Drink water regularly to maintain the fluid balance in your body; this boosts your immune system and expel microbes and toxins from the body. Dehydration worsens the symptoms of ulcer and increases the rate of nausea and vomiting.