I have a family member suffering from an ulcer. She is trying to control it with her diet and asked me for advice, so of course, I researched this painful, debilitating infection. Discovering much conflicting and contradictory information, I finally found some consistent information. Yes, an ulcer is an infection; however, there are 3 major types of ulcers; peptic, gastric and duodenal. All are basically born from an infection called Helicobacter Pylori or commonly referred to as H. Pylori.
Digestion is our bodies way of breaking down the food we eat while using nutrients from food, to sustain the function of our bodies organs. Gastric juices in the stomach break down proteins. Gastric juice mainly contains hydrochloric acid and pepsin, which if not kept in balance, can actually damage the lining of the stomach, which can lead to a gastric or peptic ulcer. Once food passes through the stomach, it enters duodenum, mixing with digestive enzymes from the pancreas and bile juice from the liver. If the enzymes and bile are not balanced, a duodenal ulcer can form.
Symptoms of Ulcers
Although stress can aggravate an ulcer, most are the result of dietary choices. Most peptic and gastric ulcers occur when the balance of acid your body naturally produces and the mucous defense barrier in the stomach are altered. Symptoms can be the following:
- Upper abdominal pain or just below the sternum – dull, aching pain
- Pain happens right after eating
- Episodes of nausea
- Heartburn or acid re flux
- Anemia – a difficulty digesting proteins, which contains iron
- Chest pain
Symptoms of duodenal ulcers are just slightly different:
- Pain is in the upper abdominal area but comes and goes
- Pain is particularly worse if hungry
- Bloating feeling after eating
Research has shown that one in twenty ulcers are the duodenal type. These are usually the result of over consuming
- diclofenac or other anti-inflammatory meds
Because ulcers are the result of the H-Pylori infection, a regiment of antibiotics combined with acid suppressing medicines are usually prescribed to rid the body of the infection and control the ulcer symptoms. Most sufferers need to be conscientious of their diet and educate themselves on what foods can trigger their ulcer.
Foods To Avoid
Ulcers can be aggravated by highly acidic or spicy foods. Some foods that you would otherwise think were very healthy, should be off the menu for ulcer victims…such as
Blueberries Lemons or any citrus Bacon Fried foods
Smoked or processed meats Black pepper Chili powder
Mustard Seeds Nutmeg Caffeine, coffee, tea, soda Chocolate [/jbox]
[jbox color=”green”]Bananas Apples Melon and mango
Skinless chicken (not fried) Salmon (not smoked or processed)
Brown rice Oatmeal Almonds Whole grains
Skim, low-fat milk Goat and soy cheese Fiber[/jbox]
Eating these good foods will not cure an ulcer but making a transition to a healthier diet will subside symptoms, as well as provide longer lasting health benefits.
An ulcer can become a much more serious health threat if it ruptures and begins to bleed; therefore, if you experience the described symptoms and suspect you may have an ulcer, seek medical attention from a licensed physician.
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