We have heard that majority of Peptic ulcers are caused by bacteria called Helicobacterium pylori or H.pylori in short. We have also learnt that if not for these bacteria, prolonged use of NSAID drugs can also cause peptic ulcer. Is it possible that there are unknown reasons causing peptic ulcer? If yes how to treat and manage such peptic ulcers?
Symptoms and Diagnosis of Ulcer
A fire-like pain that rages near the upper abdomen, a nauseated feeling, a feeling of wanting to vomit, heartburn and a general feeling of discomfort are all symptoms of ulcer. An endoscopy would confirm the presence of peptic ulcer.
Treatment of Ulcer
Usually the cause of the ulcer is found out before treatment could start. When the endoscopy is done, if the presence of ulcer is confirmed, the gastroenterologist performing the endoscopy would remove few tissues from the spot where the ulceration is, and send it for biopsy. The biopsy report would confirm if there is H.pylori present.
Ulcer not due to bacteria or NSAID drugs
If the biopsy report confirms the non-presence of H.pylori, the gastroenterologist would ask you if you are on any prolonged drug regimen. If your answer is no, then it can be safely assumed that your peptic ulcer is due to lifestyle changes. Remember Ulcer is the penalty we pay for our lifestyle changes.
Managing Ulcer Caused by Lifestyle Changes
- The gastroenterologist would give you a drug to suppress the acid in your stomach. This suppressing of acid in the stomach is required for the ulcer wounds inside your stomach to heal.
- Figuring out what to eat and what not to is the next step. People with ulcer not due to H.pylori or NSAID drugs have to deal with this reality. They need to try every food and check which food is causing symptoms of ulcer. If any particular food is aggravating your ulcer, avoid the specific food for life.
- As a general rule, avoid junk foods and high-fat meals. Eat healthy meals in smaller portions to keep your stomach acid active on the portion you consume.
- Avoid food that can cause hyperacidity. Some food you eat are very acidic in nature. It is better not to eat more of such foods.
- Never go empty-stomach. If there is no food in the stomach, the ulcer is bathed in the stomach acid all the time and hence the ulcer present is aggravated.
- Work on your stress levels. Though there is less evidence that stress can cause ulcer, it can definitely aggravate ulcer. Because stress can cause binge-eating. The worst can happen if you eat the food that would aggravate the ulcer. Stress can slow down your recovery also. Hence it is better to keep yourself stress-free.
Dr Maran is an experienced Surgeon in the field of Gastro-enterology. He specializes in Advanced laparoscopic Surgery procedures of the gastro-intestinal (GI) tracts. Dr. Maran is also a leading Bariatric Surgeon in Chennai and has a penchant for addressing problems concerning Obesity.