A peptic ulcer can cause pain, discomfort and make eating something dreaded rather than something enjoyed. Learn the signs and symptoms of a peptic ulcer and what you can do to treat it naturally.
What is a Peptic Ulcer?
A peptic ulcer is an erosion in the lining of the stomach or duodenum (first part of the small intestine).
What are the Symptoms of a Peptic Ulcer?
Symptoms vary from person to person. Some of the most common symptoms are as follows:
- Pain in the stomach within 60 minutes of eating a meal
- Burning or gnawing sensation in areas from abdomen to breastbone
- Worsening of symptoms at night
- Decreased appetite
- Weight loss
What Causes Them?
Peptic ulcers are most commonly caused by the following:
- Excessive stress
- Prolonged use of NSAID pain relievers
- Overdosing on vitamin C
- Overproduction of acid in the stomach*
- Helicobacter pylori (H.Pylori) bacteria infection in the gut
*To test if an overproduction of stomach acid is contributing to your peptic ulcer, try a simple test: The next time you feel stomach discomfort, swallow one teaspoon undiluted apple cider vinegar. If your symptoms improve, you have too little stomach acid, if symptoms worsen, your body is producing too much. To relieve acidity, mix one teaspoon of baking soda into an eight-ounce glass of room-temperature water and drink.
What Natural Treatments Can I Use?
For immediate relief of stomach discomfort associated with peptic ulcer, try activated charcoal tablets as they will soak up the excess acid. It is important not to use activated charcoal within four hours of taking prescription or over-the-counter drugs as this may interfere with effectiveness.
For long term relief and reversal of peptic ulcers, observe the following guidelines:
Eliminate or Cut Down On:
- Alcoholic Beverages
- Processed Foods
Increase Consumption of:
- Whole Foods (organic meat, poultry, wild-caught fish, organic vegetables, fruit, beans, legumes and whole grains)
- Also, eat smaller meals more frequently that are easier to digest.
- Supplement the diet with omega 3 fatty acid from a bioavailable source such as krill oil.
- Pau d’Arco – This natural herb is a powerful antifungal, which may help eliminate H. Pylori infection that can cause peptic ulcers.
- Turmeric – This yellow Indian spice can help ease inflammation and tighten the lining of the gut.
- Ginger – This mild natural herb has been used for centuries to treat a variety of gastric complaints and helps ease the movement of food through the digestive tract.
- Marshmallow Root – Rich in mucilage, marshmallow root relieves inflamed mucosal tissue in the gut.
- Slippery Elm – This natural herb also contains mucilage and helps to calm and soothe peptic ulcer.
- Licorice Root – In a human trial, licorice root improved the symptoms of ninety percent of participants with peptic ulcer.
- White Oak Bark – One of the strongest natural astringents, white oak bark helps to strengthen the intestinal lining and fight infection.
Those who suffer from peptic ulcer may benefit from homeopathy. Homeopathy operates on the principle, ‘like cures like’ and works to treat the whole person by finding the root cause of the problem and ‘fixing’ it. Two homeopathic remedies that can be used for peptic ulcer are:
Lycopodium – This natural remedy works for those who have an anxious disposition, low self-esteem, insomnia and chronic stomach distress.
Argentum Nitricum – This natural remedy helps those whose gastric symptoms are accompanied by extreme anxiety and paranoia.
Homeopathy is simple yet profound natural medicine. It is best to work with a naturopath first before attempting to diagnose and treat yourself with homeopathic remedies.
When to Contact a Healthcare Provider
If you experience sudden sharp pain that won’t go away, vomiting what looks like coffee grounds or bloody stools, make an appointment with a healthcare provider immediately.
If you’re experiencing the discomfort of peptic ulcers, these natural treatments should help provide some relief.