That churning and burning sensation you feel after being upset or eating a meal may be an indication that you have an ulcer.
Unfortunately, many people suffer from chronic ulcers and while most are minor, there can be complications from having them.
Ulcers can end up bleeding, which usually isn’t life threatening, but they can erode blood vessels, cause hemorrhaging and even erode into other organs, causing them to become infected.
What Causes Ulcers?
An ulcer is an open sore that develops on an organ or tissue. The most common locations for ulcers include the esophagus, stomach, and the duodenum.
These ulcers are also referred to as peptic ulcers. In the past, most people thought a bad diet and stress were the cause of most ulcers, but researchers have discovered that many ulcers are caused by a bacterium called Helicobacter pylori or H. pylori.
In the United States, this bacteria is found in about 50 percent of all people under the age of 60.
While it doesn’t cause problems for most people, in a small number of others, the spiral shaped germ burrows through the stomach’s protective coating where it interacts with stomach acids. This interaction irritates the lining of the stomach, which causes ulcers to form.
Some people are more prone to ulcers if members of their family had problems with ulcers as hereditary can play a role in who gets them.
In addition, people who have type O blood, rheumatoid arthritis, liver diseases or who have taken aspirin or NSAIDs, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, for pain over a prolonged period of time can also develop ulcers.
Common Ulcer Symptoms
The range of symptoms for an ulcer can go from mild to extreme, depending on the severity of the ulcer.
For most people, the first indication of a possible ulcer is pain in the upper abdomen.
Some people may also experience chest pain, along with heartburn, belching, bloating and indigestion. You may also feel tired and be nauseous if you have an ulcer.
If the ulcer is bleeding, you may notice blood in your stools or the stools may look black. Some people will be constipated if they have an ulcer or they may vomit blood, feel extremely weak, tired and be extremely thirsty.
All of these are signs that you have a bleeding or hemorrhaging ulcer and, while an ulcer isn’t usually life threatening, you should seek treatment for a bleeding ulcer right away.
Using Natural Remedies to Treat Ulcers
While there are many medications that are used in the treatment of ulcers, the best treatments are those that get at the root cause of the ulcer.
A doctor may prescribe antibiotics for an infection caused by an ulcer and he or she may recommend an over-the-counter or prescription medication that helps to block, reduce or neutralize stomach acids. However, these treatments can lead to other digestive issues.
There are several natural home remedies that can be used to help treat and prevent the formation of ulcers.
In fact, you may already have the ingredients for some of these treatments in your kitchen pantry.
Natural remedies are easier on your body, they are often less expensive than prescription medications and they generally will not cause any further complications.
Remedies for Ulcers
From taking vitamins to using herbs to modifying your diet, there are many natural remedies to help treat and prevent ulcers.
Here are some of the remedies you might try if you have an ulcer or think you might be developing one.
Treating Ulcers with Vitamin E
Researchers in Kiev, Russia discovered that patients can treat their ulcers effectively by taking 300 mg of Vitamin E on a daily basis.
In a study conducted at the Kiev Medical Institute, doctors found that the 28 patients who were treated with Vitamin E found relief for their peptic ulcers within in four to six days after starting on the vitamin.
It took patients who received traditional treatments up to 10 days to show improvements.
They also found that the patients on the Vitamin E treatment had increased protein repair in the lining of their intestines and they were able to gain weight, about 1.5 to 3 kilograms. The other patients did not have any weight gain.
Add Cabbage to Your Diet
Even though your diet may not be responsible for your ulcer, there are foods that you can add to your diet that will help treat or prevent ulcers.
Cabbage is one of the foods that people with ulcers should be eating. As sauerkraut, it can help keep the bacteria in your gut in balance because fermented foods like sauerkraut, yogurt and olives help increase the amount of good bacteria in your system.
Cabbage juice is also beneficial for those who have problems with ulcers. Before antibiotics were create, cabbage juice was used to successfully treat peptic ulcers.
In fact, researchers found that giving ulcer patients only cabbage juice resulted in a 92 percent cure rate, while those given a placebo or another treatment only had a 32 percent cure rate.
The dosage given to patients was 50 ml of fresh, raw cabbage juice. It is believed that the Vitamin C and lactic acid bacteria that are in plants grown close to the soil are responsible for the successful treatment of ulcers.
Add a Little Spice to Your Life
Although it was once thought that spicy foods could cause an ulcer, one ingredient commonly found in those spicy foods can actually help treat ulcers.
Cayenne pepper, which contains capsaicin, can help prevent ulcer development because it triggers a mechanism in the body that protects the lining of the stomach.
A study found that capsaicin helped decrease stomach acids, as well as increase secretions that protect the stomach.
It was also found that capsaicin was particularly helpful in preventing ulcers caused by the use of NSAIDS and by drinking alcohol.
Mix a 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper in one cup of hot water and take it on a daily basis to help keep ulcers at bay.
Use Garlic for Your Ulcer
Garlic has been found to help treat many conditions and research continues to reveal its preventive benefits.
Researchers have found that garlic can help keep the H. pylori bacterium in balance in your gut and help prevent ulcers from forming.
This bulb, which is used for cooking in many cuisines, has an antimicrobial effect on H. pylori without wiping out the strain.
Certain amounts of H. pylori are necessary for your system to function properly because other digestive issues can occur if it isn’t present.
Go Bananas for this Treatment
Everyone knows that bananas are good to eat when your stomach is upset or you have diarrhea.
They help coat the stomach when it is upset, which can also help if you have an ulcer.
Dried, unripe bananas contain sitoindosides, which produces mucus in the digestive tract that coats the stomach and helps prevent and heal ulcers.
In addition, unripe bananas contain polysaccharides, which is an ingredient found in anti-ulcer medications.
To treat ulcers, consuming unripe bananas can have some effect, but they should be treated with banana powder.
You can easily make banana powder at home by peeling a banana and cutting it into thin slices. Dry the slices slowly in the sun, in an oven or use a food dehydrator.
After they have dried, grind them in a food processor until they form a fine powder. Mix 2 tablespoons of the powder with 1 tablespoon of honey and take this mixture 3 times a day, mid-morning, mid-afternoon and at bedtime to heal your ulcer.
Ripe bananas can also be effective in treating peptic ulcers as they help reduce stomach acid, which reduces inflammation and protects the lining of the stomach.
To treat your ulcer, eat at least three ripe bananas per day or you can use them to make milkshakes. Be aware that eating too many bananas can cause constipation, so you may have to eat more fibrous foods to help counteract that effect.
A Little Dab of Honey
Honey is known for having many curative powers and it can be used as an effective treatment for ulcers too. There are two ways that honey helps to treat ulcers.
The first way involves an enzyme in honey called glucose oxidase, which produces hydrogen peroxide and helps kill the harmful bacteria that contributes to the development of ulcers.
There are other antibacterial agents in honey that are derived from flowers, whose pollen is collected by bees.
Those antibacterial agents help make honey even more effective at eliminating ulcer causing bacteria.
There are varieties of honey that are more effective for treating ulcers. Research seems to show that using honey produced locally works best for treating ulcers.
To help successfully treat ulcers with honey, it should natural, unprocessed honey. Treat your ulcer with 2 tablespoons of honey per day and then, when your ulcer symptoms have eased, you can reduce the amount to 1 tablespoon per day.
Treat Your Ulcer by Chewing Licorice
Studies on deglycyrrihizinated licorice, or DGL, has shown that it is just as effective as the drug cimetidine for treating ulcers and maintaining both peptic and duodenal ulcers.
DGL helps to produce mucus that helps protect both the stomach and intestines. This is especially helpful for people who have ulcers caused by taking aspirin or anti-inflammatory medications.
The most effective way to get DGL into your system is through chewing it before it is swallowed.
Take two 380 mg tablets three times a day between meals and chew them thoroughly before swallowing the tablets.
Once your ulcer has healed, you can reduce the dosage to just two tablets per day between meals. The chewable tablets can be found in most health food stores.
If you don’t want to take the tablets, you can also drink licorice tea two to three times a day for a week or buy licorice root powder.
Mix 1/2 teaspoon of the powder with one cup of water, cover the cup and let it set out overnight.
The next day, add it to one cup of cooked broken white rice, which is a grade of rice that is broken during the milling process, and eat it. To help heal your ulcer, eat it every day for a week.
Tree Products for Treating Ulcers
The components of certain trees can be used to successfully treat stomach ulcers. The inner bark of the slippery elm tree can be used as a treatment for ulcers because it contains mucilage that helps to calm and sooth both pain and inflammation.
In addition, it helps to remove excess fats from the intestines. The inner bark can be ground into a powder.
Mix 1 teaspoon of the powder with one cup of warm water and drink the concoction three times per day for a week.
The leaves of a wood apple tree can also be used as an effective treatment for ulcers.
The leaves, known as bael, have tannins in them that protect the stomach against damage due to excessive amounts of stomach acid. In addition, juice extracted from the fruit of the wood apple tree also contains mucilage to help reduce the pain and inflammation of stomach ulcers.
To use the leaves of the wood apple tree to treat your ulcer, soak two to three of them in a cup of water in some sort of copper vessel overnight.
Strain the mixture the next day and drink it on an empty stomach. Use this treatment daily for a few weeks to help heal your ulcer.
Treating an Ulcer with Fenugreek
The fenugreek plant has been used for centuries in medicines and is well known for its healing properties.
Fenugreek is rich in mucilage, which helps protect the stomach from damage by coating it with mucus. It also helps to promote the healing of ulcers. The leaves of the plant and fenugreek seeds can both be used to treat ulcers.
To use the seeds, boil one teaspoon of them in two cups of water. Strain the seeds from the water and add a bit of honey to sweeten the water, then drink it.
Alternatively, mix one teaspoon of fenugreek seed powder with milk and drink this mixture to treat your ulcer.
One cup of the plant’s leaves can be boiled and eaten after adding a bit of honey to them. Eat them twice a day to treat your ulcer.
The Coconut Treatment
Coconuts have antibacterial properties that can help in the treatment of stomach ulcers.
It helps to kill the bacteria, like H. pylori, that can cause them. In addition, both coconut water and coconut milk have properties that can help prevent ulcers.
You can drink a few cups of either coconut water or coconut milk every day to treat your ulcer, along with eating some of the tender meat of the coconut.
Use this treatment at least one week to get positive results from it. Coconut oil can also help your ulcer if you take 1 tablespoon in the morning and one at night for a week. Coconut oil is easily digested as it contains medium-chain fatty acids.
Additional Treatments for Ulcers
By changing your diet and some habits, you can help to prevent or treatment your ulcer.
Eat More Fiber
Adding more fiber to your diet can help in the treatment of duodenal ulcers. In studies, it was found that high fiber diets can help to reduce duodenal ulcers and in patients with recently healed ulcers, a high fiber diet reduced the reoccurrence rate by 50 percent.
The fiber in foods helps to promote layers of mucin in the stomach and intestines that protect them from damage.
Along with many other health problems, smoking has been linked to the formation of ulcers. Smoking not only increases the frequency of ulcers, but it decreases the ability of therapies to help heal them as well.
Address Food Allergies
Food allergies have been linked to the formation of ulcers in both adults and children.
Some studies have shown that up to 98 percent of patients who had radiographic evidence of ulcers also had upper and lower tract allergic disease.
Another study found that out of 43 children that had ulcers diagnosed with x-rays, 25 of them had food allergies.
Diets that eliminate the foods that cause their allergies have been successful in healing and preventing the reoccurrence of ulcers.
Concentrate on Nutrients
Adding specific nutrients to your diet can help heal and prevent the reoccurrence of ulcers.
Vitamins A and E, along with zinc, have been found to inhibit the formation of ulcers and protect the lining of the digestive tract.
If you do have ulcers caused by taking anti-inflammatory or pain medications, talk to your doctor about reducing your dosage or switching to another type of medication that is easier on the stomach.
Although diet and stress are not the primary causes of ulcers, watching what you eat and learning to reduce stress in can help reduce ulcer flare-ups.