Get Rid of Ulcers

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In general terms an ulcer is a lesion in a body surface (skin or mucous membrane) that won't heal. Such a lesion in the wall of the stomach is called a gastric ulcer; in the duodenum, the first section of the small intestine, it is called a duodenal ulcer. Both gastric and duodenal ulcers are referred to as peptic ulcers.

A gastro-intestinal system afflicted with an ulcer quickly calls attention to itself through "stomach aches", especially when the stomach is empty. The pain may appear anywhere in the upper abdomen but is usually felt in the middle of the stomach. One ulcer patient described it as a "hot knot of pain." An unpleasant sensation of acidity is a common symptom. Heartburn, nausea and vomiting occur. Most ulcers bleed now and then. If the bleeding is severe, the patient may vomit blood. If not, it may show as blood in the stool.

What Are The Causes?

Ulcer experts agree that the main cause of peptic ulcers is an excessive secretion of gastric acid triggered by emotional stress and certain substances, such as caffeine, nicotine and alcohol, particularly when there is no food in the stomach for the acid to work on. But people in very stressful situations don't always develop ulcers.

For ulcers to form, the lining of the stomach must have lost some of its natural immunity to gastric acid. A lack of vitamin A, which is essential to a healthy mucosa, is a possible cause of such a loss. Severe burns deplete the reserves of vitamin A. So does prolonged exposure to bright light. Lack of vitamin A leaves one susceptible to eye problems, skin disorders, respiratory problems, ulcers and perhaps even cancer. A lowered resistance of the stomach lining to gastric acid may result from a deficiency of vitamin C and the bioflavonoids. Ironically, the "bland diet" which many physicians will resort to in ulcer therapy is deficient in both.

To achieve a long-term solution, you should:

Abstain from coffee, tea, liquor, tobacco, soft drinks and aspirin and drink at least eight glasses of water daily. Aspirin is not nearly as harmless as people think. One of its adverse side effects is that it irritates the mucous membrane of the throat and the stomach. Aspirin taken to deaden the pain of ulcers is likely to aggravate the problem and may cause gastric bleeding.
Use water, camomile tea or sweet yogurt instead of antacids to relieve the discomfort associated with ulcers. The term "sweet yogurt" essentially means homemade yogurt "caught" just when it starts to coagulate.
Eat frequent small meals rather than two or three big meals a day and chew food well. Food that has been chewed well means less churning for the stomach and less irritation for the ulcer. But above all, adopt a diet of unrefined and (as much as possible) unprocessed food. That means good-bye to sugar and sugar junk, food that contains white flour and fried foods. It means good-bye to most packaged and canned foods. Only natural foods, unrefined and unprocessed, supply what the body needs of building materials to repair itself.
Take supplements that are known to promote healing: vitamins A, E, C together with the bioflavonoids and the trace mineral zinc, at least until the ulcer has healed. An easily accessible natural source of the bioflavonoids is the white lining of orange peels.
There are some other natural agents that have been shown to speed up the healing of an ulcer. Foremost among them is freshly extracted cabbage juice, taken between meals once or twice a day. Unground flax seed becomes mucilaginous when soaked and is soothing to the open wound of an ulcer. Alfalfa seeds may be sprouted or ground into a meal that can be added to other food and dried alfalfa leaves may be turned into a tea. Green comfrey leaves may be added to salads and made into a tea. Licorice tea is believed to fortify the walls of the stomach against the action of gastric juices.

And then there is garlic, valued as a healing agent since antiquity. It should be taken raw. People who cannot stand chewing raw garlic may try cutting up a small quantity of it, then place it on a spoon, put it far back into the mouth and wash it down with water, like pills.

5. Make sure you get enough rest, both physical and mental. No horror movies (especially not before going to sleep), no fights in the family. During sleep, the acid tap is generally turned off and the stomach does not move. This gives the ulcer a chance to heal.
7. Make regular aerobic exercise part of the daily routine. For one, it is essential for good health in general. Large groups of muscles are engaged in aerobic exercise so the body puts the digestive machinery on idle, acid secretion shuts down and physical movement of the stomach comes to a virtual halt.
The stage is set for the ulcer to do some healing.

Recommended reading:

Self-Help For Stomach Ulcer Acidity by L Mervyn (pb) 128pp $4.95

Indigestion, Ulcers, Colitis, and Constipation by K Donsbach (sc) 64pp $5.95

Silica - The Amazing Gel by K Kaufmann (sc) 175pp $12.95

Available at your local health food store or from alive books PO Box 80055 Burnaby BC V5H 3X1. Please add $3 for p&h and 7% GST when ordering from alive books.

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By Ambros Prechtl

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