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What Is Peptic Ulcer Disease?
Peptic ulcer disease refers to painful sores or ulcers in the lining of the stomach or first part of the small intestine, called the duodenum.
No single cause has been found for ulcers. However, it is now clear that an ulcer is the end result of an imbalance between digestive fluids in the stomach and duodenum. Ulcers can be caused by:
Infection with a type of bacteria called Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori)
Use of painkillers called nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as aspirin, naproxen (Aleve, Anaprox, Naprosyn, and others), ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil, Midol, and others), and many others available by prescription. Even aspirin coated with a special substance can still cause ulcers.
Excess acid production from gastrinomas, tumors of the acid producing cells of the stomach that increases acid output; seen in Zollinger-Ellison syndrome.
More common, emotional stress related to frustration, resentment, and indecision which leads to low self-esteem and a lack of control over events will cause a person to have an increase in stomach stress and result in an increase in stomach acid.
What Are the Symptoms of an Ulcer?
An ulcer may or may not have symptoms. When symptoms occur, they include:
In severe cases, symptoms can include:
Dark or black stool (due to bleeding)
Vomiting blood (can have a "coffee-grounds" appearance)
Severe pain in the mid to upper abdomen
How Serious Is an Ulcer?
Though ulcers often heal on their own, you shouldn't ignore their warning signs. If not properly treated, ulcers can lead to serious health problems, including:
Taking NSAIDs can cause any of the above without warning. The risk is especially concerning for the elderly and for those with a prior history of having peptic ulcer disease.
Who Is More Likely to Get Ulcers?
You may be more likely to develop ulcers if you:
Are infected with the H. pylori bacterium
Take NSAIDs such as aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen, and many others
Have a family history of ulcers
Have another illness, such as liver, kidney, or lung disease
Drink alcohol regularly
Are 50 years old or older
Suffer from stress related to frustration, indecision or resentment
How Are Ulcers Diagnosed?
Your doctor may be able to make an ulcer diagnosis just by talking with you about your symptoms. However, to confirm the diagnosis one of several tests should be taken. First, your doctor may ask you to take an acid-blocking medication such as those used to treat heartburn for a short period of time to see if your symptoms improve.
If needed, your doctor may recommend a procedure called an upper endoscopy. It involves inserting a small, lighted tube (endoscope) through the throat and into the stomach to look for abnormalities. This procedure is usually given if you are having severe symptoms of ulcers.
Often, doctors will frequently treat without confirming the diagnosis using endoscopy. If the cause is not likely to be from NSAIDs, then it is very likely to be from H. pylori. Most doctors will now test for H. pylori and will treat specifically for that in addition to giving medications to reduce the symptoms.
How Are Ulcers Treated?
Though ulcers often heal on their own, you shouldn't ignore their warning signs. If not properly treated, ulcers can lead to serious health problems.
There are several ways in which ulcers can be treated, including making changes to one’s lifestyle, consulting with a Holistic Chiropractor, taking medication, and/or undergoing surgery.
Consulting with a Holistic Chiropractor who can help you develop a well-rounded, multifaceted approach to understanding all the contributing factors to remove and reduce nerve stress is appropriate when having Ulcers. Conservative care in an effort to avoid the addicting medications is warranted. Failure to do so may result in your condition becoming chronic and may lead to other health conditions due to a lack of proper resolution.
There is a new, ground-breaking technique called Neurologic Relief Centers Technique (NRCT) which addresses a common underlying cause of Ulcers known as Meningeal Compression. This technique is currently only available through Certified Practitioners who have been trained in NRCT and who are listed on the NRCT Website at www.nrc.md Please go to this website and review the information and videos and locate a practitioner near you to help you see if this revolutionary technique can be the solution to your Ulcers.
Lifestyle Changes to Treat an Ulcer
To treat an ulcer, first eliminate substances that can be causing the ulcers. If you smoke or drink alcohol, stop. If the ulcer is believed to be caused by the use of NSAIDs, they need to be stopped.
As with any medication, certain side-effects are known and sometimes side-effects are not known. Since everyone is different, please consult with your medical doctor or pharmacist for any abnormal changes when taking medication. Taking medication to treat your symptoms, although it helps you feel better, it is not addressing the underlying cause and this may lead your condition getting worse or may lead to other concerns.
Ulcer medications can include:
Proton pump medications (PPI). Proton pump medications reduce acid levels and allow the ulcer to heal. They include Prilosec, Prevacid, Aciphex, Protonix, Kapidex, Zegerid, and Nexium.
Antibiotics. If you have H. pylori infection, then antibiotics are used. There are multiple combinations of antibiotics that are taken for one to two weeks along with a PPI. Some doctors also recommend taking Pepto-Bismol.
Upper Endoscopy. Some bleeding ulcers can be treated through the endoscope.
Surgery. Sometimes an operation is needed if the ulcer has created a hole in the wall of the stomach or if there is serious bleeding.
Will Drinking Milk Help Cure an Ulcer?
No. Milk can make your ulcer worse. Milk provides brief relief of ulcer pain because it coats the stomach lining. But milk can also stimulate your stomach to produce more acid and digestive juices, which can aggravate ulcers.
How Can I Prevent Ulcers?
To try and prevent ulcers from developing:
Consulting with a Holistic Chiropractor who can help you develop a well-rounded, multifaceted approach to understanding all the contributing factors to remove and reduce nerve stress is appropriate when having Ulcers. Conservative care in an effort to avoid the addicting medications is warranted. Developing a healthy life-style with proper guidance from your Holistic Chiropractor is the best prevention when considering how to approach your ulcer and your health. To request an Action Plan to address Stomach (Peptic) Ulcers Click Here
Dr. Huntoon has a single mission:
To support as many people as possible in their quest for health and enable them to improve and maintain their health to the highest level possible, while educating them about the benefits of Chiropractic, Natural Healthcare and Holistic Living, so they in turn can teach others to support us having a healthy community.
Health concerns are a major source of lost happiness and lost joy in all of our lives. Finding a solution that is agreeable and enables you to get back to your life is important. Please appreciate that you always have the more invasive surgery and prescription medication available to you as a last resort. What many Traditional Medical Doctors may not share is, many times, once you begin that journey into medication and/or surgery, it alters your original body from the one that you were born with. Unfortunately, at that time, more conservative and natural treatments may no longer be viable. I encourage you to consider that before making any decisions about treatment for your health. As always I am here to help.
- Continue doing the same thing and nothing changes or it may get worse
- Try something different and get a different result that makes you happier and healthier.
The Choice is Yours
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Thank You for your consideration.