The Mechanism Behind Stomach Ulcers
Before we cover the natural remedies for stomach ulcers let’s review the anatomy. The main job of the stomach is to mechanically and chemically break down food to the point where the microvilli cells in the small intestines may absorb the food. The process of mastication (chewing) begins the process of turning your broccoli into mush, but it’s the stomach that does the heavy lifting. Why and how? The cells in the stomach secrete Hydrochloric Acid (HCL) to “burn” our food and the stomach muscles churn our food like a 19th century milk maid churning butter. You may ask “Why doesn’t the acid burn through the stomach lining to damage our other abdominal organs?” Well, a natural balance in the stomach exists. In addition to making acid specific cells make an alkaline mucous. The mucous serves as a barrier, for the HCL acid sits atop the mucous lining. Ulcers occur when the acid slips through the “defenses” of the mucous to interact with the stomach lining. This also may occur in the duodenum, which is the first section of the small intestines.
Causes of Peptic Ulcers
Before we cover the natural remedies for stomach ulcers, let’s cover the myriad of factors that contribute to this “slipping through the defenses.” Principally:
- Family History
- NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) such as ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil), acetaminophen (Tylenol)
- Spicy foods
Only recently scientists discovered it was the Heliobacter Pylori (H. Pylori) bacteria that was the main culprit of stomach ulcers. (The aforementioned causes exacerbate and allow a foothold for the bacteria to colonize.) H. Pylori enter the stomach and burrows into the mucous to colonize. It rapidly grows; as a result, the mucous layer disintegrates allowing HCL acid to interact with the muscle lining. If not corrected, the ulcer will create a crater and eventually perforate the stomach allowing it to drip onto the lower abdominal organs, possibly perforating them.
Not good….The conventional (allopathic) approach would be to diagnose the condition through endoscopy (placing a camera through your throat into the stomach to confirm the ulcers. The treatment is typically then antacids, to weaken the intensity of the stomach acid, and antibiotics to kill the H. Pylori.
Though usually effective this treatment leads to unintended consequences like:
- Poor absorption of food
- Higher rate of infections
- Destruction of your probiotic bacteria (Read article on importance of probiotics & prebiotics.)
- Poor absorption of B vitamins
Symptoms of Ulcers
The classic symptoms of ulcers are the following:
- Dull, gnawing pain typically after eating in middle abdomen (upper right pain is likely gallstones)
- Darkened Feces
Here at Naturopathic Earth we embrace the exhaustive use of all natural remedies for stomach ulcers at your disposal prior to surgical & pharmaceutical intervention. It is less expensive and less invasive. So let’s cover the natural remedies for stomach ulcers.
Natural Remedies for Stomach Ulcers
- Avoid spicy foods, caffeine, dairy, fried foods and other foods that promote acidic activity.
- Eliminate sugar and processed foods to the best of your ability.
- Ingest large amounts of cruciferous (kale, spinach, broccoli, et al), celery, & avocados
- Ingest coconut products.
- Sprinkle sea salt onto your foods.
- Ingest unripe green bananas.
- Juice up some cabbage.
- Ingest raw honey, cinnamon, & garlic (natural anti-microbials).
- Ingest cayenne peppers (and other foods that contain capsaicin (which stimulates mucous production).
(Read our article on most important spices to implement into your life.)
- Aloe Vera, Goldenseal & Licorice has been shown to be effective.
- Marshmallow root and Powdered Bark as well.
Stomach and duodenal ulcers tend to be chronic. Make fundamental adjustments to your diet and they should dissipate. Be patient. If they don’t resolve, even after exhausting all natural remedies, contact a Naturopathic Doctor (ND) or Integrative Medicine allopathic M.D.
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A. Gregory Luna
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