Feel better when you eat or drink and then worse an hour or two after eating (duodenal ulcer) or feel worse when you eat or drink (gastric ulcer).
Stomach pain that may wake you up at night
Feel full fast
Heavy feeling, bloating, burning or dull pain anywhere in your stomach
Times when you feel bad and then times when you feel good in between
What causes ulcers?
A type of bacteria called Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) is thought to be a cause of many ulcers. Acid and other juices made by the stomach can lead to ulcers by burning the lining of your digestive tract. This can happen if your body makes too much acid or if the lining of your digestive tract is damaged in some way. Esophageal ulcers or esophagitis occur when stomach acid makes its way up into the lower esophagus.
What things can damage the lining of my digestive tract?
Even though most people use anti-inflammatory drugs without problems, these drugs can sometimes damage the stomach lining and cause ulcers. Anti-inflammatory drugs include ASA (Aspirin), ibuprofen (some examples are Advil, Medipren, Motrin IB), and a number of prescription drugs for arthritis and related problems. Acetaminophen doesn't damage the stomach lining.
Stomach ulcers occur when acids eat away at the stomach lining. This produces small open sores inside the stomach or intestine which may cause moderate to severe gastric distress or bleeding. Other causes associated with this condition are the use of medications such as ibuprofen, naproxen and aspirin. These medications should be avoided since they can irritate the stomach lining and increase the risk of ulcers. Researchers have found that ulcers can also be caused by infection from the bacteria H.pylori. H.pylori was found present in most people suffering from stomach ulcers. This bacteria can be eliminated through the use of antibiotics, usually resulting in a cure for the ulcer treated.
Diet can also trigger ulcers. Foods that are spicy can produce ulcers although some research has shown that the substance capsaicin, a pepper derivitive, has the opposite effect. Alcohol, nicotine and stress also play a role by producing excess stomach acid, which increases risk. Contrary to past belief, milk can also be a contributing factor. It was once thought that milk was an excellent food to treat ulcers. However, it has been found that the calcium in milk increases production of stomach acid. Although antacids lower the quantity of acid in the stomach and can be a great aid for the pain and bloating, the use of calcium antacids should be avoided if stomach ulcer problems are present.
In addition to over-the-counter and doctor-prescribed medications, there are several natural remedies that work well to prevent, control and sometimes cure stomach ulcers.
---Fresh cabbage juice is an excellent ulcer treatment. It produces an amino acid that increases blood flow to the lining of the stomach and helps to strengthen it. For those who prefer eating cabbage, only raw cabbage should be used to be effective.
---Active Manuka honey is another effective treatment for ulcers. This raw honey may be purchased in health food stores. Honey has been used for hundreds of years as a topical preparation to promote the healing of wounds. Ingested, it heals and strengthens the stomach lining and kills harmful bacteria.
---Unripe plantains promote strong stomach linings by producing a mucoid substance that coats the stomach lining, giving it protection against acids. Bananas offer protection in the same manner.
---Eating a diet that is fiber-rich is an added ulcer protection. Fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole grains produce substance, which help to protect the stomach lining.