am a 35-year-old mother of 2 children. For the past year I have
been suffering from peptic ulcer. I would be grateful if you could
tell me what causes peptic ulcer and what food can be eaten and
what must be avoided?
Most of the
digestive tract is protected by a mucous membrane. Any factor that
causes erosion or the wearing away of this covering can cause an
ulcer to be formed at that spot. During the process of digestion
various gastric juices are produced and if these are secreted in
excess or if they come in direct contact with a part of the digestive
tract, which is worn out, as mentioned earlier, then an ulcer can
The most common
symptom of an ulcer is upper abdominal pain just before mealtime
as the digestive tract is empty of food and the digestive juices
may hurt the ulcer directly. The most important treatment is to
see that you eat frequently. Do not let there be long gaps when
the stomach is empty and drink plenty of water.
more specific causes and treatments are as follows: - Chilies and
spicy food increase acid secretion in the stomach so they must be
avoided or reduced to a minimum. Cigarette smoking damages the mucous
lining and can cause increased acid secretion and also inflammation
of the ulcer so must be avoided. Tobacco chewing also causes wearing
down of the mucous covering and will have to be given up.
of coffee and tea can be a causative factor and must be avoided
or restricted to only 2 cups altogether, in a day. Alcohol also
can cause and aggravate ulcers so it is recommended to be stopped
completely if the ulcer is chronic i.e. persisting and recurring.
use of steroid drugs as well as painkillers like aspirin, brufen
etc. on a daily basis can cause ulcers by damaging the mucous lining.
Finally mental tension or not being able to 'let off steam', brooding
and frustration and inner resentment regarding family matters, relationships
and workplace problems can be the basis for ulcer formation. However
peptic ulcers has been seen to be one of the conditions that best
responds to diet modifications.
Regular frequent meals and snacks is the best
and most important treatment. Breakfast, lunch and dinner timings
must not vary widely. (Working people must be careful). Between
these 3 meals there should be a midmorning snack, evening snack
and a bedtime milk.
Milk has been seen to have the most soothing
effect in treating peptic ulcer so it should be had with breakfast,
then in the evening snack as milk or in a milky tea and then
a glass of milk at bedtime too. A couple of biscuits or a fruit
may be eaten at midmorning and at teatime, biscuits or a toast
may be eaten.
other foods may be permitted in moderation except chillies,
spicy food and sour food specially unripe citrus fruits must
ghee may be used lightly in cooking but fried food must be avoided
as they are difficult to digest.
dishes and meat soups also are best avoided.
of water 2-3 liters atleast must be consumed throughout the day
to keep the acid levels in the digestive tract low.