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 allow long gaps when the stomach is empty
and drink plenty of water.
Some 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 it 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.
Prolonged 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.
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.
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.
Rich meat dishes and meat
soups also are best avoided.
Finally plenty of water
2-3 liters atleast must be consumed throughout the day to keep the
acid levels in the digestive tract low.