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How to Treat and Prevent Ulcers Naturally

Q. I am experiencing what seems to be symptoms of a peptic ulcer; namely a burning, grinding stomach ache with reduced appetite, indigestion, and nausea.

I know I could simply see a family physician regarding the matter, and they would probably just prescribe a couple of hospital tests and probably an antibiotic and/or acid reducer.

However, I'm trying to get to the root of the problem, and I haven't had much success along those lines with purely conventional Western medicine. Just wondering what you might recommend. Thanks very much.

- Bradley L.

***

Hi Bradley,

First, it's important to understand that if you have a peptic ulcer, there's nothing that you can take to accelerate the healing of an actual ulceration in your GI tract lining. Only your innate, "always-on" self healing mechanisms can heal a peptic ulcer, just as your self healing mechanisms close up a cut on your skin.

The key to efficient healing of a peptic ulcer is to avoid aggravating the ulcer as your body tries to repair it. This involves reducing the overall digestive load that you put on your digestive tract lining, as well as choosing foods that may soothe rather than aggravate an ulcer.

Some thoughts if your peptic ulcer is a gastric (stomach) ulcer:

Though your stomach plays a number of roles in digesting the foods that you eat, its chief function is to break protein apart into amino acids that can get absorbed into your bloodstream and fuel the ongoing activities of your cells. The more protein-dense foods you eat, the more burden you put on your stomach, which slows down the rate at which your self healing mechanisms are able to heal a gastric ulcer.

So the first and most important step that you can take to facilitate optimal healing of a gastric ulcer is to reduce your intake of protein-dense foods, especially those that you know from experience are difficult for you to digest. Flesh meats and dairy fall into this category for most people who suffer with recurrent ulcers.

The best foods to eat when looking to quickly heal a peptic ulcer are those that are relatively low in animal protein and easy to digest. Though fresh fruits and vegetables work well in most circumstances, in severe cases, eating too many raw fruits and vegetables can aggravate fresh ulcerations in the digestive tract. In such cases, rather than eat raw fruits and vegetables, it's often helpful to eat mainly cooked vegetables.

Steamed Yukon gold potatoes, sweet potatoes, and zucchini are typically well tolerated by people who have severe peptic ulcers, ulcerative colitis, Crohn's, or other inflammatory conditions in the GI tract that involve fresh wounds.

When I used to run a residential fasting program, for severe cases of chronic, recurrent peptic ulcers and inflammatory bowel disease, I typically used a combination of steamed zucchini and potato soup to nourish patients as their ulcerations healed. I made the soup by steaming slices of Yukon gold potatoes and blending them in homemade vegetable broth.

If you use this approach of eating mainly steamed zucchini and tubers in the initial phases of healing from a peptic ulcer, keep in mind that as your ulcer heals, rather than go straight to eating protein-rich animal foods, it's best to start including more raw fruits and vegetables in your diet, followed by small amounts of legumes, then relatively healthy animal foods like organic eggs and wild salmon. If all of these foods are well tolerated over a period of several days to a few weeks, then you can try adding small quantities of other protein-rich animal foods to your diet, but aim to eat such foods along with some steamed vegetables.

All of these suggestions are meant to promote optimal healing of existing peptic ulcers.

What follows are some suggestions on how to prevent ulcers from developing:

1. Avoid regular use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen and naproxen - these drugs can cause direct injury to the lining in your stomach and small intestine, which can lead to ulcer formation. Statistics tell us that about 20 percent of people who regularly take these drugs end up developing an ulcer.

2. Avoid nicotine. Studies intake that heavy smokers have a higher than average risk of developing duodenal ulcers, and take longer to heal from an ulcer.

3. Avoid excessive alcohol intake. Alcohol can cause erosion of the protective mucous lining in your stomach and small intestine, which increases your risk of developing a peptic ulcer.

4. Work at being emotionally balanced. Being stressed can disrupt your autonomic nervous system's ability to regulate acid secretion in your stomach, which can increase your risk of suffering from an infection caused by the bacterium Helicobacter pylori. Contrary to popular belief, lowered stomach acid production over the long term isn't in your best interest, as stomach acid serves to help you digest protein AND kill off undesirable microorganisms. What you want is to be emotionally balanced, which results in optimal stomach acid secretion by your autonomic nervous system, which helps promote optimal digestion and decreases your risk of experiencing a bacterial infection that can lead to a gastric ulcer.

If you need some help managing emotional stress and/or recovering after a significant period of being stressed, two resources that I wholeheartedly recommend are:

EarthRain

and

Adrenal Response

I hope these suggestions are helpful. If you have any questions or comments on this topic, please feel free to use the "add new comment" link in the article tools box below.

 
 

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Peptic Ulcers

Thank you so much for always writing just about the subjects I need!
Just one thing: I was told that I have to stay away from the Nightshade family: tomatoes, eggplants, bell peppers and POTATOES. Are the Yukon gold potatoes you are writing about of this family or are they perhaps related to sweet potatoes?
Again Thank you,
Astrid

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Dear Dr. Ben Kim

I'm only 22 years old and already I have to deal with frequent days where I have a very annoying case of what seems to be colitis, actually the first time I had this was when I was just 18 years old. Sometimes the inflamation will last for an entire week, however it doesnt seem like it is realated to stressful situations what makes me wonder about what casues it. After reading this article I think I got some ideas of how to combat this, such as stopping alchohol consumption and high proteins food, but I would love if you could give some more tips for how to prevent colitis.

Thank you very much,
José.

just some facts

Hello Dr. Kim.
Maybe you all ready know it and just forgot to mention it, but i have read, i have seen and i know that one natural cure to peptic ulcers is cabbage juice. i have recommended cabbage juice to people suffering from peptic ulcers in different occasions and it have always work beautifully. This kind of cure is soo effective that it heals peptic ulcers in just about 3 days.
you can find more information on this on the book Miracle food cures from the Bible.
I wish you an excellent day.
Sincerely: Hugo Escudero

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hi dr kim,

i want to comment on the cd 'earth/rain'.. recently my mother passed away here in our home. we played 'earth/rain' the entire day she was leaving us and the day after when we bathed her, dressed her and sat w/ her.. it was the background music to accompany her journey and amazingly we never tired of hearing it. in fact, we played it again the day of her memorial. i'm sure it helped her and us, keeping us less stressed than we could have been. it was actually a very beautiful time and i don't have any negative feelings abt the cd, which might have happened w/ another cd.

i just wanted to share this with you.

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ps: are there any more like this? i love it.. it's so relaxing (which is i guess the point)

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After 30 years of recurring awful pain in my stomach...I found an article about Helibactor Pylori by the New Zealand Dr. who is credited with the cure for ulcers....and the loss of billions for "big Pharma". After Xrays to verify the ulcer, and a weeks treatment of common antibiotic, I was cured. What an unbelievable relief!

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Thanks.

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As a person who suffered

As a person who suffered with inflammatory bowel disease I have to agree that steamed vegetables are a great food to start with if you have digestive troubles. I was unresponsive to most medicine they use for IBD unless it was at enormous doses and I am now healed due to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), which also uses herbs to help treat symptoms and the underlying problem itself. Ultimately though for optimal health we need to address underlying mental and emotional attitudes that create stress, and to understand our own weaknesses and tendencies. Complete healing can be a long and complex road, but is well worth it.
I would recommend adding some very well cooked rice to these meals, perhaps even pear barley. Good luck!

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I recently was diagnosed with an ulcer and have been on Protonix for the past month. Having realized that at 30 I should not have such stress or health related issues I have turned a new leaf. Not only am I meditating to reduce stress but I have begun a very successful body detox (called DetoxComplete from www.lifebotanica.com), I am exercising 3 times a week and have tried to reduce any extremes in my diet (not too much acid or base). So far so good. I believe an ulcer is the bodies warning sign of a need to revisit how you treat your body. I am turning over a new leaf and hope other will be able to as well.

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