The term peptic ulcer is referred to both, gastric and duodenal ulcers. It is believed to have occurred due to an infection by a bacterium known as Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori).
This corkscrew-shaped bug lives in the inner lining of the stomach causing peptic ulcer. If peptic ulcer is located in the stomach it is called gastric ulcer.
Literally speaking, an ulcer is an open sore, often infected. Frequently this sore is in the stomach or the duodenum, (the first part of the intestine leading from the stomach) the part of the intestines which connects with the stomach.
Peptic ulcers, which are in the stomach and the duodenum can occur at any age and affect both men and women. Untreated, sufferers can look forward to a long siege with them.
But today's peptic ulcer sufferers have a brighter prospect for relief than did those of even a single generation ago. There is now less than 1 chance in 18 that surgery will ever be necessary and new medications act faster and better and offer more relief than ever before.
Signs & symptoms The warning sign of active ulcers you will most likely experience (if you get any warning at all) is a gnawing discomfort in the middle or upper abdomen that typically comes between meals or in the middle of the night.
Food or liquids, including antacids and milk, can provide some temporary relief, but milk might not be all that good a remedy since it stimulates production of hydrochloric acid and other digestive juices which further aggravates the pain.
The most common symptom of ulcers is an intense burning sensation below the breastbone, which is typically felt between 1-3 hours after meals. The pain can be intense enough to cause its' victim to awaken during the night with an excruciating internal burning sensation. It could cause headaches, nausea and/or vomiting.
Often severe heartburn in evident. It's possible that a Peptic Ulcer could develop symptoms such as dark tar-like stools or spitting up blood.
These advanced symptoms may be indicative of gastro-intestinal bleeding and should be immediately addressed by your doctor. Bleeding ulcers are potentially life-threatening and are to be considered a medical emergency.
• Constant pain in the abdomen - which mainly is a duodenal symptom. This pain occurs within one or two hours after meals and also when the stomach is empty. This pain lasts for several minutes or hours and you can get relief by eating or having any antacid medicines.
• Nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite and losing weight in the same process is another sign.
Proper nutrition for gastritis and peptic ulcers – less is more!
In our fast paced world, we pay less and less attention to good nutrition and getting in the right amount of vitamins and trace elements (due to the growing fast food mentality and a wealth of ready-to-eat items in the supermarket).
If you add nicotine (smoking) and excessive alcohol consumption to the mix, and throw in some consistent and unresolved stress, an inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract is not at all surprising. A weakened immune system is often not up to the task of fighting off the bacteria which can then find an ideal environment in the digestive system and cause gastritis and ulcers.
Nutritional advice for people suffering from gastritis or ulcers of the digestive tract
To prevent and treat gastritis and peptic ulcers, a light and wholesome diet is best. This differs from a normally wholesome and balanced diet in that some foods and drinks which may strain the digestive system are left out.
Beverages to be avoided if you have gastritis or peptic ulcers alcohol, coffee, carbonated drinks like mineral water or colas, lemonade and any drinks served very cold.
Foods to be avoided if you have gastritis or peptic ulcers
Milk products A proper diet for the treatment of gastritis or ulcers should not include whole milk, cream or sour cream with a fat content of over 20% as well as any fermented milk products. In addition you should avoid high-fat cheeses (over 45%) and blue cheese (ripened) varieties such as Gorgonzola, Roquefort and Camembert.
Meats For those who suffer with gastritis or peptic ulcers (and anyone who wants to be more healthy) fatty, smoked or cured meats should be left out of the diet. Additionally spicy roasted meats, meats prepared along with bacon, naturally high-fat meats like goose or duck, and higher-fat animal parts in general (e.g. skin) as well as any type of sausage should all be avoided.
Fish Types of fish like eel, herring and salmon as well as smoked fish of any sort, dried or otherwise preserved fish or fish products should not be consumed if you have gastritis or peptic ulcers.
Bread and baked goods Eliminate fresh bread and baked goods as well as coarse whole grain bread, fresh pastries, high-fat baked goods like éclairs and doughnuts from the diet if you currently have gastritis or ulcers (as well as after the symptoms have subsided).
Potatoes and vegetables Avoid any potato dishes which have been prepared using oil, including chips (French fries, pommes frites, wedges, etc.) and crisps (i.e. potato chips) if you have gastritis or an ulcer (and in general).
Also potato salad containing bacon, mayonnaise or excessive oil should not be part of your diet. There are also several types of vegetable which are difficult to digest: cabbage, leeks, onions, mushrooms, peppers, olives, pickles, cucumber, horseradish and beans. These should be left out of your diet, as well as any vegetable salads which have mayonnaise or other sauces which are high in fat.
Fruits and Nuts Good nutrition for gastritis and ulcer sufferers does not include unripe fruit, raw drupes (i.e. fruits with a pit like cherries and plums), nuts of any kind as well as almonds and pistachios and avocados.
Likewise candy, sweets and sugar in general should not be part of your diet if you have gastritis and/or an ulcer as well as spices, especially those which have been dried or are in powdered form. What not to include in your diet if you suffer from gastritis or
peptic ulcers As noted above, you should avoid all fats (including high-fat soups or sauces) both during and after your gastritis/ulcer treatment. Hard-cooked eggs and any other high-fat food which contains eggs (such as mayonnaise) should not be part of your diet. Don't eat roasted, fried or grilled foods and avoid foods which were prepared using bacon or onion.
What you can and should eat and drink during and after treating gastritis and/or a peptic ulcer
If you suffer with gastritis, it's a good idea to eat foods that you can tolerate; i.e. foods and drinks which do not lead to diarrhoea, the build-up of uncomfortable gas, abdominal pain or nausea. You should also avoid foods that cause you to feel too full or cause heartburn (pyrosis).
This includes light wholesome foods which are low in fat, mild in taste, lean and properly prepared. Dairy products such as yoghurt are effective against gastritis as they inhibit the reproduction of the H. pylori bacteria. There's no need to limit your intake of quality bread and baked goods if you suffer from gastritis.
Easily digestible vegetables such as carrots, fennel, turnips, cauliflower, green peas, beans, tomatoes, zucchini and green leafy salad. For seasoning you should try to include freshly dried spices, mild vinegar (e.g. balsamic), lemon juice and a little salt. Jams, marmalades and honey are the best sweeteners.
If you have sweet tooth and suffer from gastritis, it's best to avoid refined baked goods and stick with whole-grain or fruit cakes (without whipped toppings or frosting) and cookies. For the preparation of your food we recommend boiling, steaming or baking in foil. Use a ceramic saucepan or a coated non-stick pan or saucepan. The oven or microwave are both suitable depending on the container you're using, but remember to avoid using fats.
The optimal drinks include any sort of tea, mild coffee, grain coffee, mineral water without gas, vegetable juices as well as diluted fruit juices.
Please keep in mind that a more wholesome diet such as the one outlined above does not have a direct therapeutic effect in the treatment of gastritis or ulcers, rather it is more tolerable for the digestive system and so easier to metabolise.
In addition, food sensitivities can vary greatly from person to person. Initially when you adopt such a new diet, you may suffer with a bit of gas or other digestive problems. We advise that you consult your physician and/or a qualified nutritionist. It's also very important to remember that a reduction in stress as well as a balanced lifestyle which includes some physical activity are essential in the treatment of such disorders of the digestive system.
Five important diet tips for gastritis / peptic ulcer sufferers
1. Eat several small meals rather than a few large meals.
2. Try to take your time when you eat – don't rush!
3. Chew thoroughly.
4. Avoid eating foods that are either too hot or too cold.
5. Regularly take s vitamin supplement, in particular vitamin B12, and detoxify the digestive system. In addition, fasting (e.g. juice fasting) can be beneficial for the body as natural vitamins and minerals can better be absorbed without the strain placed on the stomach by carbohydrates.