A practical guide for nutritional and traditional health care.
Ulcers, Stomach And Intestinal
Opened sores that develop in the mucus membrane lining the digestive tract of a person are known as ulcers; these sores are common in occurrence and may cause a lot of discomfort to the affected individual. The pain is usually felt in the upper abdominal region and the sensation is akin to a very painful burning or gnawing feeling that may strike suddenly and occur quite frequently. The person may feel hungry at such times and the excruciating pain often comes along with an empty feeling in the stomach; in addition nausea and vomiting may occur. Ulcers that are classified as duodenal or peptic commonly affect the region just below the stomach and around the upper intestine. The enzyme that digests protein is known as pepsin; peptic ulcers are named after this enzyme. During an attack of ulcers if the bile from the gallbladder irritates the lining of the duodenum, such ulcers are also known as duodenal ulcers.
When the stomach is empty, a duodenal ulcer begins acting up and pain results. The usual symptoms that are evident during an attack of duodenal ulcers are suddenly waking at night and a persistent pain that continues for several hours after that person has eaten food. The painful sensation slowly subsides when food is consumed; the pain reduces only when the stomach is full. The most common form of ulcers is duodenal ulcers; they occur in the majority of persons suffering from ulcers. A number of symptoms are also evident during the forms of ulcers known as gastric, or stomach ulcers. The painful sensations in this type of ulcers develop while the person is eating or in the short period after food has been consumed. Such sensations also develop in some cases even when the person is not eating anything. Long term symptoms such as weight loss are common, as eating brings on pain in such cases, and the person learns to avoid discomfort by eating as little as possible at every meal. The degree of pain is very important in diagnosing the type of ulcer, when the symptom of the ulcer is minimal discomfort, they can become difficult to diagnose; as a result the person may go on for years without realizing that he or she suffers from ulcers.
Complications can result if ulcers are left untreated for long periods of time; some of these complications can be serious and have severe implications for health. Severe abdominal pain can result if the stomach wall is penetrated by a growing ulcer, the pain is caused by internal bleeding and the abdominal inflammation that results. While substantial amounts of blood loss can occur over a long period of time, internal bleeding as such is not very serious immediately. The physical symptoms of a bleeding ulcer are anemia or the production of stools darkened with digested blood from the bleeding ulcer. However sudden and severe internal bleeding can come about when the ulcerative sore eats away at a larger blood vessel, a direct result of this is the extreme physical weakening of the afflicted person. The presence of a bleeding ulcer can also be diagnosed by the production of vomit resembling coffee grounds.
The most common origin of ulcers is the destruction of the protective mucus and the removal of the biological buffers lining the stomach wall under the action of enzymes such as pepsin and by the gastric acid hydrochloric acid. The reason for this destruction of stomach mucosa is often given as high levels of acid in the stomach, but the reason can also be the inadequate protection offered by the minimal covering of mucosa in the stomach and in such cases an ulcer will still develop and persist even when the acid levels in stomach are low. The primary cause of ulcers is an inadequate diet though it is certainly possible that bacteria can irritate certain ulcers. The onset of ulcers is often because the diet contains high levels of sugar and is otherwise lacking in fiber, such diets give rise to ulcers and are responsible for their persistence once they become established. Other food types and diets that are rich in fat heavy gravies, all fried foods, and foods rich saturated fats and most large meals sit in the stomach for long periods of time and can aggravate the ulcer. The digestive system is also strained when the diet contains too many refined and processed foods while lacking natural food products. The abrasive and aggressive substances that irritate the intestines and the stomach are also increased by the consumption of food items such as coffee and tea, and the intake of alcohol, the smoking of cigarettes can also contribute to the problem. With regard to such problems, the use of saturated fat in cooking should be replaced by cold-pressed oils, which are rich in essential fatty acids. Disease is prevented through the consumption of wholesome and raw food items that contain enzymes and many other beneficial nutrients, these beneficial food items also improve the functioning of the digestive system in its entirety.
Many gastric conditions can also develop in the stomach because of the presence of allergies to certain food groups. The secretion of hydrochloric acid can also increase in the stomach because of the consumption of certain medications and drugs such as Aspirin TM, many types of anti-inflammatory drugs and drugs containing cortisone. The majority of gastrointestinal problems by and large develop because of poor eating habits and due to the consumption of food groups that are nutritionally inadequate. For example many people eat large, rich and heavy meals for lunch and dinner but skip the most important meal of the day - breakfast. The digestive system is best supported when the diet consist of consuming small but frequent meals early in the day and avoiding heavy meals in the evenings especially before sleeping. Other good habits are chewing food well before swallowing and avoiding hurried eating during stress or emotional moments; these efforts place very little strain on the digestive organs and promote health.
Emotional events can have major impacts on the physical body, and the cause of ulcers in many people is stress, this can come about because of existing internal unresolved conflicts, feeling anger or rage, all forms of fear and emotional frustration that the person experiences as a part of daily living. The presence of stress is often a primary cause of ulcers especially following periods immediately after an operations or an injury experienced by the person.
Supplements and herbs
For optimal benefit and improvement during the treatment of ulcers, the consumption of nutritional supplements should go along with the changes made in diet and lifestyle; such an approach gives the person the best chances of recovery and improvement. Detoxification of the body is achievable through the use of healing clay, this alleviates the pain felt from ulcers and aids in healing ulcers, and the clay is able to absorb the toxic compounds accumulated within the body. The chances of the development of ulcers because of stress is reduced and can often be prevented through the use of supplements of the vitamins A, the vitamins C and the vitamins E, and by supplementation with minerals like the beneficial mineral zinc, supplementation with these nutrients also promotes the healing of ulcers already present in the body of the person. These vitamins play important roles in the body of the ulcer affected person through actions such as improving mucus secretion and through beneficial effects such as the prevention of scarring. Another class of important supplements are the bioflavonoids; these plant based natural compounds enhance the effect of vitamin C and in addition prevent the excess production of acids in the stomach of the patient. Prostaglandins are substances in the body which block inflammation and promote the healing of tissues, these biological compounds are formed from the essential fatty acids, and supplements of the oil of the evening primrose are rich in essential fatty acids and can be used to improve the supply of prostaglandins to the body.
The herbs and herbal remedies given below can be used in the treatment of ulcers, these herbs have a calming effect on the body and increase the rate of healing required to recover from the ulcers.
An herbal tea made from the chamomile can be drunk warm each morning on an empty stomach to bring relief from the pain of an ulcer. A simple physical exercise can help alleviate the painful sensations that are felt during when ulcers act up, one simple exercise is to lie down on your stomach for four minutes, then to roll over to the left side staying in this position for another four minutes, then lie on your back for another four minutes and finally on the right side of the body for the last four minutes. Use this exercise every time the pain appears and keep repeating the exercise for fourteen days at a stretch. The herbal tea made from the chamomile soothes and heals the internal mucosa, besides this it has useful properties such as an anti-inflammatory effect and an ability to deal with spasmodic attacks when the ulcers attack. The healing from ulcers and the alleviation of pain can also be achieved through the consumption of the juice of the aloe vera herb. Prepare the juice of this herb on a daily basis and drink about a tbsp. of the juice each day of the treatment period. Herbals teas can be made from a single herb or a combination of the following herbs to treat ulcers, one to two cups of the herbal tea consumed on a daily basis will be sufficient to heal the ulcers. The herbal tea can be made by boiling a tsp. of the herb or a tsp. of the combination herbs in a single cup of water, strain the resulting liquid and drink as a tea for the treatment of the ulcer. For example a calming effect can be achieved through the consumption of the valerian herb and the St. John's wort herb in a single herbal tea. The irritated mucosa can be soothed through the use of an herbal tea made from the bark of the slippery elm. Tissue restoration and recovery is achievable through the use of an herbal tea made from the comfrey herb. A bactericidal action is one of the benefits of using the barks of the white oak, the red raspberry, or the goldenseal either singly or in a combination herbal tea. Other herbs such as the calamus, the sweetening herb the licorice and the myrrh are able to soothe inflamed tissue and bring about the recovery of destroyed tissue. Symptoms such as stomach pains and cramps are caused by peptic ulcers and such symptoms can be treated using the juice of a whole leaf of aloe vera, which is an active healer of irritated tissues; it also soothes the affected areas. Traditional use has also been made of herbal tea made from the root of the licorice, to treat stomach pains or aches caused by ulcers. It is important to remember that some individuals are prone to have high blood pressure problems because of long-term use of licorice especially if the dosages are very high. A good way to skirt this problem is to the best way to avoid this problem is the use of deglycyrrhizinated licorice (DGL); this form of licorice is available at most health food stores and pharmacies which specialize in natural or traditional products for use in homeopathy. A four-herb combination of the burdock, the Turkish rhubarb, the sheep sorrel and the slippery elm is manufactured by many companies producing traditional or homeopathic products. This combination herbal formula can be used to treat ulcers in along with DGL, with the herbal juice of the aloe vera juice and even with prescription medications; it is also quite effective when used alone.
The following homeopathic remedies can be taken in dosage strengths of 6 or 12c, thrice a day during the treatment period to cure ulcers, dosage strengths of 30c taken once every day can also be used if there are chronic and persistent symptoms. Treatment for about a week is often enough to alleviate the pain felt from ulcers.
Additional things you may do
Sufficient periods of rest and relaxation and warmth are essential during the process of treating ulcers in an individual. Take adequate rest every week, and follow other methods as well, for example apply dry brush massages in the third week of treatment and following this, hot showers, baths and body washes in the fourth week of treatment. Warmth in the digestive system is important during all periods of the treatment and at all times of the day or night though this may not be achievable. Externally use a hot water bottle on the abdominal region or if preferred a hot herbal pack especially following periods immediately after meals, and as often as required throughout the day and nigh if possible. During the treatment period it is very important that you avoid all situations or events that are likely to be stressful in any way, stress aggravates the symptoms and is a major cause of ulcers. Chew food carefully and increase the time spent eating instead of wolfing food down, mealtimes must be carefully planned and must also be regular preferably in a relaxed atmosphere or alone.
Other beneficial herbs