Monday, September 27, 2010

Stomach ulcer causes and prevention

Stomach ulcers (peptic ulcers) has many causes that can be prevented in most of the cases. However, there might not be one single definite cause but instead, a group of causes and risk factors share together in the formation of gastric and duodenal ulcers either through increasing the gastric acid secretion or by damaging the mucosa of the stomach. Here are some of the causes of stomach ulcers (peptic ulcers include gastric and duodenal ulcers, the mechanism is different in each type):

  • Diet can have a very important role in formation of stomach ulcers specially irritant foods such as spices, spirits and alcohol. Coffee, tea and cola also can weaken the protective layer on the gastric mucosa and delay the healing of ulcers.

    It is important for every ulcer patient to avoid these types of food (in addition to the medication), this is a major part of the treatment plan.
    Deficiency of vitamin A and C is another factor that delays the healing of the ulcer.

  • Some drug are known to have a damaging effect on the epithelium lining the stomach such as Aspirin and other NSAIDs (Non Steroidal Ant-iinflammatory Drugs) and can also worsen the ulcer and cause more complications such as perforation.
  • Smoking has also an irritating effect as it leads to reflux of bile into the stomach.
  • Genetic predisposition also plays a role as peptic ulcers are common in some families.
  • Stress and psychological disturbances are important in the process of ulcer formation specially in personality type-A persons. Vagal stimulation in over-stressed person causes an increase of gastric acid secretion favoring ulcer formation.
  • It is also said that stomach ulcers are more likely to occur in blood group "O" individuals and those with family history of peptic ulcers.

Stomach ulcers prevention:

As you can see, most of the causes are easily preventable if you can change your dietary habits and pay more attention to you eat. Avoid eating so much irritant foods (spicy food, alcohol, etc) and the drugs known to cause peptic ulcers. It is also better to divide your meals into 3-4 small meals if you are having symptoms of indigestion and fullness. Also, don't forget to avoid unnecessary stress and learn how to relax and cope better with life stresses and troubles.

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