Peptic ulcers are commonly referred to as stomach ulcers. These are painful sores that form in the lining of the small intestine or the stomach. The bacteria Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) is the primary cause of stomach ulcers. Although they can also be brought on by long-term use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines (NSAIDs) or beverages drinking. Stomach cancer, internal bleeding, perforation, and other significant problems, if left untreated, can result from stomach ulcers. However, lifestyle changes can significantly contribute to the management and prevention of stomach ulcers. A gastroenterologist in Karachi talked about a few lifestyle changes that can help in managing stomach ulcers. Let’s discuss them one by one:
1. Quit Smoking
One of the main risk factors for stomach ulcers is smoking. Smoking cigarettes can disturb the lining of the stomach. It also increases stomach acid production, which can exacerbate ulcers. Smoking can also increase the risk of complications and slow the healing of stomach ulcers. Therefore, giving up smoking is one of the most crucial lifestyle adjustments you can do if you have stomach ulcers to manage your disease. You can quit smoking in many ways. These include nicotine replacement therapy and prescription medicines.
2. Avoid Beverages
Beverage consumption can also increase the risk of stomach ulcers and make them worse. These drinks can worsen the symptoms of stomach ulcers by disturbing the stomach lining and raising stomach acid production. Therefore, it is advised that you avoid or consume carbonated drinks within the limit if you have stomach ulcers. If you do decide to consume these drinks, do it in moderation and always with meals to lessen their effects.
3. Eat a Balanced Diet
Your diet has a big impact on how you treat stomach ulcers. Consuming a nutritious diet can help in the healing of stomach ulcers and help stop their recurrence. The following list of foods helps treat stomach ulcers:
Foods high in fiber: Foods high in fiber, like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes, can help to safeguard the stomach lining and lessen inflammation. Moreover, fiber can help in promoting regular bowel movements and prevent constipation, which can exacerbate stomach ulcers.
Lean protein: Lean protein-rich foods like chicken, fish, and tofu can aid in the healing of stomach ulcers. They also help to prevent the loss of muscle mass.
Low-acid foods: Foods with a low acid content, including bananas, melons, and oats, can help in lowering stomach acid production and prevent stomach lining discomfort.
Avoid foods that are spicy and acidic since they can disturb the stomach lining and worsen symptoms of stomach ulcers. Examples of such foods include citrus fruits, tomatoes, and chili peppers. Therefore, if you have stomach ulcers, it is advised that you avoid or consume certain meals within the limit.
4. Reduce stress
Stomach ulcers’ symptoms can be aggravated by stress. Therefore, if you have stomach ulcers, it’s crucial to develop efficient stress management techniques. Following are some methods for lowering stress:
Mindfulness exercises: Focusing on the present moment while accepting your thoughts and feelings without judgment is a key component of mindfulness meditation. It has been demonstrated that mindfulness meditation lowers stress and enhances well-being.
Yoga combines physical postures, breathing exercises, and meditation in its mind-body practice. It enhances physical function and quality of life while reducing stress, anxiety, and sadness.
Exercise: Regular exercise can help in stress reduction and stomach ulcer repair. But it’s important to select low-impact exercises like walking, swimming, or cycling over high-impact ones like running or jumping, which can exacerbate stomach ulcers.
Deep breathing, gradual muscle relaxation, and guided imagery are among relaxation techniques that can help to lower stress and encourage relaxation.
5. Get Enough Rest
The treatment of stomach ulcers depends on getting enough sleep. Lack of sleep can worsen stomach ulcer symptoms. It also raises stress levels and slows recovery. As a result, it is advised that you set a regular sleep routine and try to get 7-8 hours of sleep each night.
6. Take Medicine as Prescribed
To assist you manage your condition if you have stomach ulcers, your doctor may prescribe medication. Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) to lessen the production of stomach acid, histamine receptor blockers (H2 blockers) to lessen the quantity of acid produced by the stomach, and antibiotics to treat the H. pylori infection are some examples of these drugs. It’s important to take these drugs exactly as directed and schedule follow-up visits with your doctor to make sure your treatment is functioning effectively.
Although lifestyle changes can significantly contribute to managing and preventing the recurrence of stomach ulcers. They can also be painful and debilitating conditions. Stomach ulcer management and healing can be aided by giving up smoking, avoiding or limiting beverage use, eating a nutritious diet, etc. It’s crucial to work with your healthcare provider to create a specialized treatment plan according to your requirements and worries. You can increase your quality of life and lower your risk of stomach ulcer complications by making these lifestyle changes and following your treatment plan.