Peptic ulcer, known since antiquity, is a disease with chronic development which causes activation and remission periods. The pathogenesis of peptic ulcer is characterized by the imbalance between the factors that damage the mucosa (such as chloride acid, pepsin, and ulcerogenic drugs) and those which protect it (such as mucosal barrier, prostaglandins, and mucosal secretion) resulting in a lesion on the lining of the upper digestive tract. Excessive gastric acid secretion is the crucial factor responsible in the pathogenesis of peptic ulcer disease.
Clinical manifestations of peptic ulcer disease are characterized by epigastric discomfort, burning sensation, and severe and continuous pain, which tends to turn worse at night. The pain usually affects one to three hours after eating and may be followed by nausea, vomiting, discomfort in the gastrointestinal tract, flatulence, and a significant loss of body weight.
You need to learn that peptic ulcer disease has been one of the most prevalent diseases in the world, and some of its complications have been the major causes of morbidity and mortality.
It is predominantly found in males between 30 and 60 years of age, but it can happen at any age.
Causes Of Peptic Ulcer:
The peptic ulcer has a multifactor etiology. Some of the factors responsible for the development of peptic ulcer disease are as follows.
- Environmental elements such as alcohol and nicotine substances
- Genetic factors can influence, and children of parents with duodenal ulcer are three times more likely to have ulcer than the population.
- Helicobacter pylori (H. Pylori): This is the greatest risk factor for stomach cancer, which is the second deadliest cancer worldwide
- Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDS)
- Gastrinoma (Zollinger-Ellison Syndrome)
- Diet – Certain dietary choices can make things worse.
Along with the medicines, diet plays a key role in the prevention and treatment of peptic ulcer, particularly in the recovering and protecting the gastrointestinal lining, improving digestion, relieving pain, and contributing to satisfactory nutritional status.
So, for planning a more specific and safe treatment, it is important to investigate the individual’s nutritional status and consider whether the patient has any associated pathology.
Diet For Peptic Ulcer:
1. Food Fibers
A diet rich in fibers is advisable for the individuals with a peptic ulcer because fibers act as buffers reducing concentrations of bile acids in the stomach and the intestinal transit time. Thus, it helps minimize abdominal bloating and reduces discomfort and pain in the gastrointestinal tract. Here are some food fibers which your diet may comprise.
- Soluble fibers, found in apple, oatmeal, and pear
- Insoluble fibers (whole grains, granola, flaxseed)
2. Probiotics in yoghurt reduce the infection rate by H. pylori and also increases the resistance of pathogenic bacteria to antibiotics.
3. Avoid substances that can potentiate peptic ulcer, symptoms such as alcohol, coffee, even decaffeinated coffee, and betel nut, as it raises gastric acid production resulting in mucosal irritations.
4. Vitamin B12 deficiency is common in patients with peptic ulcer due to the prolonged use of antacids, making the bioavailability of this vitamin difficult, thereby resulting in impaired cell division and megaloblastic anemia.
Vitamin B12 can be obtained from animal foods, such as milk, meat, and eggs. So, you can add these foods to your diet.
5. Also, the absorption of folic acid can be impaired in patients who make chronic use of aluminum-based antacids. It can be obtained from leguminous foods, such as lentils and meats.
6. Antacids can also diminish the absorption of iron causing iron-deficiency anemia. Iron can be supplied by the ingestion of meats (the main source of heme iron) and beans (non-heme iron) as (100g meat = 1kg beans). The intake of fruit juices comprising vitamin C increases the non-heme iron absorption from your diet.
7. In addition, to protein, fibers and Vitamin B, Vitamin C, and Vitamin A supplements can be used with specific micronutrients, such as zinc, selenium to accelerate the healing process and to maintain the immune system function.
8. Water is essential for hydration.
We have summarized the list of foods below that are allowed, prohibited and should be avoided by people with peptic ulcer.
- Foods Which Are Allowed To Include In The Diet Of People With Peptic Ulcer
- Low-fat milk, low-fat cheeses, yoghurt, fermented milk
- Flaxseed, Brazilian nut, walnuts
- Vegetable oils, olive oil
- Fruits, such as Apple, papaya, melon, banana, and berries
- Leafy dark green vegetables, carrot, beet, green bean, spinach, kale, radish, zucchini, leek, and celery
- Bean soup, lentils, chickpeas, and soybean
- Lean meats (mutton, chicken, and fish)
- Foods To Eat With Caution
- Fatty cheeses (mascarpone, cream cheese, and gorgonzola)
- Fruits, such as orange, pineapple, acerola, and passion fruit
- Vegetables, such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, cucumber, onion, and red pepper
- Fatty meats, organ meats, and sausages
- Concentrated sweets
- Citrus/acidic fruit juices
- Industrialized seasonings, spices, and condiments (Ketchup, mayonnaise, and mustard)
- Foods That Are Prohibited
- Fried foods
- Processed foods
- Beef and pork
- Spicy peppers (black pepper, chillies)
- Chocolates and sugar
- Coffee, black tea, and fizzy/cola drinks
- Mustard grain
It is not only important what you eat but how you eat is equally important as that has a crucial bearing on the etiology of ulcer. Gulped and hurried meals may produce minor trauma in the mucosa but, if adequate salivary secretions are present in the food due to the capacity of saliva to accelerate coagulation, these minor injuries will heal.
So, to maximize the benefits of the diet,
- Have foods that cannot be gulped down but need to be chewed and require thorough mastication and aids salivation before swallowing are essential for health. E.g. Roti made from a mixture of wheat and gram flours, Rice which involves long frying found in dishes like pulao or biryani.
- Rather than having three large meals, consume five or six smaller meals throughout the day. Eating smaller amounts of food can boost stomach healing by reducing the effects of stomach acids.
- Reduce stress by engaging in activities, such as yoga, meditation, art therapy, etc. which boost healing by improving the immune system.
Homeopathic approach in treating a patient with peptic ulcer disease involves the evaluation of the complaint and discomfort in detail while taking into account individual-specific factors, such as one’s personal and family history while planning a long-term treatment. Since the treatment targets the root cause of the disease, homeopathy offers long-term relief instead of temporary relief. It treats your health condition at a deeper level of immunity and enhances the healing capacity of the body and can also help to prevent the possible complications of peptic ulcers.
Following a balanced and nutritious diet by eating the right foods and following certain healthy lifestyle habits along with the homeopathic medicines are crucial in the treatment of peptic ulcer, as it helps in preventing, treating, and, also, alleviating the symptoms and discomforts involved in the pathology of the disease.
-Written by Dr. Falak K., Associate doctor to Dr. Rajesh Shah