Dr Russ Blog - Ulcers, Medicines and Options
Ulcers, Medicines and Options
Created on 8/24/2012
L sent in a good question about peptic ulcer disease (PUD) - a disorder where ulcers develop in the lining of the esophagus, stomach or small intestine, often as a result of damage from stomach acid.
But there are other causes, including:
- infection with a specific bacteria called Helicobacter pylori
- frequent use of aspirin and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agents
And contributing factors include the frequent use of alcohol, significant psychosocial stress, and smoking.
The presence of an ulcer in the digestive tract is usually identified through either an x-ray study or a procedure called endoscopy (where the doctor provides medication to gently put you to sleep and then uses a thin tube to look down into your digestive tract).
Once a diagnosis of peptic ulcer disease has been established, conventional medical care is typically indicated, either to rid the gastrointestinal tract of the Helicobacter pylori or to reduce levels of digestive acids in the area, thereby lessening the risk of further damage.
You may want to address the disorder without medication, perhaps through a healthy diet, stress management, and even the use of carefully selected suppements. But that may not be the safest route, at least initially.
GI tract ulcers can grow bigger, and some can transform into something worse than an ulcer if not treated appropriately.
Talk with your doctor about why medication might be needed, and if needed for how long. It may well be that you only require conventional medical treatment for a few months.
Integrative healthcare promotes the idea that you shouldn't have to choose between conventional medical care, and complementary and alternative therapies - rather than "either / or", often times the right answer is "and".
Use the best of conventional medical care where appropriate, and also use similarly appropriate complements to that care (dietary changes, etc) to help keep you well and lessen your need for the medication in the future.
Sometimes conventional medical care really is the best option, at least initially.
Thanks for a good question, L. Be well.
** Information on this web site is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional. You should not use the information on this web site for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication or other treatment. **
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