Lifestyle Changes to Manage Peptic Ulcer Disease
Now that H. pylori has been identified as a major cause of peptic ulcers, the usefulness of making certain lifestyle changes (stress reduction, diet) has been called into question. Still, some lifestyle changes may decrease your production of stomach acid, decrease your susceptibility to peptic ulcers, and help you control your symptoms. And smoking cessation is considered essential in reducing the development and symptoms of peptic ulcers.
- ]]>Stop smoking.]]>
- ]]>Don’t abuse alcohol.]]>
- ]]>Cut back on caffeinated beverages and foods, as well as acidic fruit juices.]]>
- ]]>Cut back on spicy, heavy foods, if you find they increase your stomach discomfort.]]>
- ]]>Learn to manage stress in your life.]]>
Managing Peptic Ulcers
]]> Stop Smoking]]>
Some studies show that cigarette smokers have a higher risk of peptic ulcers. These studies have also shown that ulcers in cigarette smokers heal more slowly and have a greater chance of recurring. If you smoke, talk to your healthcare provider about ways to help yourself stop.
Very heavy alcohol use has been linked to an increased risk of peptic ulcers. Drinking alcohol while you are taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can greatly increase your risk of stomach irritation and peptic ulcer development. Alcohol may also worsen your symptoms if you already have a peptic ulcer.
If you consume caffeinated and acidic foods and drinks (such as coffee, orange juice, or tomato products), you may develop some degree of stomach irritation. This can make you more susceptible to infection with H. pylori and the development of peptic ulcers. Furthermore, if you already have a peptic ulcer, you may find that heavily caffeinated, acidic foods and beverages are irritating to your stomach.
While cutting back on heavily spiced foods is no longer believed to protect you from developing a peptic ulcer, you may find that these foods make your symptoms worse. If you notice stomach irritation after eating spicy foods, try to avoid them until your ulcer has healed.
Stress is no longer thought to be responsible for the development of peptic ulcers. However, learning to manage the stress in your life may be helpful if you have stomach pain when your stress level gets too high.
When to Contact Your Doctor
Always call your doctor if:
- Symptoms don’t improve or recur with treatment
- Symptoms get worse despite treatment
- You notice new symptoms.
American College of Gastroenterology website. Available at: http://www.acg.gi.org/ . Accessed March 3, 2006.
Cecil RL, Goldman L, Bennett JC. Cecil Textbook of Medicine . 21st ed. Philadelphia, PA: WB Saunders Company; 2000.
Meurer LN, Bower DJ. Management of helicobacter pylori infection. Am Fam Physician [online]. Apr 2002;65(7). Available at: http://www.aafp.org/afp/20020401/1327.html.
National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse website. Available at:. http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ . Accessed March 3, 2006.
Last reviewed June 2008 by ]]>Daus Mahnke, MD]]>
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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