20 Myths About Peptic Ulcers Busted

Peptic ulcers are the more technical term for what is commonly known as stomach ulcers. The symptoms range in severity, while some people experience excruciating pain, others feel almost nothing. By definition, ulcers are open sores that do not heal quickly. There are two types of peptic ulcers, gastric ulcers (inside the stomach) and duodenal ulcers (on the lining of the upper part of the intestines).

Peptic ulcers are known to be caused by a bacterial infection (usually the bacterium Helicobacter pylori). Using nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as aspirin, Advil or Motrin (ibuprofen), and Aleve (naproxen), which can wear away at the mucus layer of the digestive tract.

Ulcers are a common medical condition in Nigeria. It has been characterized by many things; acid, imbalance, bacteria, infection, burst sores or digestive problems. The complexities of the illness have caused different misconceptions that people take as facts. These myths and inaccurate beliefs can affect the effective treatment of peptic ulcers.

Stress causes peptic ulcers

False. Stress alone does not cause peptic ulcers, but it can be a contributing factor. Stress is a normal body response so it is ready for danger or threat. It is essential for your well-being to have healthy coping strategies for stress. Though it does not cause peptic ulcers, it does worsen the symptoms of the ulcers.

Spicy food causes peptic ulcers

False. Spicy food does not burn a hole in your stomach lining. Though for a long time it was seen that way, it is not the cause of an ulcer. Studies have shown that in some people it does not affect existing ulcers, while in others it does irritate them. If it does cause discomfort when a person has ulcers, it is best to avoid spicy foods.

Foods high in fat and sugar cause peptic ulcers

False. While having a diet full of fast food is unhealthy, it will not cause a stomach ulcer. They can make an ulcer worse and its symptoms worsen. If a person does have ulcers, it is best to avoid fatty foods.

Overeating carbohydrates causes peptic ulcers

False. Like many of the other foods that have been mentioned, carbs or carbohydrates do not cause stomach ulcers. It is best to avoid them if an ulcer is present, as they make it worse.

Citrus fruits are bad for ulcers

This is not true most of the time. Citrus fruits are acidic, so people think they can make ulcers worse. There is no evidence that citrus fruits have any effect on ulcers. However, if taking them does cause ulcers to worsen, then a person should avoid them.

Milk can heal ulcers

False. Milk cannot heal ulcers and does not relieve the pain that results from them. Cold or warm milk can not even prevent ulcers from coming about. Though milk may provide temporary relief, it can make things worse by causing the stomach to produce more acid.

Alcohol causes peptic ulcers

False. Alcohol is not known to directly cause ulcers. It may not bring them about, but it does put a person at a higher risk of developing a peptic ulcer. Drinking alcohol does aggravate ulcers and even delays their healing.

Wine heals peptic ulcers

False. While wine does not heal ulcers, a moderate intake can protect a person from the ulcer-forming bacteria, Helicobacter pylori. If a person does have ulcers, it is best to avoid drinking alcohol.

Carbonated drinks cause ulcers

False. Coca-cola, Pepsi or whatever your preferred carbonated drink is do not cause ulcers. These drinks can have an effect once an ulcer is present, soft drinks or soda cause acid secretion in the stomach which can make the ulcers and their symptoms worse.

Black tea is good for ulcers

False. While black tea is known to soothe an upset stomach and is effective in treating diarrhoea, it can worsen the symptoms of peptic ulcers. It should be on the list of foods and beverages to avoid when you have peptic ulcers. Black tea has been discovered to bring relief to alcohol-related stomach ulcers.

Turmeric heals ulcers

False. Turmeric has been known to heal a variety of conditions. Research done on whether turmeric does heal stomach ulcers is not definitive. However, it does not seem like it does help to treat ulcers. Some studies have shown that in some cases it actually makes ulcers worse.

Ginger can treat ulcers

False. Ginger has been known to bring relief to a variety of stomach issues. It is helpful when it comes to bloating and nausea. It does alleviate some of the symptoms of ulcers. However, it does not treat peptic ulcers.

Smoking causes ulcers

False. Smoking does not cause ulcers, however, smokers are more likely to develop peptic ulcers than non-smokers. This is because cigarettes interfere with the body’s natural protective mechanisms against stomach acid. Smoking worsens the symptoms of ulcers and can even delay their healing.

Depression and Anxiety cause peptic ulcers

False. Depression and anxiety do increase the risk of a person getting peptic ulcers. Due to the stress associated with these conditions, they can aggravate the symptoms of ulcers.

Stomach acid causes peptic ulcers

False. Stomach acid contributes to the delicate balance that is required in the stomach. This acid is used for digestion and other protection measures in the stomach. There is a secretion of mucus to protect the lining of the stomach from the acid. Other factors can affect this lining. This leads to the acid coming into contact with the lining of the stomach which then can cause ulcers. However, increased acidity in the stomach alone does not lead to ulcers. In fact, many people with ulcers have normal stomach acid levels.

The only symptoms for peptic ulcers are stomach pain, vomiting and bloating

False. Ulcers have a number of signs and symptoms. This can even include frequently feeling hungry, lack of appetite, unexpected weight loss, relief in stomach pain after eating, indigestion and constant burping. The symptoms and their severity can differ over time.

Gastritis and ulcers are the same things

False. Both gastritis and ulcers inflame the stomach and intestine lining but they are not the same thing. Gastritis is an inflammation of the stomach due to a number of causes. The two even have similar symptoms like abdominal pain, vomiting and weight loss. Gastritis can lead to ulcers.

Some people just have peptic ulcers while others don’t

False. Peptic ulcers are usually caused by bacteria called Helicobacter pylori. It is possible for this bacteria to be transmitted from person to person and through water contaminated with this bacteria.

Ulcers can’t be cured completely

False. People assume they have ulcers and never get the necessary test to confirm a diagnosis. When left untreated, it can cause severe discomfort and other health problems. Ulcers can be treated completely and cured with medication and adherence to restriction

There is no lab test to check for peptic ulcers

Absolutely false. If you suspect that you may have a stomach ulcer, getting a lab test is a good way to be sure. It is not necessary to just deal with the pain and other symptoms when they come. A diagnosis is necessary so that definitive treatment can follow.

Looking for where to get tested for a peptic ulcer? Healthracka offers a Peptic ulcer test, click on the link below to book an appointment.

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