Five wrong beliefs about Ulcer

A person suffering from stomach pain used to illustrate the story. [Photo credit: The Nation]

Ulcers have become one of the most common medical conditions suffered by many Nigerians.

Many sufferers dismiss it as an everyday ailment and therefore rely on self medication without knowing ulcers can pose serious health risks if not treated early and properly.

While every disease has its own peculiar complexities, ulcers are by far one of the most misunderstood health conditions because there are several complex mechanisms involved in the digestive system.

The formation of ulcers is complex and intricate. An injury to the digestive linings immediately exposes the underlining tissues to harsh and strong enzymes. A prolonged exposure leads to development of wounds, finally causing ulcerous formation in the region.

There are various types of ulcers but stomach ulcers are the most common. According to the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearing house (NDDIC), If ulcers are found in the stomach, they’re gastric ulcers.

Stomach ulcers are commonly caused by Helicobacter pylori, a type of bacteria that can infect your stomach.

With many myths, confusion and wrong beliefs surrounding stomach Ulcers, here are 5 common facts placed against myths about the disease.

Myth 1: Spicy food is the primary cause for stomach ulcer.

Fact: Spicy foods is yet to be proven as the primary cause of stomach ulcer. However, if you already have ulcers in your stomach linings, consuming an extremely spicy diet can lead to aggravation of the existing disease condition. Therefore, it is important for you to understand that spicy foods are only responsible for making the disease condition worse but are not responsible for triggering ulcer formation.

Myth 2: Ulcers are caused by stress and anxiety.

Fact: Stress can aggravate an existing medical condition but it alone can’t cause ulcers. Stress is not only a psychological condition but it too affects how our body works. Our heart rate increases and our gastric juices become active. If you have an existing ulcer it can make the condition worse by interacting with open wounds in the stomach. As stress increases, ulcer pain worsens. This is why avoiding stress when a person is suffering from ulcer is advised.

Myth 3: Stomach ulcer is not treatable.

Fact: When diagnosed early, stomach ulcer is very much treatable. Treatment depends on the cause and how holistic sufferers follow up with their mediation.

It is important for you to complete the course even if you feel better. Discontinuing the medications midway will lead to recurrence of bacterial infection, making the condition worse.

If using drugs like ibuprofen, aspirin, etc. is the causative factor, discuss with your doctor appropriately and keep him informed about your medicinal condition to receive alternative medications that do not have the same effect as these drugs in your body.

It is wise to avoid Smoking and drinking alcohol during the course of your treatment because they bring about various degenerative changes in your body, including aggravation of stomach ulcers. They release several harmful and irritating substances that damage the linings of the digestive tract, increasing the chances of ulcer development.

Myth 4: Milk can heal Ulcers

Fact: Milk can counteract the effects of spices and lessen its effects for people suffering from ulcers. Milk can provide temporary relief from the effects of ulcers but is not a treatment. Milk by nature is alkaline which can neutralize stomach acids. It is strongly suggested that people suffering from ulcers consult their doctor and never self-medicate.

Myth 5: Smoking does not cause Ulcers

Fact: Being a smoker increases your risks for many medical conditions including ulcers. Smoke irritates and inflames sensitive inner linings. It impedes normal blood circulation that can cause fine blood vessels in the stomach lining to erode. Smoking also impedes the normal healing process.

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