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Living with an Ulcer: Dietary Tips to Remember

Living with an Ulcer: Dietary Tips to Remember

Life with ulcer can be quite challenging, but it is definitely manageable through the right lifestyle habits and dietary intervention. What is the best ulcer diet?

The Best Ulcer Diet Depends on the Individual

Peptic ulcers are sores that develop either inside the stomach or the small intestine. In some cases, they can also develop in the esophagus.

Gastric ulcers are peptic ulcers that develop inside the stomach. While duodenal ulcers form in the upper part of the small intestine.

It’s important to note that duodenal ulcer stomach pain usually happens on an empty stomach. And eating usually eases the discomfort. While gastric ulcers usually start to hurt after eating.

There is really no uniform diet in reality that eliminates ulcers completely without the aid of some medication or treatment.

An ulcer diet in itself will not replace treatment, although it can help minimize symptoms or discomfort.

Initially, Ulcer Diet Therapy is Trial and Error

Since diet therapy is highly individualized, it’s naturally experimental at the beginning of one’s journey in managing ulcers.

It’s all about knowing your triggers and discovering it as you go along. The pH level of foods does not affect the stomach, contrary to popular belief.

Those with ulcers do need to be keen during the onset of symptoms and may even benefit from keeping a food diary daily to check if certain foods are aggravating the peptic ulcers. You will find certain foods will cause your stomach to react wildly while it can cause minimal effect to other people with ulcers.

The Best Ulcer Diet: Avoid Fatty Foods, Caffeine, and Alcohol

Despite the individualized approach, there are food groups that are popular triggers of ulcers.

In general, foods containing fat, caffeine, or alcohol are agents of destruction for someone with a peptic ulcer.

Foods with a lot of fat tend to stay in the stomach a little longer than other types of foods.

Some fatty foods overstay in the stomach, causing discomfort.

Make Sure to Eat on Schedule

An empty stomach leads to the production of more dormant acids inside the stomach without any food to properly digest it.

The timing of eating also matters. Eating too much food before bedtime stimulates acid production and can disrupt your much-needed sleep at night.

Drinking milk every few hours also helps reduce the pain; this is a popular home remedy for an ulcer attack.

Stress and Emotional Eating can Aggravate Ulcer

Stress (and stress eating) can make an ulcer much worse. Emotional eating can of their intake and at the same time, the extra stress from a circumstance or situation can worsen existing ulcer symptoms.

The approach towards healing ulcers is therefore holistic. You cannot just treat it as a purely physical disease. There are mental factors to consider and having too much stress at work or in your personal life can also affect how long it will take to heal your ulcers.

Risk Factors

A highly acidic stomach does not guarantee ulcers. There are people who have a higher risk of having ulcers: those who are infected with Helicobacter pylori and those who are taking NSAID medications or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like Aspirin and Ibuprofen.

Peptic ulcers are the most common type of ulcers in the stomach. Gastric ulcers (stomach) and duodenal ulcers (intestinal) both cause excruciating pain to patients who have it. It’s an open sore that is usually seen in a procedure called the upper endoscopy.

The St. Thomas Medical Group Gastroentorology Endoscopy Center also lists smoking and alcoholism as additional risk factors.

Alcohol ruins the protective lining of the stomach which makes it more prone to wounding while smoking aggravates Helicobacter pylori’s risk factors.

Those who are also aged 50 and up and who have lung and kidney issues are also more prone to developing ulcers, according to Manhattan Gastroenterology.

Typical Treatments are Acid Suppressants

Some ulcers are manageable at home and some are really serious. Treatment of ulcers usually involves some form of suppressants of the excess acid in the stomach that’s causing the peptic ulcers.

If there’s bleeding, additional medical intervention is provided and it’s treated as an emergency case especially if it also includes episodes of lightheadedness, vomiting of blood, bleeding, and passing out.

Key Takeaways

Knowing facts and scientifically based research on ulcer treatment is better than relying on old wives’ tales.

Study your own ulcer by eliminating your unique food triggers in your diet and trust the gastroenterologists who published a lot of work about the role of diet and medication in ulcer treatment.

Learn more about Digestive Health here.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.


Diet Therapy of Peptic Ulcer Disease https://www.gastrojournal.org/article/S0016-5085(77)80166-2/pdf?referrer=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.gastrojournal.org%2Farticle%2FS0016-5085%2877%2980166-2%2Ffulltext Accessed 6 June 2020

Peptic Ulcers Doctor NYC https://www.manhattangastroenterology.com/conditions/peptic-ulcer-disease/ Accessed 6 June 2020

Peptic Ulcer Disease – American College of Gastroenterology – https://gi.org/topics/peptic-ulcer-disease/ Accessed 6 June 2020

St. Thomas Medical Group Gastroenterology and Endoscopy Center – https://stmg.org/peptic-ulcer-disease-pud/ Accessed 6 June 2020

6 Things I Learned About Ulcers https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/13/well/eat/6-things-i-learned-about-ulcers.html Accessed 6 June 2020

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Written by Den Alibudbud Updated Jul 06
Medically reviewed by Jobelle Ann Dela Cruz Bigalbal, M.D.