Gastric ulcers are a common ailment in modern life. The contemporary diet with hot spices and chilies and food with a lot of oil are the main causes of ulcers.
The use of too much lemon, an excess of tomato soup or other sour items may be another cause of ulcers. To day’s passion for tomato and chili sauces is asking for trouble, as is the craze for hot garlic soups and a range of spicy non-vegetarian dishes.
Ulcers may arise through the regular use of alcohol, tobacco, cigarettes, bhang and other such toxic items, even leading to death. Home-made or unauthorized alcoholic drinks are especially dangerous where there are existing ulcers. Ulcers, although not in the same league as cancers, can be fatal if not properly treated. Under no circumstances should ulcers, once recognized, be over-looked or ignored.
Problems of excess stomach acid, if not curbed, invite ulcers. Acidity nowadays is a common problem. Many tasty foods produce acidity; also many modern drugs generate acidity as a side effect, so that doctors regularly prescribe acidity tablets (digene) along with the main course of medicine. It is advised that some of the drugs are taken with milk and mostly after meals to avoid acidity. If proper action is not taken against acidity, in the long run it may result in ulcers.
It is not only foods or drink which provokes ulcers. In our daily lives, hypertension, worries, excitement, resentments, changing moods, hot temper and, above all, anger all help to create ulcers. There are many cases of persons eating a bland diet developing ulcers.
Ulcers usually produce dizziness, nausea, vertigo, and severe burning in the digestive system. Sometimes an unsuitable meal may cause vomiting, which provides some relief. The urine may burn and the sufferer feels over-heated. He may show fever. If he suffers from malaria or jaundice, the treatment becomes more difficult.
Sometimes blood is seen in the vomit or stools, a symptom which must be treated seriously. Proper attention must be given to an ulcer at the advanced stage; if ignored, it could lead to a painful death.
A person with a long history of acidity or heart-burn can reasonably suspect the presence of ulcer in his body. The doctor may well make the diagnosis from the symptoms. If there is any doubt, he will recommend further tests, a barium meal or an endoscope if need arises. A pathologist is unable to ascertain hyperacidity or an ulcer in the laboratory.
There is also a simple test which can be carried out by the patient himself at home. He should drink two bottles of any mild soft drink at night just before going to bed. In the morning, the first thing he should do is to check his urine. If an ulcer is present, the sugar from the cold drink will show up in the urine. If not, he is safe. This is not as reliable as the barium meal test or an endoscope, but it may work as a guideline when these other methods are not available. It may not work with diabetic patients.
Endoscope involves passing an illuminated flexible-optical instrument down the mouth and into the stomach to view the lining.
In the barium meal test, the patient is required to swallow a milky solution of barium sulfate, which shows abnormalities under x-ray. This test is carried out on an empty stomach. The acidic patient may feel nauseous because of this. He may carry with him some sweet fruits to eat immediately the test is over. The radiologist would advise accordingly.
It is not advisable to drive immediately after the test. And heavy food should not be taken after reaching home. The patient should take light food, not fried and without hot spices. Sweet fruits are best.
The barium test will reveal the site and the type of ulcer, i.e. peptic or duodenal ulcer. In the case of a gastric ulcer, the treatment differs from that of acidic ulcer, especially in allopathic and Ayurvedic treatments. In Naturopathy diet control and plenty of milk, preferably goat’s milk, can overcome both types of ulcers. There is no medicine given and the cure is faster and easier and, of course, very economical. In the absence of goat’s milk, cow’s milk, properly boiled and cooled, can be effective, but not buffalo milk, as it is heavy in protein and acidic.
Soft, ripened bananas are very effective in ulcers. Pure cow’s milk and ghee products are also healing agents. Ice creams, milkshakes and sweet cold drinks will help, too. Though ripe pineapple or its juice may sound sour, it works with ulcers. Similarly, any product of Amla is quite beneficial. It would be a problem only if the patient is diabetic. In that case he should avoid all sugary items.
Any types of ulcers can be controlled by diet. If a patient can stay on milk, milk products and sweet fruits, especially bananas, for about three to six months, he will be totally cured, without for hospitalization or surgery. A permanent cure lies in his own hands.