Treatment Options for Ulcers that Actually Work

According to the CDC, an estimated 3 million American adults are currently living with a digestive disease, which includes ulcerative colitis (UC). This painful condition not only affects the quality of life but can also lead to more serious conditions, like cancer.

Thankfully, there are several treatment options available for ulcers and even ulcerative colitis. Options that many people discuss with their doctor include the following…

1. Antibiotics

The bacteria H. pylori is the culprit behind the vast majority of ulcer cases. As such, antibiotics are one of the most common remedies for ulcers. These antibiotics often come with mild side effects such as tiredness or diarrhea.

Several types of antibiotics can be used to treat this infection, but amoxicillin is one of the most common options. This treatment only works for mild, bacterial ulcers, though. It will not treat ulcerative colitis, which is a more complicated disorder.

Unlike its more mild cousin, ulcerative colitis needs to be treated with more potent medication…

2. Immunosuppressive Drugs

Ulcerative colitis is classified as an autoimmune disorder, meaning it causes your immune system to falsely identify parts of your own body as if it was an infectious disease. Your body then sends its immune system to fight part of itself.

Immunosuppressive drugs, therefore, intentionally weaken the immune system, which serves to combat the worst effects of autoimmune diseases. While taking these drugs, your ulcerative colitis symptoms should dissipate. If improperly managed, though, these drugs can cause your immune system to weaken too much, which can lead to serious infections. 

Another medical treatment to consider for ulcers? Anti-inflammatory drugs…

3. Anti-inflammatory Drugs

Ulcers, whether they are caused by bacteria or ulcerative colitis, result in inflammation of the affected tissues. This inflammation goes on to cause discomfort and potentially make the ulcers worse. As a result, many doctors prescribe anti-inflammatory drugs to treat this issue.

These drugs lower the intensity of inflammation people experience with ulcers, like nausea, swelling, and general discomfort.

Anti-inflammatory drugs can also be prescribed alongside a variety of other medications. 

If medications don’t cure ulcers or make them manageable, people can turn to a more serious option…

4. Surgery

Surgery is an extreme treatment option for severe cases of ulcerative colitis (UC). These surgeries can often totally eliminate the condition but require part or all of the lower intestine and rectum to be removed.  

Ulcerative colitis is an autoimmune disease that damages colon tissue. In some extreme cases, the best treatment is to remove the damaged area. This treatment involves ileal pouch-anal anastomosis, a procedure that takes part of the small intestine and turns that into a pouch. Surgeons then attach this pouch to the anus. This surgery removes the need for an ileal stoma, which would collect stool in an external bag. 

For a less invasive treatment option, talk to your doctor about the following…

5. Dietary Changes

Because your diet plays such a vital role in physical and mental health, some people change their diets to help reduce ulcer symptoms.

Foods that are already highly acidic can aggravate ulcers. Such gastric ulcer foods to avoid include:

  • citrus juices
  • products that are high in vinegar

Alternatively, foods to eat with stomach ulcers include less acidic fruits and veggies. These foods can even be considered foods that heal stomach ulcers.

Changing your diet, of course, is part of the bigger picture of changing your lifestyle to manage ulcers, as the following suggests…

6. Lifestyle Changes

Our lifestyles have a direct impact on our health and well-being. That means there are plenty of things you can change to help reduce the severity of your ulcer symptoms and speed up your recovery. One of the biggest things you can do? Quit smoking. Smoking is bad for your health in general, but also bad for ulcers. Specifically, smoking can weaken the immune system and make the stomach lining more prone to infection.

Other positive changes can include exercise, being outdoors, and the following…

7. Stress Reduction

Excessive stress has a way of eating at our body’s natural defenses. Reducing your stress levels is therefore one of the best remedies for ulcers.

Stress can weaken the immune system as well as cause chaos in our digestive system. Both of these issues can worsen ulcer symptoms. For a stomach ulcer home remedy, try drinking more water throughout the day, while maintaining a healthy diet.

Stress acts like an acid that eats away at our well-being; however, there are also literal acids that can make ulcers worse…

8. Antacids

Antacids are an over-the-counter medication designed to counteract stomach acids. This medication is a popular choice for stomach ulcer treatment. 

Ulcers are small sores in the stomach. As such, they can be aggravated by the acids our digestive system naturally produces; antacids help to relieve this pain and discomfort.

It should be noted that this option is only ever a temporary solution. If you suspect you have ulcers or ulcerative colitis, you should get in touch with your doctor to work on a long-lasting treatment.

A more potent treatment your doctor might suggest? Keep reading…

9. Proton Pump Inhibitors 

Proton pump inhibitors are a medication that causes your stomach to produce less acid. These medications are prescribed for a variety of conditions, including ulcers.

People with ulcers have damaged stomach lining that is more vulnerable to these natural acids. Proton pump inhibitors lower the acid production in the stomach and therefore help to relieve some of the worst ulcer symptoms. 

Another treatment option includes changing your medication…

10. NSAID Alternatives

NSAIDs are a common over-the-counter pain reliever that can also cause stomach problems. Specifically, they can aggravate ulcers and even lead to dangerous stomach bleeding. If you have frequent ulcers or ulcerative colitis, your doctor will help you find alternatives to these medicines.

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