What are the fastest ways to cure a stomach ulcer? The question of what is the fastest way to cure a stomach ulcer can be confusing for anyone who has ever had a stomach ulcer before. A simple google search for what is the fastest way to cure a stomach ulcer can yield some scary results. There’s even a chance that you’ve already tried one of those “cures” on this list. Stomach ulcers, also known as gastric ulcers, are sores that develop in your stomach lining. Usually caused by factors like stress, diet, or taking more than the recommended dose of painkillers for a long time. They can occur inside the stomach, but most commonly take place at the bottom of the stomach lining where it’s exposed to acid during digestion.
Symptoms of stomach ulcers
Although the most common symptom of a stomach ulcer is a burning or gnawing pain in the centre of the abdomen (tummy). Not all stomach ulcers are painful.
Some people experience:
- nausea (feeling sick)
You should speak to your GP if you think you have a stomach ulcer.
Get urgent medical advice
Speak to your GP immediately (or phone the 111 service) if:
- your symptoms persist
- you’re vomiting blood – the blood can appear bright red or have a dark brown, grainy appearance like coffee grounds
- you’re passing dark, sticky, tar-like stools
- you feel a sudden, sharp pain in your tummy that gets steadily worse
These could be a sign of a serious complication.
What causes stomach ulcers?
Stomach ulcers occur when the layer protecting the stomach lining from stomach acid breaks down. This allows the stomach lining to become damaged.
This is usually caused by:
- an infection with Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) bacteria
- taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen or aspirin – particularly if they’re taken for a long time or at high doses
There’s little evidence that stress or certain foods causes stomach ulcers.
What Are the Treatments for an Ulcer?
You shouldn’t treat an ulcer on your own without first seeing your doctor. Over-the-counter antacids and acid blockers may ease some or all of the pain, but the relief is always short-lived. With a doctor’s help, you can find an end to ulcer pain as well as a lifelong cure for it.
The chief goals of ulcer treatment are reducing the amount of acid in the stomach and strengthening the protective lining that comes in direct contact with stomach acids. If your ulcer is caused by bacterial infection, your doctor will also treat that.
Medications are usually used to treat mild-to-moderate ulcers.
- Antibiotics. If your ulcer is caused by H. pylori bacteria, antibiotics can cure the ulcer. Usually, the doctor will prescribe triple or quadruple therapy, which combines several antibiotics with heartburn drugs.
- Triple therapy combines two antibiotics, such as amoxicillin and clarithromycin, with a proton pump inhibitor. The doctor can substitute metronidazole (Flagyl) for amoxicillin if you’re allergic to penicillin. If you’ve had repeated bouts of these antibiotics, or if you live in an area where there’s resistance to clarithromycin or metronidazole, quadruple therapy treatment with two antibiotics (like metronidazole and tetracycline) plus bismuth and a proton-pump inhibitor works best. No matter what the plan is, you should take all medications for 10-14 days.
- Proton pump inhibitors. PPIs are acid reducers. These medications include esomeprazole (Nexium) and omeprazole (Prilosec).
- H2 blockers. These medicines are also called histamine receptor blockers or H2-receptor antagonists. They block a natural chemical called histamine, which tells your stomach to make acid. H2 blockers include cimetidine (Tagamet), famotidine (Pepcid), and nizatidine (Axid).
- Bismuth. This medication covers the ulcer and protects it from stomach acid. It can also help kill H. pylori infections. Doctors usually prescribe it with antibiotics.
- Antacids. They may ease your symptoms for a short time, but they don’t treat ulcers. Taking an antacid can also keep antibiotics from working. Talk to your doctor before taking an antacid for peptic ulcer disease.
If you have a serious ulcer that keeps returning and doesn’t get better with medication, your doctor may suggest surgery.
You’ll need emergency surgery if you have a bleeding ulcer (also called a hemorrhaging ulcer). The surgeon will identify the source of the bleeding (usually a small artery at the base of the ulcer) and fix it. You’ll need emergency surgery to close a perforated ulcer, or holes in the wall of your stomach or duodenum (the first part of your small intestine).
Some people opt for surgery to lower the amount of stomach acid their body puts out. Before you do that, have an in-depth discussion with your doctor about the possible complications. Your ulcer could come back, it could cause problems with your liver, or you could get ”dumping syndrome,” which causes chronic abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting, or sweating after eating.
We tend to think of over-the-counter painkillers as perfectly safe. If you can buy a drug sitting next to the toothpaste and shampoo, how dangerous could it be?
But even these drugs do have risks. And if you have an ulcer, you need to be very careful before popping over-the-counter (OTC) painkillers. Many commonplace drugs – such as aspirin, Advil, and Aleve — can irritate the stomach lining, aggravating ulcers and potentially causing serious problems.
“People think that if a medicine is available over-the-counter, it has no risks,” says Byron Cryer, MD, a spokesman for the American Gastroenterological Association. “But about a third of all ulcers are caused by aspirin and other painkillers. More than half of all bleeding ulcers are caused by these drugs.”
In fact, according to the American Gastroenterological Association, 103,000 people are hospitalized every year because of side effects from common painkillers. Some 16,500 people die.
The problem isn’t only with OTC painkillers. Many remedies for colds, sinus problems, and even heartburn contain the same potentially dangerous ingredients.
If you have an ulcer, you need to avoid any foods or medicines that will make your condition worse. So, before you grab a bottle of pain reliever the next time you have a headache, learn some dos and don’ts first.
How Do Pain Relief Drugs Work?
In a certain way, all pain is in your head. When we feel pain, it’s the result of an electrical signal being sent from the nerves in a part of your body to your brain.
But the whole process isn’t electrical. When tissue is injured (by a sprained ankle, for instance), the cells release certain chemicals in response. These chemicals cause inflammation and amplify the electrical signal coming from the nerves. As a result, they increase the pain you feel.
Painkillers work by blocking the effects of these pain chemicals. The problem is that you can’t focus most pain relievers specifically on your headache or bad back. Instead, it travels through your whole body. This can cause some unexpected side effects.
What Are the Risks for People With Ulcers?
Why do painkillers increase the risk of gastrointestinal (GI) problems? The same chemicals that amplify pain — which some pain medicines block — also help maintain the protective lining of the stomach and intestines. When a painkiller stops these chemicals from working, the digestive tract becomes more vulnerable to damage from gastric acids.
For people with ulcers, the risky pain relievers are nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs. They include aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen sodium, and ketoprofen, the active ingredients in medicines such as Bufferin, Advil, and Aleve.
Other pain relievers may be less dangerous. Acetaminophen — the active ingredient in Tylenol — works differently and poses a much lower risk of GI problems. However, like any drug, it does have side effects of its own. You shouldn’t take any over-the-counter painkiller for more than 10 days without your health care provider’s approval.
The risks from NSAIDs are quite serious. Studies show that people who use NSAIDs are about three times as likely to have gastrointestinal bleeding. Even at low doses, NSAIDs can make mild ulcers much worse.
Aspirin has additional risks. “Aspirin can help prevent blood clotting, which is why it helps people at risk of heart attacks and strokes,” says Cryer. “But in people with ulcers, it can lead to more serious gastrointestinal bleeding.”
However, what if you have an ulcer and a high risk of heart attack or stroke? Then what do you do? Cryer admits that balancing the benefits and risks of these medicines can be tricky.
“People need to talk to their doctors to figure out what’s best in their case,” he says. But in people with a high risk of heart attack or stroke, he says that the cardiovascular benefits of aspirin can outweigh its gastrointestinal risks.
If you have an ulcer, what should you do the next time you have a headache? In general, people with ulcers should use acetaminophen for over-the-counter pain relief. Unless your doctor has said it’s OK, you should not use aspirin, ibuprofen, ketoprofen, or naproxen sodium. If acetaminophen doesn’t help with your pain, see your doctor.
Other Options for Pain Relief
Painkillers aren’t the only answer for many of life’s aches and pains. Many effective and safe alternatives don’t have any side effects at all.
- Ice packs, for acute injuries such as a sprained ankle, can keep down swelling and ease pain.
- Heat with a hot towel or heating pad can be helpful for treating chronic overuse injuries. (However, you shouldn’t use heat on recent injuries.)
- Physical activity can help reduce some kinds of discomfort, such as arthritis pain.
- Relaxation with techniques such as yoga or meditation — may reduce pain. Biofeedback may help as well. These approaches are best for pain that’s amplified by stress, such as tension headaches.
- Nontraditional techniques with low risks — such as acupuncture — benefit some people.
So remember: Pain relief doesn’t only come from a pill bottle.
Ten evidence-based remedies for stomach ulcers
If a person has an ulcer, they may feel a burning sensation in their stomach. This burning sensation often:
- lasts a few minutes or several hours
- eases after taking antacids or stopping food intake
- starts in the middle of the night or during meals
- occurs off and on for several weeks
People can relieve these symptoms using the following home remedies:
Probiotics are living organisms that help restore balance to the bacteria in the digestive tract. As well as helping achieve optimal gut health, they can help with treating ulcers.
According to a review from 2014Trusted Source, probiotics cannot kill H. pylori bacteria. However, they may reduce the amount of bacteria present, speed up the healing process, and improve some symptoms.
When taken alongside other treatments, probiotics may help eradicate harmful bacteria.
People can find probiotics in the following sources:
- fermented foods
- probiotic supplements
Some foods have probiotics in them. But, consider taking supplements as they have higher concentrations of probiotics per serving.
Many people think that ginger has gastroprotective effects. Some people use it to treat stomach and digestive conditions, such as constipation, bloating, and gastritis.
A review from 2013Trusted Source suggests that ginger can help with gastric ulcers caused by H. pylori bacteria. Eating ginger may also prevent ulcers caused by NSAIDs.
However, many of these results come from animal studies, so it is not clear whether the effects would be similar in humans.
3. Colorful fruits
Many fruits contain compounds called flavonoids, which are polyphenols. Flavonoids contribute toTrusted Source the rich colors of some fruits.
According to a 2011 reviewTrusted Source, polyphenols can help with stomach ulcers. They can also help a range of other digestive issues, including spasms and diarrhea.
Flavonoids protect the stomach lining from developing ulcers. They do this by increasing stomach mucus, which inhibits the growth of H. pylori. Flavonoids also have antioxidant properties.
Flavonoids are present in fruits such as:
- lemons and oranges
4. Plantain bananas
Plantains are a type of banana. Research from 2011Trusted Source suggests that unripe plantains may have a positive effect on peptic ulcers.
Unripe plantains contain a flavonoid called leucocyanidin. Leucocyanidin increases the amount of mucus in the stomach. This fruit may also reduce acidity, which can help prevent and relieve symptoms of ulcers.
Honey is a popular, natural sweetener used across the United States. People who consume honey regularly can enjoy a range of health benefits.
A review from 2016Trusted Source states that Manuka honey has antimicrobial effects against H. pylori. It suggests that honey could be useful for treating stomach ulcers.
People also use honey to speed up wound healing, including skin ulcers, burns, and wounds.
Turmeric is a popular yellow spice frequently used in India and other parts of southern Asia. Like chili peppers, turmeric contains a compound called curcumin. Researchers are beginning to study curcumin in regards to its health benefits.
A 2013 reviewTrusted Source concluded that curcumin has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activities that may help prevent stomach ulcers. However, there are a limited number of studies on humans.
There needs to be more research to examine how effective turmeric is in treating ulcers. Still, initial results appear to be positive. Scientists hope that turmeric can help relieve ulcer symptoms and treat the sores.
Some people use chamomile flowers and chamomile teas to treat minor anxiety, intestinal spasms, and inflammation.
A review study published in 2012 reports that chamomile extracts may also have anti-ulcer properties. Some researchers think it may inhibit stomach ulcers and reduce their healing time.
However, much of this research derives from animal studies. Researchers do not know whether chamomile will have the same effects on humans.
Garlic is popular in many parts of the world for adding flavor to food. Garlic has antimicrobial and antibacterial properties, which make it helpful in fighting infections.
Some studies do support garlic’s effectiveness in treating ulcers. For example, a 2016 study trusted Source on animals showed that garlic could help prevent the development of ulcers and help speed up the healing process.
According to a 2015 review, garlic may also help prevent the growth of H. pylori.
One small-scale study from 2015Trusted Source suggests that eating two cloves of garlic with a meal, twice a day, can have anti-bacterial effects against H. pylori.
However, not all studies agree trusted Source that garlic affects H.pylori or prevents ulcers. Scientists still need to do more research.
Licorice is a popular spice that is native to the Mediterranean region and Asia. People have used licorice in traditional medications for hundreds of years. Some people believe that eating a dried licorice root can help cure and prevent ulcers.
However, research tends to focus on the use of supplements, not dried licorice root. So, people interested in using this spice for ulcers may want to try it as a supplement.
One 2013 study trusted Source found that taking licorice supplements can help fight H. pylori infections. The study suggests that the supplement helps prevent the bacteria from growing.
10. Aloe vera
Aloe vera is a popular plant-based oil found in many topical lotions, cosmetics, and foods.
Some studies looking at how aloe vera affected stomach ulcers produced favorable results.
For example, one 2011 study on rats reported that aloe vera treated ulcers in a similar way to a popular anti-ulcer medication.
But, researchers studied animals, not humans. So, scientists need to do more research to see the effects of aloe vera on humans.
Treatment for peptic ulcers depends on the cause. Usually treatment will involve killing the H. pylori bacterium if present, eliminating or reducing use of NSAIDs if possible, and helping your ulcer to heal with medication.
Medications can include:
- Antibiotic medications to kill H. pylori. If H. pylori is found in your digestive tract, your doctor may recommend a combination of antibiotics to kill the bacterium. These may include amoxicillin (Amoxil), clarithromycin (Biaxin), metronidazole (Flagyl), tinidazole (Tindamax), tetracycline and levofloxacin.The antibiotics used will be determined by where you live and current antibiotic resistance rates. You’ll likely need to take antibiotics for two weeks, as well as additional medications to reduce stomach acid, including a proton pump inhibitor and possibly bismuth subsalicylate (Pepto-Bismol).
- Medications that block acid production and promote healing. Proton pump inhibitors — also called PPIs — reduce stomach acid by blocking the action of the parts of cells that produce acid. These drugs include the prescription and over-the-counter medications omeprazole (Prilosec), lansoprazole (Prevacid), rabeprazole (Aciphex), esomeprazole (Nexium) and pantoprazole (Protonix).Long-term use of proton pump inhibitors, particularly at high doses, may increase your risk of hip, wrist and spine fracture. Ask your doctor whether a calcium supplement may reduce this risk.
- Medications to reduce acid production. Acid blockers — also called histamine (H-2) blockers — reduce the amount of stomach acid released into your digestive tract, which relieves ulcer pain and encourages healing.Available by prescription or over the counter, acid blockers include the medications famotidine (Pepcid AC), cimetidine (Tagamet HB) and nizatidine (Axid AR).
- Antacids that neutralize stomach acid. Your doctor may include an antacid in your drug regimen. Antacids neutralize existing stomach acid and can provide rapid pain relief. Side effects can include constipation or diarrhea, depending on the main ingredients.Antacids can provide symptom relief but generally aren’t used to heal your ulcer.
- Medications that protect the lining of your stomach and small intestine. In some cases, your doctor may prescribe medications called cytoprotective agents that help protect the tissues that line your stomach and small intestine.Options include the prescription medications sucralfate (Carafate) and misoprostol (Cytotec).
Follow-up after initial treatment
Treatment for peptic ulcers is often successful, leading to ulcer healing. But if your symptoms are severe or if they continue despite treatment, your doctor may recommend endoscopy to rule out other possible causes for your symptoms.
If an ulcer is detected during endoscopy, your doctor may recommend another endoscopy after your treatment to make sure your ulcer has healed. Ask your doctor whether you should undergo follow-up tests after your treatment.
Ulcers that fail to heal
Peptic ulcers that don’t heal with treatment are called refractory ulcers. There are many reasons why an ulcer may fail to heal, including:
- Not taking medications according to directions
- The fact that some types of H. pylori are resistant to antibiotics
- Regular use of tobacco
- Regular use of pain relievers — such as NSAIDs — that increase the risk of ulcers
Less often, refractory ulcers may be a result of:
- Extreme overproduction of stomach acid, such as occurs in Zollinger-Ellison syndrome
- An infection other than H. pylori
- Stomach cancer
- Other diseases that may cause ulcer-like sores in the stomach and small intestine, such as Crohn’s disease
Treatment for refractory ulcers generally involves eliminating factors that may interfere with healing, along with using different antibiotics.
If you have a serious complication from an ulcer, such as acute bleeding or perforation, you may require surgery. However, surgery is needed far less often now than previously because of the many effective medications available.