How to cure stomach ulcer quickly? There is no single formula to answer that question since each case can vary. How long an ulcer takes to heal depends on several factors. But in general, effectively treating the underlying cause of the disease is the key. Also, it’s important to eliminate any factors that inhibit your healing process or make your ulcer get worse.
Effective treatment: What to understand?
To treat your ulcer effectively, you and your doctor need to discover the exact cause of the disease. Once the underlying cause is diagnosed – your doctor can make an effective, comprehensive treatment plan. Then completely follow all instructions as you have been told!
An ulcer occurs when stomach acid eats away at the inner stomach lining. The surface of your stomach is coated and protected with a mucous layer. But when the amount of this mucus decreases and your stomach acid increases, an open sore (ulcer) could develop in your stomach lining.
There are two main culprits to blame, H-pylori infection and frequent use of NSAIDs.
H-pylori induced ulcer
Helicobacter pylori may be the most common cause of stomach ulcer, though not all people with H-pylori infection develop ulcers. This type of bacteria can weaken the mucous layer of the stomach, making stomach lining damage more likely.
Antibiotics are the main treatment option for stomach ulcer caused by H-pylori infection. If the infection is not treated, your ulcer is harder to heal and may return after treatment. In fact, about 50 percent of people with H-pylori induced ulcer have another ulcer if the infection is not completely cured.
Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to treat H-pylori infection because H-pylori live in the inner surface of your stomach, a hard target to reach for most antibiotics.
Therefore, it’s usually recommended to take at least two antibiotics or more (ask your doctor for more advice). The combination of more than one antibiotic is more effective to cure the infection, because this reduces the risk of antibiotic resistance.
Also, take the entire course of your antibiotics. Don’t stop your treatment even though you start feeling better! If you early stop taking them, the infection is less likely to completely go away and the surviving bacteria will become more resistant.
NSAIDs stand for nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, one of the most common pain relievers. Frequent use of NSAIDs in long term (especially if you take more than one type of NSAID) can cause increased the risk of stomach ulcer. This risk can be much worse if you have some of the following other risk factors:
- A personal history of peptic ulcer before.
- Elderly, age 70 or older.
- Gender! NSAIDs induced ulcer is relatively more common in women.
- A smoker and heavy drinker.
- Having certain medical conditions may also have an effect.
If your ulcer is caused by NSAIDs, the fastest way to cure the disease is by completely discontinuing NSAIDS (if possible) – and at the same time, take medications that can help promote quick ulcer healing such as proton pump inhibitors (ask your doctor to get prescription). Avoid also other medications that contain NSAID ingredients!
However in a few cases, it’s hard to completely stop taking NSAIDs – for example if you have chronic painful disease such as rheumatoid arthritis. In such case, your doctor can make a few adjustments to minimize the adverse effects such as;
- Lowering the dose of your NSAIDs (at lowest dose possible).
- Or considering switching to another pain reliever that doesn’t provoke ulcer such as acetaminophen (Tylenol).
Also, it’s important to make sure that you don’t have H-pylori infection when you take NSAIDs! And don’t take them with other medicines that can make your ulcer get worse such as corticosteroids!
Use antacids properly!
Antacids can help buffer your stomach acid. That’s why sometimes they’re used to soothe ulcer pain and relieve other symptoms such as indigestion and heartburn. But did you know that improper use of antacids might also affect your recovery?
It’s not bad idea to use antacids to help cope with your stomach ulcer symptoms, but take them properly otherwise they could be counterproductive. For example, there is a chance for antacids to prevent your medications from being absorbed, reducing the medicine’s effectiveness and making your ulcer take longer to heal.
To reduce the risk of having counterproductive effects of antacids, it’s usually recommended to take them either at least one hour before or two hours after taking any other medicines.
But for your best chance to cure your ulcer quickly – it’s best to take antacids 4 hours before or 2 hours after taking your ulcer medications, or follow instructions as directed by your doctor!
How about supplements or herbs?
A number of supplements and herbs are available to treat stomach ulcer. Though many of them are not scientifically approved, some might help provide quick healing. These include:
- Glutamine supplement. Glutamine is a type of non-essential amino acid, which can be naturally found in certain foods. Some studies suggest that it might help reduce ulcer-related inflammation, though more research is required to confirm this benefit.
- Probiotic supplement. Friendly bacteria (probiotics) may help restore the balance between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ bacteria in your digestive system – also, to help minimize side effects from taking antibiotics.
- If necessary, ask your doctor about vitamin C supplement. It’s important to get enough vitamin C for strong immune system. Vitamin C might also work effectively to help treat a bleeding ulcer associated with aspirin use, though this may be still debatable!
- Herbs that might help include DGL-licorice (to protect the stomach lining against NSAIDs) Mastic (to inhibit H-pylori), and Cranberry /Vaccinium macrocarpon (to help treat H-pylori infection).
Again, the effectiveness of many supplements and herbs for stomach ulcer is still debatable. Even some could be dangerous or interfere with certain medications if you take them improperly. For example, Vaccinium macrocarpon has Salicylic Acid, which could be counterproductive if you’re allergic to aspirin. To keep safe, ask your doctor before taking any herbs or supplements!
There are many factors that can affect and delay your recovery, making your ulcer more difficult to heal –even in a few cases, an ulcer could persist (fail to heal). One of the main ones is your immune system. Some experts say that the performance of the body immune system might have a role to cause H-pylori induced ulcer – as well as to determine how long it takes to recover from the disease.
Stress and sleep deprivation can weaken your immune system. That’s why you need to manage your stress and sleep well at night! So a few changes in your lifestyle can help a lot – for more information about stomach ulcer do’s and don’ts for quick healing, see also this post!