An open sore in the stomach lining (also called stomach ulcer) can cause a number of symptoms and discomforts. The main one is abdominal pain, which usually gets worse at night (when your stomach is empty and your stomach acid increases higher). Sometimes it could be painful enough to keep you up all night. For your ulcer pain relief, here are pieces of helpful information!
Ulcer pain relief with medical treatments
Antacids are one of common options to provide quick relief for ulcer pain. They can help neutralize your stomach acid, making your pain subside quickly.
They’re not used to replace other stomach ulcer medications such as proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) and histamine (H-2) blockers, because they don’t cure ulcers (though sometimes they might help mild, small ulcers heal). But since PPIs or H-2 blockers don’t start to work right away, antacids are often used to help relieve pain and other ulcer symptoms!
There are many choices of antacids, and some are also available without a prescription. These include calcium carbonate, magnesium hydroxide, sodium bicarbonate, and aluminum hydroxide. You can take them in different ways – chewable tablet, liquid, dissolving tablet, or chewing gum.
If you take antacids properly, there should be nothing to worry. Here are other important things to remember:
- Antacids can slow down the effect of other medications, making your ulcer medications work ineffectively. Therefore, it’s usually recommended to take antacids at least 1 hour before or 2 hours after taking other medications – or ask your doctor for more guidance!
- Common side effects of antacids include diarrhea, constipation, and chalky taste – serious side effects are rare. In general, the advantages of the medicine are more necessary than any minor side effects. But if you have unusual symptoms that last longer than what you expect, see your doctor without delay!
It may take several days or weeks to see the improvement of your stomach ulcer treatment. How long it takes for an ulcer to heal completely can vary. But as long as you take all of your treatments and follow the instructions directed by your doctor, the disease will heal without causing any serious complications.
Ulcer pain relief with lifestyle measures
With a few changes in diet and lifestyle, your ulcer pain is probably less severe and more controllable at night. For example, eating late at night can provoke stomach upset and cause acid reflux, making your ulcer pain more likely. To keep safe, eat at least 2-3 hours before your bedtime! Also, eat your meals regularly and avoid overeating!
Here are other helpful things to help soothe the pain:
- Though there is no specific diet for ulcers, certain foods may drive the pain get worse at night. These may include spicy foods, milk, fatty foods, and foods high in salt. See other common culprits to avoid in this post!
- Don’t smoke and avoid alcohol, at least until your ulcer is completely healed. Both smoking and alcohol can worsen the symptoms and make the disease take longer to heal. Read also what to do and what to avoid with ulcers!
- Make yourself comfortable on bed! For instance, wear loose-soft clothing so you can sleep well all night long. If you sleep with tight clothing, this can constrict your abdomen and cause more pressure that might irritate your ulcer.
- Snacking on an apple 2-3 hours before going to sleep might help, too. The apple skin has a substance called pectin, a natural antacid.
A number of herbs and home remedies are also available to help cope with stomach ulcer symptoms, though most of them are not scientifically confirmed yet. These include:
- Aloe vera juice. Aloe has essential components which some might help neutralize your stomach acid. But don’t overtake aloe juice since it can act like as a laxative!
- Cranberry to help fight against H-pylori, a type of bacteria that often causes ulcers. You can take cranberry in foods, juice, or extracts.
- Try herbal teas such as fennel (to reduce the stomach acid levels), chamomile (it can act as an anti-inflammatory agent to reduce stomach pain), and ginger (for stomach pain relief by acting as a soothing and anti-inflammatory agent).
Other alternative options that might help include slippery elm, licorice root, and apple cider vinegar.
But to keep safe, talk with your doctor before taking any alternative treatments (including supplements and herbs) since some could interfere with your ulcer medications or cause serious problems if you take them improperly!