"You're gonna give me an ulcer," i always tell my boyfriend whenever we fight and I get stressed out. Because it's always his fault, of course. So, as a matter of principle, I need him to feel guilty that he's destroying the lining of my stomach with his horribleness and will probably eventually kill me. Then he'll be sorry.
But can I really get an ulcer from anxiety? Or from eating spicy food? I hope not, because these take up pretty much most of my day.
Turns out, this isn't generally where ulcers come from. According to studies, 90 per cent are caused by a bacterial infection. Still, some practitioners believe stress can worsen the situation. You probably want to start with an allopath and get standard medical care before getting to the yoga. "
What the experts say
Glutamine supplements and cabbage help the stomach lining regenerate. Deglycyrrhizinated licorice soothes and coats the stomach lining, but make sure it's deglycyrrhizinated -- ordinary licorice can increase blood pressure. Slippery elm and marshmallow root also help. Probiotics are a good option. Also try bromoline or pineapple . Seventy per cent of your immune tissue is found in your stomach lining, so you don't want an ulcer compromising your immune system. One factor may be food sensitivities, for instance to milk, which stimulates acid production. Medications like aspirin can irritate the stomach. Natural roots for heart disease and arthritis can replace the meds that almost always cause ulcers."
KERRI-LYNNE LA POINTE , naturopath, Toronto
"Ulcers are caused by a bacterial infection of the stomach, anti-inflammatory drugs or some uncommon diseases. Early theories that worrying and having a type-A personality led to ulcers have been discredited. Ulcers are more common in smokers and patients with liver or lung disease. It may be shocking to learn that foods do not cause ulcers, and few dietary restrictions are placed on ulcer patients. Generally, we suggest they avoid caffeine . However, modern drugs that block the stomach's ability to produce acid make such restriction unnecessary. Treatment involves eradicating the bacterial infection or discontinuing the anti-inflammatory drug . I have no knowledge of effective alternative therapies. Most ulcers can be rendered pain-free in 48 hours and cured in two to four weeks. That's pretty good."
ALVIN NEWMAN , gastroenterologist, Mt. Sinai Hospital, professor of medicine, University of Toronto
"It's very easy to eat at irregular hours, while working, driving or watching TV, gulping down too much with each bite and eating when distressed. These habits impair stomach function. Also, commercially prepared food is too easily available, taking away the relaxing process our body and brain need before receiving food. Food preparation helps our senses gear up to receive food and cues the body to produce digestive enzymes. Cold, raw foods, spicy, fried foods and coffee can potentially injure the stomach lining. You can prevent and heal ulcers by being mindful of hunger levels before eating, avoiding stressful emotions, thought patterns or anger before or during meals and heightening the enjoyment of meals . Cabbage juice can help heal ulcerations but can also cause gas. In this case, team it up with carrots . -
VIVIAN LEE , holistic nutritionist, Toronto
"For peptic ulcers we treat the following: weak spleen and stomach (digestive process) and energy stagnation with resultant excess heat and complications of phlegm and blood stasis. In the active ulcer stage of disease, the treatment aims at clearing heat, stopping any bleeding and regenerating damaged tissue. During remission, the treatment aims to strengthen the digestive process. An ancient Chinese treatment is cabbage juice. Other herbs that treat ulcers are Wu Zei Gu , or cuttlefish bone, and Zuo Jin Wan , a famous formula called 'left metal pill. ''
ROBERT McDONALD , Chinese medicine practitioner, Markham