Stomach, or gastric, ulcers are painful sores that can develop on the lining of your stomach. They can cause severe pain and discomfort, sometimes making everyday activities difficult. Most peptic ulcers are caused by a kind of bacteria, not spicy foods and stress, which people once believed to be the culprits. Because bacterial infections cause ulcers, you cannot effectively heal them without the help of a doctor. However, you can make certain changes to your diet to ease the pain until they heal.
Drugs/Chemicals to Avoid
In some cases, consuming a few specific things can cause ulcers. If they are not the root cause of the ulcer, they certainly can aggravate the pain. If you regularly ingest non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, you could damage your stomach and cause ulcers to form. This group of medications include aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen and several other drugs. They slow the production of a certain enzyme that helps protect the lining of your stomach. Drugs prescribed for the treatment of osteoporosis also can lead to ulcers. Smoking may cause ulcers as well, because it increases the production of stomach acid.
Foods to Avoid
Although spicy foods don't directly cause ulcers, they can make an existing ulcer even more painful by irritating it. There are not very many foods that are known to help ulcers, but there are plenty that you should avoid. It is a good idea to eliminate foods that can upset your stomach, including anything that contains caffeine, all kinds of hot peppers, chocolate, soda, coffee, tea, citrus fruits, tomato products and peppermint. Anything fried and greasy also is likely to upset your stomach, so you should avoid those foods too.
Good Eating Habits
Eat several small meals a day rather than two or three large ones. Stomach ulcers usually feel worse on an empty stomach, so by eating frequently you can have a little bit of food in your stomach most of the time. Eating too much at a time could stretch your stomach out, causing irritation to the ulcer. Make sure to chew your food well to make digestion easier. The American Gastroenterological Association recommends practicing vigilant food safety habits. Doctors and scientist have not yet found the source or carrier of H. pylori, the bacteria that causes ulcers, but they suggest making sure foods are properly washed and prepared to avoid the transmission of any bacteria.