Lifestyle and home remedies
You may find relief from the pain of a stomach ulcer if you:
- Choose a healthy diet. Choose a healthy diet full of fruits, especially with vitamins A and C, vegetables, and whole grains. Not eating vitamin-rich foods may make it difficult for your body to heal your ulcer.
- Consider foods containing probiotics. These include yogurt, aged cheeses, miso, and sauerkraut.
- Consider eliminating milk. Sometimes drinking milk will make your ulcer pain better, but then later cause excess acid, which increases pain. Talk to your doctor about drinking milk.
- Consider switching pain relievers. If you use pain relievers regularly, ask your doctor whether acetaminophen (Tylenol, others) may be an option for you.
- Control stress. Stress may worsen the signs and symptoms of a peptic ulcer. Consider the sources of your stress and do what you can to address the causes. Some stress is unavoidable, but you can learn to cope with stress with exercise, spending time with friends or writing in a journal.
- Don't smoke. Smoking may interfere with the protective lining of the stomach, making your stomach more susceptible to the development of an ulcer. Smoking also increases stomach acid.
- Limit or avoid alcohol. Excessive use of alcohol can irritate and erode the mucous lining in your stomach and intestines, causing inflammation and bleeding.
- Try to get enough sleep. Sleep can help your immune system, and therefore counter stress. Also, avoid eating shortly before bedtime.
You may reduce your risk of peptic ulcer if you follow the same strategies recommended as home remedies to treat ulcers. It may also be helpful to:
Protect yourself from infections. It's not clear just how H. pylori spreads, but there's some evidence that it could be transmitted from person to person or through food and water.
You can take steps to protect yourself from infections, such as H. pylori, by frequently washing your hands with soap and water and by eating foods that have been cooked completely.
Use caution with pain relievers. If you regularly use pain relievers that increase your risk of peptic ulcer, take steps to reduce your risk of stomach problems. For instance, take your medication with meals.
Work with your doctor to find the lowest dose possible that still gives you pain relief. Avoid drinking alcohol when taking your medication, since the two can combine to increase your risk of stomach upset.
If you need to take a pain medication associated with ulcers, you may need to also take additional medications such as an antacid, a PPI, an acid blocker or cytoprotective agent.