Ulcers and Heartburn Center
General Health Information
There are two kinds of peptic ulcers: gastric ulcers and duodenal ulcers. Gastric ulcers occur in the stomach, and duodenal ulcers occur in the first part of the small intestine. Even though these ulcers occur in two different places, they are both caused by the same thing?damage to the protective lining of the stomach or small intestine. Ulcer pain is caused by stomach acid coming in direct contact with unprotected tissue. When stomach acid is suppressed, ulcer pain diminishes, and the ulcer heals.
It is important to keep the lining of the gastrointestinal tract healthy and intact. Stress, smoking, alcohol, aspirin and NSAIDS can all bring on the formation of ulcers. Stress-management techniques, a healthy lifestyle, and the avoidance of irritants all help keep the mucosal lining of the gastrointestinal system healthy and intact. Vitamins A and E and the amino acid glutamine are important in maintaining the integrity of the mucosal lining. Licorice, especially in its DGL form, also supports mucosal protective factors. Ulcers may also be caused by the bacteria helicobacter pylori. Predisposing factors for infection are low acidity and low antioxidant content of the gastrointestinal lining. H. pylori can also infect a pre-existing ulcer site. Bioflavonoids can inhibit the growth of H. pylori.
Reflux esophagitis is the medical term for heartburn. This condition occurs when the gastric juices flow up the esophagus, leading to the burning sensation in the chest and even up into the throat area. This can be caused by either increased acid production or decreased secretion of acids and other digestive enzymes; pancreatic enzymes and digestive aids may be helpful here. Licorice, in the DGL form, may be beneficial in healing a damaged esophagus caused by reflux. Eliminating causative factors such as alcohol, smoking, fats, and coffee may also be helpful. Adopting a healthy lifestyle is one of the primary ways in which we prevent ulcer and reflux conditions from occurring.
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Additional Information on Ulcers and Heartburn