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Dehydration: Is It a Cause of Peptic Ulcers?

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There are many problems with this treatment regimen:

  • Antibiotics can damage the body's natural immunity, killing off the "good" bacteria in the gut, leading to symptoms like diarrhoea.
  • Commercially available drugs such as Zantac and Tagamet can reduce stomach acidity, but in the process, they also have side effects such as dizziness, nausea, headaches, and diarrhea. Tagamet has been shown to interfere and weaken liver function; it can also lead to breast enlargement and importance in men.

Complementary (alternative, natural, or traditional) medicine—Because medical practitioners view peptic ulcers to be caused by dehydration, which reduces and thins the stomach's and duodenum's mucus layer and makes the lining vulnerable to bacterial infection, they prescribe drinking a large glass of water approximately 30 minutes before each meal and drink about 2 liters of water each day. Researchers have long known that stress boosts acid production in the stomach while suppressing the body's natural immunity so that it is less able to fight off bacterial infection by H. pylori. A more holistic approach to preventing and treating peptic ulcers includes the following:

  • Drink plenty of water: about 2 liters per day.
  • Drink a large glass of water 30 minutes before the meal.
  • Avoid stress whenever possible.
  • Avoid cigarettes: nicotine has been shown to increase stomach acid.
  • Avoid caffeine: caffeine also stimulates the stomach to increase stomach-acid production.
  • For treating ulcers, use a natural product called mastic gum, the resinous gum of a species of Greek spice tree belonging to the pistachio family (Pistacia lentiscus, now growing all over the Mediterranean and Middle Eastern regions), which has been used by the people of the Mediterranean for several thousand years to treat gastrointestinal problems. It is a natural antibiotic which can kill H. pylori but does not harm the friendly bacteria in the intestines. This resin has been through clinical trials with results published in the New England Journal of Medicine (1946, 1998) and Clinical and Experimental Pharmacology and Physiology (1984).
  • To treat gastric ulcers and cankerous sores, one can also use a natural herb called deglycyrrhizinated liquorice (DGL), which is made from licorice with the glycyrrhizin removed. In numerous research studies, this herb has been shown to be effective in treating gastric ulcers (for example, Scandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology, Supplement, by Russell et al., 1984; the Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology, Morgan et al., 1983 and Bennett et al., 1980; Lancet, Glick, 1982; Gut, Bardhan et al., 1976; the Journal of the Association of Physicians of India, Balakrishnan et al., 1978).

So, if you are already carrying the bacterium H. pylori, would you rather be drinking two liters of water daily, or to suffer the extreme pains of peptic ulcer and then having to undergo conventional antibiotic treatment and perhaps even get the side effects of enlarge breasts and impotence (a side effect of Tagamet)? Basic lifestyle changes can help you prevent the occurrence of peptic ulcers, for example:

  • Drink about 2 liters of water daily. Avoid dehydrating your body.
  • Drink a large glass of water before meal.
  • Drink herbal tea rather than alcohol, coffee, or caffeinated tea. Caffeine can stimulate stomach-acid production.
  • Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables (especially cabbage and broccoli everyday).
  • Avoid overly spicy food, which can stimulate acid production in stomach.
  • Avoid taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin and ibuprofen.
  • Avoid smoking cigarettes as nicotine can increase acid production in the stomach.
  • Avoid stress and take measures to relieve stress whenever possible.
  • Again, the most important lifestyle change is to regularly hydrate your body and drink a large glass of water before meals.
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