Healing Path, Inc.

Finding Balance
Chapter 2.30 - Ulcers (Gastrointestinal)

In this chapter, Dr. Donache presents Complementary/Alternative Medical (C.A.M.) Therapies for the prevention and treatment of gastrointestinal ulcers.

The chapter includes an overview of the disease's symptoms, conventional treatment methods, and alternative therapies, including Bio-Energetic therapies, Bodywork and Movement therapies, and Mental / Emotional treatments.

This chapter is taken from Dr. Donache's upcoming book, Finding Balance - Integrating Complementary/Alternative Medical (C.A.M.) Therapies for the Prevention of the Top 30 Diseases in America. Each section of chapter 2, which describes alternative treatments for each of the top diseases, is available as a free download on this website.

Table of Contents
Chapter Excerpt
Glossary of Terms Used in this Chapter
Additional Disease Descriptions and Treatments Available for Download

Table of Contents

    1. Treatment and Management
      • Healing Ulcers
      • Lifestyle Changes
      • Surgery
      • Curing Ulcers
      • Issues and Answers
      • Nutrition and Supplements
        • Nutrition
        • Supplements
        • Enzymatic Therapies
      • Rainforest and Western Herbs
        • Rainforest Herbs
        • Western Herbs
      • Homeopathic Remedies
      • Essential Oils
      • Therapeutic Bodywork and Massage
      • Traditional Chinese Medicine
      • Hatha Yoga Postures
      • Meditation
      • Visualization
      • Affirmation

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Chapter Excerpt

Gastrointestinal ulcers are breaks or craters in the inner lining of the stomach or the duodenum, the first part of the small intestine.

Ulcers do not always cause symptoms, but some people with ulcer disease experience:

  • Pain in the center of the upper abdomen several hours after meals or at night;
  • A gnawing, hungry feeling;
  • Feeling weak;
  • Black or bloody stools.

Doctors may use either of two methods to look for evidence of an ulcer.

  • Endoscopy enables a physician to view the lining of the stomach and duodenum using an endoscope, a flexible lighted tube with a tiny camera on one end. The doctor threads the endoscope through the patient's mouth and down into the upper gastrointestinal (GI) tract.

  • A series of diagnostic X-ray pictures, called an upper GI series or upper GI X-rays, may reveal signs of an ulcer.

If an ulcer is visible during endoscopy, the physician may take a tiny sample of tissue, as part of a procedure called a biopsy, to examine for signs of the bacterium Helicobacter pylori, or H. pylori, a frequent cause of ulcers. Doctors may also use blood or special breath tests to check for H. pylori infection.

How Do Ulcers Happen?

The inner walls of the stomach produce acid and pepsin -- substances in gastric juices that help digest food. The innermost layer of the lining of the stomach and duodenum, called the mucosa, produces mucus, a thick protective coating that prevents the digestive juices from eroding the lining. Sometimes, however, the juices penetrate the protective mucus shield, irritating the lining. If this continues, the mucosa becomes damaged, and an ulcer may form. Ulcers most often occur in the lining of the duodenum; these are called duodenal ulcers. Less common are ulcers in the stomach, known as gastric ulcers. If an ulcer goes deeply enough to penetrate blood vessels, it can cause bleeding and shock. Blood may pass through the gastrointestinal tract and turn stools black. In rare cases, an ulcer may eat all the way through the wall of the stomach or duodenum. This painful condition, called a perforated ulcer, can be life-threatening and requires immediate treatment. Your risk of developing an ulcer increases whenever the protective lining of the stomach or duodenum is irritated and weakened.

Two causes account for nearly all cases of ulcers:

  • Long-term use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as aspirin.

  • Infections with H. pylori. This tough micro-organism can penetrate and disturb the protective mucus layer lining the stomach and duodenum, allowing an ulcer to form.

Your primary care physician may diagnose your ulcer based on your symptoms and a physical examination. He or she might send you to a radiologist for an upper GI series of X-rays, or you may be referred to a gastroenterologist for an endoscopy. Once the diagnosis has been made, your primary care physician usually manages the treatment.

Some questions you may want to ask the doctor are:

  • Where is my ulcer located?
  • What treatment options do I have, and what are the pros and cons of each?
  • What is the difference between treatments that can heal my ulcer and those that can cure it?

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Glossary of Terms

Antibiotic Treatment
Part of a combination of antibacterial medicines to eradicate infection with H. pylori: given along with acid-blocking medicine to cure the ulcer.
The removal of a small sample of tissue usually taken from the stomach lining during endoscopy. The sample is examined for the presence of abnormalities, including H. pylori.
Duodenal Ulcers
Ulcers located in the lining of the duodenum; also called peptic ulcers.
The first part of the small intestine; pronounced "duo DEE num" or "du AH de num," it is the most frequent site of ulcers.
A procedure in which the doctor threads a flexible viewing instrument (endoscope) through the mouth and into the stomach to directly view the lining of the upper GI tract.
Gastric Juices
The digestive fluids, containing acid and pepsin, produced in the stomach.
Gastric Ulcers
Ulcers present in the mucosa of the stomach; also called peptic ulcers.
A doctor who diagnoses and treats diseases of the stomach, intestines and associated organs.
Helicobacter pylori
A microscopic bacterium that can infect the lining of the stomach and duodenum and cause an ulcer.
The inner lining of the stomach and duodenum.
The coating, produced by the mucosa, that protects the inner lining of the stomach and duodenum from erosion by digestive juices.
Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) Any of a variety of common prescription and nonprescription medicines, including aspirin and ibuprofen, that counteracts inflammation.
A physician who specializes in producing images of the body and interpreting the results.
Upper Gastrointestinal (GI) Tract
The first part of the digestive tract, including the esophagus, stomach and duodenum.
Upper GI Series or Upper GI X-rays
A sequence of x-ray pictures of the upper GI tract taken after the patient has ingested a chalky fluid, called barium.

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