The first symptom of a perforated peptic ulcer is usually intense and severe pain. The experience is so drastic, you'll remember exactly when it happened, where you were, what you were doing, and even the exact words being spoken by a companion or on television. The pain is at its maximum immediately and persists, being worsened by movement, jostling, touching, coughing or sneezing. You may also experience fainting, excessive sweating and a rapid heartbeat.
Although perforation may be the first symptom of peptic ulcer disease, it is often preceded for days or weeks by milder symptoms. Pain between the breastbone and the navel may occur when the stomach is empty and may be relieved with antacids. The pain may come and go and may be worse at night. Dark, tarry bowel movements or the passage of what appear to be coffee grounds may signal bleeding from a peptic ulcer.
Someone with a perforated ulcer lies quietly and breathes shallowly. He may be pale and clammy, and the heart rate is likely to be rapid. The abdomen is rigid to the touch and tender. Light tapping on the abdomen will often produce a hollow, drumlike sound. The diagnosis can be confirmed with a simple x-ray showing abnormal gas collections inside the abdomen.
Try the following natural alternatives to combat peptic ulcers.
Research suggests that flavonoids, also known as bioflavonoids, may be an effective treatment for stomach ulcers. Flavonoids are compounds that occur naturally in many fruits and vegetables. Foods and drinks rich in flavonoids include:
- red grapes
- teas (especially green tea)
Probiotics are the living bacteria and yeast that help keep your digestive system moving. They are present in many common foods, particularly fermented foods. These include:
Honey is far from simply sweet. Depending on the plant it’s derived from, honey can contain up to 200 elements, including polyphenols and other antioxidants. Honey is a powerful antibacterial and has been shown to inhibit H. pylori growth. As long as you have normal blood sugar levels, you can enjoy honey as you would any sweetener, with the bonus of soothing your ulcers
Fresh sliced garlic in salads has been shown to inhibit H. pylori growth. If you don’t like the taste (and lingering aftertaste) of garlic, you can take garlic extract in supplemental form. Garlic acts as a blood thinner, so ask your doctor before taking it if you use warfarin or other prescription blood thinners.
Cranberry is known for its ability to fight urinary tract infections by preventing bacteria from settling on the walls of the bladder. Cranberry and cranberry extract also may help fight H. pylori. You can drink unsweetened cranberry juice, eat cranberries, or take cranberry supplements.
Fruits, Vegetables, and Whole Grains
A diet centered on fruits, vegetables, and whole grains is not just good for your overall health. According to the Mayo Clinic, a vitamin-rich diet can help your body heal your ulcer. Foods containing polyphenols, an antioxidant, can protect you from ulcers and help ulcers heal. Polyphenol-rich foods and seasonings include:
- dried rosemary
- Mexican oregano
- dark chocolate
- black olives
What to Avoid
Some foods can make ulcers worse, while some provide a preventive and healing effect. Greasy and acidic foods are most likely to irritate your stomach, as are spicy foods.
To reduce ulcer pain, avoid:
- coffee, including decaf
- carbonated beverages
- chilis and hot peppers
- processed foods
- salty red meats
- deep fried foods
- aspirin products