Stomach ulcers affect approximately 5 million people at any given time in the US. They are often caused by NSAID use (ibuprofen) but a lot of time from the bacterial infection H. Pylori.  We are seeing more and more that disturbances in the gut itself cause this infection and gastritis, this may even lead to a type of stomach cancer over a long period of time. Changes in our stomach acid as we age and the loss of the protective lining of the stomach impacts our gastrointestinal balance allowing for growth of such organisms and poor digestion.  Certain food sensitivities i.e. dairy, soy, gluten may contribute to this. Environmental toxins and diets that are inflammatory may as well.

The standard of care for H. Pylori ulcers today includes triple antibiotic therapy and in some cases quadruple therapy for weeks at a time; that’s certainly a lot of therapy. This high dosing of antibiotics often leads to a significant amount of side effects including antibiotic-induced diarrhea and the very dangerous C. diff colitis (a lethal bacterial overgrowth). This is in addition to their own toxicities.

Fortunately newer and safer treatment modalities have started to be in use by integrative physicians. Protocols have been derived to help eradicate such infections. Glycyrrhiza, for example, is used as its a potent anti-inflammatory derived from licorice extract proven to help rid this bacteria and help restore the lining of the stomach.  Along with this flavinoids, which are potent antioxidants, have too shown effectiveness.  With less side effects and no toxicities with either , these are a few of the remarkable alternatives to a great treatment plan.  Having these options in ones arsenal makes a physician more versatile and skilled at customizing the right plan for their patients. Having this approach too may save a lot of people from continued antibiotic associated problems as we begin to learn more about their long term effects.

ways to help prevent ulcers: well balanced anti inflammatory diet avoiding excessive carbs and bread, eating slowly, taking probiotics and prebiotic foods and zinc carnosine. Get evaluated with the advanced gastrointestinal labs to determine what you may be at risk for and have a customized plan for you.