Living With Ulcers from Stress
What Are Ulcers?
Stomach (peptic) ulcers and small intestine (duodenal) ulcers are basically sores that develop in the lining of the digestive tract. These sores are spots where the stomach’s or intestine's lining has been eaten away by stomach acid and digestive juices.
Although ulcers can heal, it's difficult when you don't know you have them.
Symptoms to look out for:
- dull, burning pain in the stomach.
- weight loss.
- not wanting to eat because of pain.
- nausea or vomiting.
- heartburn (burning sensation in the chest)
In my case, I didn't know I had ulcers for over a year and mine were a result of stress. The stress in my life came mostly from school but also I worried about my life and my future. I always think ahead of myself and rarely am "in the moment". If this sounds like you, then you could also develop ulcers like I did.
If you have no symptoms of ulcers but you have the following symptoms of stress, then you may want to get help early by therapy sessions or finding other ways to relieve your stress.
Physical Symptoms of Stress:
- Low energy.
- Upset stomach, including diarrhea, , and nausea.
- Aches, pains, and tense muscles.
- Chest pain and rapid heartbeat.
- Frequent colds and infections.
- Loss of sexual desire and/or ability.
- Nervousness and shaking, ringing in the ear, cold or sweaty hands and feet.
- Dry mouth and difficulty swallowing.
- Clenched jaw and grinding teeth.
A Creative, Yet Educational Video on Ulcers
Myth vs. Fact- Can Stress Cause Ulcers?
Scientists and doctors are all in a fuss over what exactly causes ulcers.
Some say the bacteria H. pylori is the only thing that causes ulcers but the tests I went through found none of that bacteria causing harm to my body.
Others are more open minded and have added causes of ulcers to the list such as over consumption of spicy foods, smoking, and consuming alcohol. Yet again, I didn't smoke or consume alcohol in 8th grade nor did I consume spicy foods.
Even overuse of common pain relievers, such as aspirin or ibuprofen, are said to cause ulcers. In the rare circumstances I ever did take aspirin or ibuprofen, I would take one pill and be fine.
So that leaves stress as a factor. I've seen two doctors about my ulcers, one doesn't know what could have causes my ulcers and the other fully believes that stress is what caused them.
If you believe that stress caused your ulcers, or may cause ulcers in the near future, then consult your doctor and see what he/she believes. There may be other factors affecting you that were not present for me.
So you find out you do have ulcers, now what?
You'll have to change your diet a little bit if you want to avoid taking medications and letting the ulcers become worse.
I didn't change my diet until my doctor told me (after 5 months of taking Nexium) that my ulcers were getting worse and close to becoming bleeding ulcers. I don't mean to scare you but bleeding ulcers sound as bad as they are, they can be life threatening.
So just do what I did!
I stuck to the diet from the website, whose link is below, that I found to have the best outcome and the least restrictions. However changing diets isn't exactly a walk in the park. Take it slow at the beginning, make sure others in your household know the change, and do more research for recipes.
Diet for Ulcers: What To Eat and What To Avoid
- Diets For Stomach Ulcers: Tips On What To Eat From SymptomFind.com
Those suffering from stomach ulcers may have numerous dietary concerns. While this guide can help you determine what foods to eat and what foods to avoid when you have stomach ulcers, it is best to consult a doctor so he or she can devise the proper
Stress Management Techniques
My Personal Stress Management Techniques:
- Writing or reading.
- Being outdoors.
- Watching my favorite movie or TV show.
- Writing to-do lists.
- Simply stretching out my muscles.
But these are just things I do, watch the video below to get a better insight on what stress can do to your body other than cause ulcers and how to manage stress.
Some Creative Stress Management Techniques
Alternative to Medications
It runs in my family to refuse medication other than a simple Tylenol or NyQuil.
This may seem silly to those who think that if your health issues can be treated with medication, why not just take them?
I've thought of this but then did further research.
Some medications for ulcers can actually make them worse.
Check out an article on two studies conducted at University of Michigan Medical School, the link is below.
Study Conducted at University of Michigan Medical School
- Why Prilosec and Prevacid Could Make Ulcers Worse
Research shows that Prilosec and Prevacid can cause significant inflammatory changes and greater numbers of bacteria in the stomach lining.