A healthy diet full of vitamin-rich fruits, vegetables and whole grains helps to heal a stomach ulcer caused by Helicobacter pylori, or H. pylori, according to Mayo Clinic. Spicy and fatty foods as well as alcohol and smoking are common irritants for ulcer sufferers, adds WebMD.
Excessive alcohol consumption and smoking both erode the protective mucosal lining of the stomach and can cause bleeding and an increase in stomach acid production, explains Mayo Clinic. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory pain relievers, such as ibuprofen, naproxen and aspirin, increase the risk of ulcers, as do prescription bisphosphonate medications used to treat osteoporosis and potassium supplements.
H. pylori, is a bacteria found in the digestive tract of approximately two-thirds of the world’s population. It remains harmless for most individuals but causes peptic ulcers in others, reports WebMD. In some cases, this infection in the lining of the stomach is a precursor to stomach cancer. The most common symptom of a stomach ulcer is a burning pain, usually when the stomach is empty, that is relieved after eating. Nausea, vomiting, bloating and burping are also common signs of an ulcer.
Bleeding ulcers produce dark red or black bowel movements, vomit with the appearance of coffee grounds, extreme fatigue and difficulty breathing, notes WebMD. Blood, stool and urea breath tests are typically performed first, followed by diagnostic imaging exams if the doctor wants a closer look at the ulcers.