It will be difficult to find someone who has never complained about the pain of gastric. However, gastritis is a misnomer, since, in medical terminology, gastric is the name of the stomach.
The colloquial use of gastric actually represents a variety of conditions, the commonest one being known in medical terms as Peptic Ulcer disease or PUD. We will focus on PUD in this write-up.
PUD is a very common disease affecting about 5-10 per cent of the population of the world. Most of these patients suffer from abdominal pain or discomfort, nausea, and sometimes vomiting as well.
The pain of PUD is sometimes confused with heart attack as both can be felt in the chest. However, PUD pain is more like a burning sensation.
In some cases, it could be developing slowly for 1-2 hours on an empty stomach, known as hunger pains. The pain may be exacerbated or relieved by food, depending on the site of the ulcer in our gastrointestinal tract.
There are many factors that can lead to PUD. For example, chronic use of pain medications, especially NSAIDs like Aspirin, Ibuprofen could result in serious pain.
Smoking is also positively correlated with PUD. However, contrary to popular notion, researchers found that spicy foods are not the cause of PUD, nor are caffeine or cola-type beverages, or stress. But they might worsen the condition if someone already has it.
For any patient with PUD, it is important to relieve the symptoms and help improve the quality of life. As there is no specific cure for the disease, it is imperative to follow a healthy lifestyle to manage or prevent the disease. The following suggestions could therefore be useful.
Dietary habits are important. Eating plenty of vegetables (at least seven servings per day), fruits and grains will strengthen our digestive system. Spicy, fatty or fried foods should be limited as these foods can worsen symptoms in patients.
Many people nowadays drink coffee. It is better to limit the coffee to 03 cups per day. Smoking should be avoided at all costs. Also, people with PUD should work on reducing their stress levels.
Keep the body hydrated with an adequate amount of water every day. Probiotics could help, like yoghurt. There are probiotic supplements available in the market. But it is advisable to consult the doctor before using that.
Pain medications like NSAIDs should only be taken with a doctor’s advice, and that too should be for a short period.
Several researches have demonstrated that green tea and foods rich in a substance called flavonoid could help protect against the development of PUD. Flavonoids are plant-based substances present in garlic, onion, strawberries, broccoli, carrots, and many other fruits and vegetables.
If not properly managed, PUD may become life-threatening. So, it is crucial for us to nurture healthy habits and consult the physician if the symptoms are getting worse. Medications should be used based on the doctor’s advice.
Imtiaz Ahmed completed his MBBS from Dhaka Medical College.