(Last Updated on : 21/02/2014)
An ulcer is a breach on the surface of the skin or on the membrane lining of any organ such as the stomach. It does not tend to heal quickly. Only those persons who are affected with a vatika type of constitution or in whom vata is the predominant dosha are prone to getting ulcers of the stomach.
Aggravation of the vata dosha in the body gives rise to ulcers either in the stomach or the duodenum. The term peptic ulcer is a general term applied to all ulcers in the stomach, whereas duodenal ulcer is the term applied to an ulcer in the duodenum. The duodenum is the link between the stomach and the jejunum. Pancreatic juice and bile are poured into the duodenum to mix with the permeated food. The duodenum, therefore, plays a major role in the process of digestion.
A duodenal ulcer is a painful disease, the pain being similar to that of colic. The pain comes when the food is being digested. It is probably due to the churning motion of the stomach and ceases when fresh food is ingested. In severe cases of ulcer or when it is too deep, the pain may continue even when there is food in the stomach. The ulcer results in gradual loss of weight due to impairment of digestion and defective or incomplete absorption of food. Pain makes the patient irritable. The ulcer may bleed, the blood mixing with the stools. In very severe cases the blood may come through the mouth. Excessive loss of blood is a serious condition and the patient may have to be hospitalized and given an immediate blood transfusion. Sometimes, there may be only vomiting came before eructation, and the patient throwing up the food. But if such an act of vomiting is followed by a rapid and thready pulse that are indications of falling blood pressure, immediate treatment should be given to correct the blood pressure.
Medicines & Prescriptions
: The Ayurvedic medicine of choice in gastric ulcers is Sukumara Ghrita. It should be administered in doses of two teaspoonfuls with warm milk on an empty stomach. If the patient is unable to digest ghee, or if ghee does not agree with him, the medicine should be given with warm water. The dose must be adjusted according to the digestive powers of the patient. Some patients are unable to tolerate standard doses of the medicine and the dose must therefore be altered according to the patient's condition. The dose should gradually be increased to six teaspoonfuls a day.
The pain of the ulcer is best controlled with another preparation and i.e. Shankha Bhasma. In the case of excruciating pain, Maha Shankha Vati should be given.
Ulcers in the stomach or the duodenum may heal by themselves. Any disturbance in the routine of the patient may aggravate them again. The remedy mentioned above should, therefore, be taken for a long time. The subsidence of the colic should not be taken as the end of the malady. Medication should continue for some weeks after the pain has totally vanished.
Diet and Other Regimen
: Since hyperacidity or Amlapitta is the villain of the piece, which ultimately leads to stomach ulcers. The first step is to withhold all foods, which aggravate the condition. Fried foods and spices especially chillies should be totally prohibited. Bland, easily digestible foods should be the mainstay of the patient's diet. Milk should be freely taken. Generally at intervals of three to four hours during the day milk should be taken. The pain of the ulcer occurs at times when the stomach is empty. Because of this reason milk, wheat, and ghee should be taken in adequate quantities.
In addition to the diet prescribed above, the patient must be advised to keep himself free from worry and stresses of life that are likely to exacerbate the ulcer pain. He must take sufficient rest and sleep for an hour or so during the day. His bowel movement must be ensured because constipation can only contribute to worsening of the condition. The best way to deal with constipation of patients suffering from gastric ulcers is either husk of fleaseed taken at bedtime or castor oil. No strong purgatives should be administered to such patients.