A peptic ulcer refers to an eroded lesion in the inner lining of the stomach and the adjoining intestinal tract called the duodenum.
The ulcer in the stomach is known as a gastric ulcer, and that in the duodenum is called a duodenal ulcer. Usually, both are grouped together and termed as peptic ulcers.
In Ayurveda it is a disease of tri-doshic nature ie, Vata, Pitta and Kapha. But aggravation of pitta is noted in all cases.
A peptic ulcer is the result of hyperacidity, which is caused by an increase in the hydrochloric acid in the stomach. This strong acid secreted by the cells on the lining of the stomach, erodes the inner lining of the stomach.
Dietic indiscretion such as overeating, taking of heavy meals or highly spiced foods, coffee, alcohol and smoking are the main factors contributing to this condition.
Other causes are ingestion of certain drugs, food poisoning, certain infections, gout, emotional disturbances, stress and nervous tension.
In case of peptic ulcers, the patient gets sharp and severe pain and discomfort in the upper part of the abdomen. In both gastric and duodenal ulcers, the pain occurs in different situations. Like in case of gastric ulcers the pain usually occurs an hour after meals and rarely at night. Whereas in case of duodenal ulcers the pain usually occurs between meals when the stomach is empty. Here the pain is relieved by food, especially milk. Sometimes chilled milk is an instant pain-reliever in peptic ulcers. Not only milk, fresh and sweet butter milk is also equally useful in relieving pain. Most of the Ayurvedic preparations like Avipattikar churn, Prawal bhasm, Shankh bhasm are to be administered with buttermilk as antacids.
Here, these above mentioned Ayurvedic preparations, not only give symptomatic relief, but if taken for a long period along with some other generic preparations they give complete relief from peptic ulcers.
The diet of the patient suffering from a peptic ulcer should be so planned as to provide adequate nutrition, while affording rest to the disturbed organs, maintaining continuous neutralization of the gastric acid, inhibiting the production of acid and reducing mechanical and chemical irritation.
Milk, cream, butter, fruits, fresh raw and boiled vegetables, natural foods and natural vitamin supplements constitute the best diet.
A daily oil massage ie, Abhyanga and deep breathing ie Pranayama practice also help in better gastric secretions and ulcerations.
Patients suffering from peptic ulcers must try to rid themselves of worries and stay cheerful. They should also cultivate regularity in their habits — be it work, exercise or rest.