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Treatment of ulcers: final questions
TREATMENT OF ULCERS: FINAL QUESTIONS
Q. What is the current view on diet as it relates to ulcers? At one time diet was the most important part of treatment and we all recall the awful sloppy foods that were served to grumbling ulcer victims. Is diet still important?
A. The answer is 'No'. Today most doctors believe diet plays no part in therapy. Ideally, the patient is allowed to eat whatever he desires. The concept of small, frequent feeds of non-irritating foods with an emphasis on milk, cream custards, gruel, strained foods and in between meal snacks is no longer regarded as important. Also, the concept that rough, raw vegetables and fruits were harmful is also not generally considered important. Tea, coffee, alcohol, condiments, pips, coarse salad vegetables, fried foods, spices and spicy fare and meat extracts were all incriminated as being bad news and prolonging the healing process.
Today the ulcer patient is allowed to eat virtually whatever he pleases.
Q. What about smoking and alcohol intake?
A. Opinions seem to vary on this. Some experts claim that ulcers heal more slowly if the patient continues to smoke. Others say it doesn't matter. Personally, I think that the irritation of acids from swallowed cigarette smoke may cause harm and it's better not to smoke. Furthermore, smoking is definitely harmful to other systems of the body, notably the respiratory and heart-blood vessel systems. Anyone who continues to smoke is foolish. Smoking is definitely harmful to general health. Some experts also believe the intake of alcohol may be adverse to healing. Once more, others dispute it. I think that the more effort that is made to remove known irritants like alcohol from the ulcer which is trying to heal, the better.
Q. What is the attitude about arthritic drugs and aspirin?
A. Aspirin and other widely used drugs for arthritis are well known for their ability to irritate the lining of the stomach and duodenum. These come under the heading of "non-steroidal antiinflammatory" drugs and ideally in the early stages of ulcer treatment it is usually recommended they be stopped. Most arthritics are able to put up with their pains for a short time, or alternative drugs (usually not as effective) are available as a stop gap. Also, cortisone-like drugs are usually stopped during early active treatment, for it seems that oral forms may inhibit, or delay, healing. However, once more, special instructions and alternative treatment will be given by your own physician or gastro-enterologist. Be guided by him and stick firmly to his advice.
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