Why has medication failed to heal my ulcers?

Tuesday June 2 2020


By Dr Kasenene

I have ulcers and have tested positive for H.Pylori several times. Although I have had multiple treatments, I only get temporary relief, but once I stop the medicine, the pains come back. What can I do? — Joyce
Hello Joyce,
First of all, not all pain in the epigastric region (stomach area) is caused by ulcers. And, a positive H.pylori test does not always mean you have ulcers. Most people who actually have Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) get misdiagnosed with ulcers. Most people with IBS will also have gas, bloating, feeling of fullness, reflux, constipation or diarrhoea and other symptoms such as fatigue and headaches. A lot of the pain people experience is caused by inflammation in the stomach and gut, not ulcers.

Inflammation in the gut is caused often by either particular food, toxins, medicine, trauma or infections. In most cases, the most significant cause or trigger is food. The common culprit foods are milk and dairy, gluten-containing foods such as wheat (including bread and chapati), groundnuts, certain fish such as Nile Perch and shellfish, soya, fried foods and in some people, even pepper, eggs, avocados, bananas and citrus fruits such as lemon.

My advice is that you first try to eliminate these foods for about two to three weeks and see how you feel. If you feel better, you are probably sensitive to one or more of these foods. Other foods you can avoid are sugar, sugary drinks and red meat. Eating a diet high in fibre including lots of whole fruit, vegetables, seeds and whole grains, will help to improve your gut health. Bone broth (molokoni being one form) is known to be particularly useful for gut health.

I would also advise against the frequent use of antibiotics because they often kill the good bacteria in your gut (probiotics) that help to keep your digestive system healthy. In that regard, I would strongly advise you to take a probiotic supplement. I also recommend that you get a proper evaluation by a nutrition informed doctor to help you get appropriate guidance to ensure that you get rid of this problem once and for all.