Is milk good for ulcer treatment?

What you need to know:

  • Treatment of ulcers includes lifestyle changes such as ending smoking or avoiding taking too much alcohol, stopping use of the above painkillers and eradication of helicobacter pylori germs.

Because I rear cattle and take milk every day, I have always believed that I could not get ulcers. However, I was recently diagnosed with ulcers. What could be the cause? Enock

Dear Enock,

Peptic ulcer disease refers to painful sores in the lining of the stomach or the first part of the small intestine (the duodenum), areas usually exposed to the acid produced by the stomach.

Normally, a thick layer of mucus and a strong membrane protect the stomach from the effect of stomach acids. However, infection by a germ, helicobacter pylori, painkillers referred to as NSAIDs (such as diclofenac, Indocid, Aspirin), or excess production of acid (Zollinger-Ellison syndrome) may reduce this protective layer, causing the acid to penetrate the said areas, causing wounds (ulcers) and pain.

Rarely, ulcers (Curling’s ulcers) may be caused by stress. However, missing meals, or eating spicy foods can only make ulcers more painful, but are not a cause.

Treatment of ulcers includes lifestyle changes such as ending smoking or avoiding taking too much alcohol, stopping use of the above painkillers and eradication of helicobacter pylori germs.

Milk provides brief relief of ulcer pain because it coats the stomach lining, mixes with and dilutes stomach acid. In some people, milk may stimulate the stomach to produce more acid and digestive juices, which can aggravate ulcers. 

It is important to note that peptic ulcers are mostly caused by helicobacter pylori germ and painkillers which can affect even cattle keepers. Because the germ was not known to cause peptic ulcers until recently, and milk with magnesium trisilicate were panacea treatment for any abdominal pain, especially suspected to be due to peptic ulcers, it was assumed that milk taken regularly by cattle keepers prevented peptic ulcers.

With better diagnosis of peptic ulcers it is now clear that cattle keepers just like other people in the developing world suffer from peptic ulcers due to inadequate sanitation practices, low socioeconomic status and overcrowded conditions related to higher occurrence of the helicobacter pylori germ.

Why does my body itch during my period?

Every time I get my period, my body itches so much. What causes this and what can I do to get relief? Adong

Dear Adong,

After ovulation, women start producing a lot of the progesterone hormone. Increased levels of this hormone may lead to an allergic reaction (Autoimmune progesterone reaction or dermatitis), consisting mainly of body itching or an itchy rash that appears three to four days before menstruation. This is when progesterone levels peak with the rash or itching resolving a few days after menstruation only to return the following month before menstruation.

Women who have ever used contraceptives containing progesterone commonly get the problem.

Treatment by doctors using steroids or antihistamines can help in most cases. 

 Sometimes, changes in the female hormones that bring on periods can lead to a release of histamine, which can cause body itching related to the period, also treatable by antihistamines and steroids.

Hormonal changes around the time of one’s period may create an imbalance in vaginal pH leading to flourishing of candida, causing vaginal thrush and increased bad bacteria (bacterial vaginosis), both which may also lead to vaginal itching.

Atrophic vulvovaginitis is a condition in which the vaginal tissues become dry, tender, and easily inflamed. The condition develops as a result of low oestrogen levels as happens around one’s period though mostly related to menopause.

Itching during periods can also result from an allergy to materials used to make tampons or pads, requiring one to change the types being used. Although this may involve the vulvo-vaginal area at first, it may eventually spread to the rest of the body if not dealt with.

Using unscented tampons or pads, changing brands of pads or tampons frequently or changing to sanitary cups may help. Itching related to periods requires proper investigation so that the best treatment is given.