Stress Does Not Cause Ulcers

In the past, people thought stress and diet were major causes of ulcers. However, research has shown that many ulcers are caused by bacteria called Helicobacter pylori, or H. Pylori. This bacterium is found in the stomach and can damage the stomach’s tissue.

“While stress does not cause ulcers, people who experience emotional stress can often feel more pain from existing ulcers,” says Michael R. Freeman, MD, gastroenterologist at Saint Francis Medical Center.

Freeman-Michael_MG_0104If you want to decrease your risk of developing an ulcer, you should stop smoking which slows healing and contributes to ulcer recurrence. Limit your use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as aspirin and ibuprofen. “NSAIDs can make the stomach vulnerable to acid and pepsin by hampering the stomach’s ability to produce mucus and bicarbonate,” says Freeman. “They also can slow down the cell reparation process.”

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