Medical experts say it is untrue that dieting alone can treat stomach ulcers, noting that the condition requires medications.
They said there is no scientific evidence to back such an assumption and advised those battling the condition with dietary plan to see a physician for proper treatment.
Speaking exclusively to PUNCH Healthwise, the National Coordinator, National Tuberculosis, Leprosy and Buruli Ulcer Control Programme, Dr. Chukwuma Anyaike, said patients do not need to discontinue their medication because of the immediate relief they get.
According to him, they must follow their medications even when they no longer feel pain.
An ulcer is a sore in the stomach and people that have it experience severe pain as a result of the increase in acid production in the body. The bacterium responsible for an ulcer is helicobacter pylori, he explained.
Dr. Anyaike further said ulcer is a wound on the walls of the intestine and that the wound cannot heal with mere dieting in the absence of appropriate treatment.
The physician said it is wrong for people to claim there is no drug for the treatment of stomach ulcer, warning that it is risky for people to make light of stomach ulcer.
He said, “The thing about stomach ulcer is that it can cause intestinal obstruction and when there is an obstruction, it can perforate and that is a medical emergency, and if surgery cannot be done, such a person can die.
“Some people have lost their lives to treatable health conditions as a result of self-medication and refusal to seek help from experts. It’s very wrong for someone to say that there is no drug for stomach ulcers.
“For the wound to heal, the person has to take medication. It is not true that you will just take food for the wound to heal. An ulcer is a wound on the walls of the intestine. The wound cannot just go like that without treatment.
“Stomach ulcers can cause bleeding. That is why some of those suffering from it die of internal bleeding. So, some people die of bleeding ulcers. That is why people should stop making light of it. There is no scientific evidence to show that ulcer has no treatment.”
The public health physician said people suffering from stomach ulcer usually experience pain when the food they eat food that touches the wound.
Giving further insight into ulcer treatment, Dr. Anyaike, said there are basic things that those with stomach ulcers can do to stop the wound from escalating.
“They should make sure to stay away from anything that will touch the wound and take something that will reduce the effects of the acid.
“They should take some treatments, antibiotics and others that can help in the healing of the wound. When people say there is no drug for ulcers, I do not think it is good information.
“Any drug that will heal the wound can take care of it. The wound cannot just go like that without treatment, which is why if you have ulcer, you have to go to the hospital where you will be given drugs to reduce the pain and then give room for proper healing. So, I don’t believe any person that says there is no drug for ulcer”, he explained.
Listing some of the things that ulcer patients should avoid and those that will facilitate healing, the public health physician counselled that first, stress should be eliminated.
“If you have an ulcer, you must make sure you don’t stress yourself. Eat well and avoid things that will trigger it. Take something that is mild like milk to reduce the effect of stomach acid. Eat at intervals and don’t keep your tummy empty. If you keep your tummy empty, once you take food, it will go and trigger the pain there”, he advised.
Dr. Anyaike stated that as a result of poor health-seeking behaviour in Nigeria, people with ulcers do not go to experts to seek treatment.
“Some people with stomach ulcers go to quacks and they will mix things for them with claims that it will cure it. People should imbibe the attitude of seeking help in the hospital. A good health practitioner will evaluate a person with an ulcer, explain reasons for the ulcer and give him or her appropriate treatment”, he noted.
Also speaking, a community pharmacist, John Chimuanya said, “We have drugs available for the treatment of ulcers but I am not going to mention their names.
“The problem with our people is that they like self-medication and they believe most of the things they read on social media without verification.
“Most importantly, ulcer patients need to be wary of strange medications recommended by charlatan drug peddlers roaming all around the net.”
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