Do You Have a Peptic Ulcer?
Digestive issues are becoming more and more common especially with the western diet. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 30 million patients visit a doctor’s office annually due to digestive issues. Of those who visit their doctor, over 10 million receive are diagnosed as having a disease of their digestive system. Among one of the most common diagnoses are peptic ulcers, which are responsible for a great deal of stomach and esophageal discomfort – although many people have no symptoms at all during their earliest stages.
Simply put, peptic ulcers are sores within the linings of the stomach and small intestine. They are most associated with a burning, gnawing sensation within the stomach and can also be a major cause of persistent, and at times severe, acid reflux (or heartburn). Causes vary, however, a bacterium known as Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) is a common culprit. Overuse of pain relievers such as Aspirin, Ibuprofen, and Naproxen are frequent precipitators since they often cause irritation to the stomach lining and even wear it down over time.
Treatment of peptic ulcers usually consists of an antibiotic and a course of bismuth subnitrate, which both target and kill the H. pylori bacterium. Researchers at the Second Affiliated Hospital of Zhongnan University in Hunan, China have tested the effects of applying acupuncture to this combination of treatments and found that doing so expedited positive health outcomes for the patient.
Two groups, consisting of 45 participants assigned to each, were studied. One group received acupuncture in addition to drug therapy; the second (control) group received only drug therapy. Two treatment courses were given, each course lasting around two weeks. The group to receive acupuncture in addition to drug therapy were given treatments designed to target specific acupuncture points over a five-day period, followed by a two-day reprieve.
The results concluded that the approach utilizing a combination of acupuncture and drug therapy yielded the greatest benefits to the patients in terms of recovery and may even prevent subsequent flare-ups.
It goes without saying that it is of utmost importance to visit your primary care physician (PCP) if you are experiencing abdominal or stomach discomfort to receive a proper diagnosis. Should it be confirmed that you have a peptic ulcer, discuss all the potential treatment options with your PCP. If acupuncture seems as though it may be a good fit for you, reach out to us for a free consultation.