Physicians fault claim stomach ulcer has no medication, say neglect could cause internal bleeding, death


The National Coordinator, National Tuberculosis, Leprosy and Buruli Ulcer Control Programme, Dr.ChukwumaAnyaike, has faulted the claim by some Nigerians that there is no drug for the treatment of stomach ulcer, noting that the notion that dieting can cure it is false

Anyaike said an ulcer is a wound on the walls of the intestine, noting that the wound cannot heal with mere dieting, as it requires appropriate treatment.

There had been reports on social media that stomach ulcer had no drug and that it would take one’s eating habit to cure it.

But speaking in an exclusive interview with PUNCH HealthWise, Anyaike said it is risky for people to trivialise ulcer, warning that if left untreated, it could result in internal bleeding and possible death of the sufferer.

According to him, some people have lost their lives to stomach ulcers, as a result of self-medication and their refusal to seek help from experts.

The public health physician explained, “It’s very wrong for someone to say that there is no drug for stomach ulcer.

“For the wound to heal, the person has to take a drug. It is not true that you will just take food for the wound to heal.

“Ulcer is a wound on the walls of the intestine. The wound cannot just go like that without treatment.

“Ulcer can trigger and 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 commonising it. There is no scientific evidence to show that ulcer has no treatment.”

The expert said people suffering from stomach ulcers usually experience pain when the food that they eat touches the wound.

Continuing, he said, “So, how does the ulcer come about? Your body secretes a kind of fluid sometimes that is acidic in nature. If it doesn’t see any food, it will start corroding the walls of the gut and if it corrodes the walls of the gut, that is how the wound starts. Although there is also a worm said to usually cause that too.

“Now, when you eat food and the food touches that place, you will start having pain.”

Giving further insight into ulcer treatment, Anyaike said there are basic things that those battling ulcers could do to avoid the wound escalating.

“They should make sure that they prevent anything that will touch the wound; they should take something that will reduce the effects of acid.

“And 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 ulcer, I do not think it is correct information.

“Any drug that will help the wound to heal takes care of it. The wound cannot just go like that without treatment.

“That is why if you are sick of ulcer, you have to go to the hospital and they will give you drugs and those drugs will reduce the pain and then give room for healing. So, I don’t believe any person saying there is no drug for ulcer.”

Listing some of the things that ulcer patients should avoid and things do to facilitate their healing, the public health physician counselled them to, first of all, avoid stress.

“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 that 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.

Anyaike stated that as a result of the poor health-seeking behaviour in Nigeria, people with ulcers don’t go to experts to seek treatment.

“Some people with stomach ulcer go to quacks and they will mix something and give to them and claim 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 the patient appropriate treatment,” he noted.

Also speaking, a Community Pharmacist, John Chimuanya faulted the claim that ulcer has no drug.

“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 believe most of the things they read on the social media without verification.

“Most importantly, ulcer patients need to be wary of strange medications recommended by charlatan drug peddlers roaming the net.

“They don’t care about your condition; they only care about their pockets. Don’t go and use something to aggravate your condition in a bid to get cured”, he said.

According to WebMD, an online portal, the most common remedy is a combination of antibiotic drugs to kill the H. pylori bacteria and medications to get rid of acid in the stomach.

“If your ulcer is caused by over-the-counter painkillers, you’ll need to quit taking them.

They also may give you a drug called a protectant, which coats ulcers to protect them from stomach acid”, WebMD says.

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