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The best ulcer remedies are usually the ones that a doctor recommends. Many ulcers are caused by a bacterial infection. They require medications to heal. Common drugs used for this condition include antibiotics to treat the infection, as well as drugs to lower the stomach's acid levels. In addition to prescribed treatments, patients can improve their health through lifestyle choices.
Some common ulcer remedies include antibiotics, such as amoxicillin, metronidazole, and clarithromycin. These drugs combat the Helicobacter pylori, or H. pylori, bacteria that often causes ulcers. A doctor may recommend a combination of these medications. Patients should follow all dosing instructions and complete the full course of treatment, even if they are feeling better.
A proton pump inhibitor (PPI) may also be recommended. This is a type of medication that reduces the acid in the digestive tract. It works by halting the pumps that secrete acid into the stomach. Proton pump inhibitors can encourage the ulcer to heal and decrease painful symptoms. Some examples of PPIs include omeprazole, esomeprazole, and rabeprazole.
Patients may also include acid blockers in their arsenal of ulcer remedies. Acid blockers, or histamine (H-2) blockers, also work to reduce the amount of acid in the digestive tract. Some are available by prescription, while others may be found over-the-counter. Examples of acid blocker drugs include cimetidine, nizatidine, and ranitidine.
For quick pain relief, one may try an antacid. These neutralize stomach acid, rather than working to reduce it. Before considering the use of an antacid medication, however, patients should ask a doctor if it will interfere with other treatments.
In addition to antibiotics and drugs that reduce or neutralize stomach acid, patients may consider taking a cytoprotective agent. These ulcer remedies include products available over-the-counter, like bismuth subsalicylate. Prescription options include misoprostol and sucralfate. Cytoprotective agents are drugs that help protect the lining of the stomach and digestive tract. This may help prevent further damage to the tissues.
Before beginning a course of treatment, patients should fully disclose all other drugs they are taking. Some ulcer remedies may interact with other medications. Patients should also be aware of the possible side effects of the treatment. For example, proton pump inhibitors may increase the risk of a hip fracture when they are taken on a long-term basis.
In some cases, the ulcer may not be caused by H. pylori bacteria. The use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may be the culprit instead. Patients who fall under this category should cease taking NSAIDs, like ibuprofen and aspirin. Other lifestyle-related ulcer remedies include avoiding caffeine, alcohol, and tobacco. If symptoms grow worse with the consumption of spicy foods, these products should also be avoided.