Now that Helicobacter pylori has been identified as a major cause of peptic ulcers, the usefulness of making certain lifestyle changes has been called into question. Still, some lifestyle changes may decrease your production of stomach acid, decrease your susceptibility to peptic ulcers, and help you control your symptoms.
Smoking cessation is considered essential in reducing symptoms of peptic ulcers. In general, cigarette smokers have more symptoms because smoking causes inflammation and increases acid production. Ulcers in cigarette smokers heal more slowly and have a greater chance of recurring. If you smoke, talk to your doctor about ways to help yourself quit.
Heavy alcohol use is associated with peptic ulcers, especially in combination with other lifestyle habits, like taking nosteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or smoking. Alcohol may worsen symptoms. Talk to your doctor about alcohol intake. If you can drink, do so in moderation. Moderation is a maximum of two drinks a day for men and a maximum of one drink a day for women.
Meurer LN, Bower DJ. Management of Helicobacter pylori infection. Am Fam Physician. 2002;65(7):1327-36.
Peptic ulcer disease. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T116374/Peptic-ulcer-disease. Updated May 11, 2015. Accessed October 4, 2016.
Peptic ulcer disease. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases website. Available at: http://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-topics/digestive-diseases/peptic-ulcer/Pages/overview.aspx. Updated April 30, 2012. Accessed April 29, 2013.
Understanding peptic ulcer disease. American Gastroenterological Association website. Available at: http://www.gastro.org/info_for_patients/2013/6/6/understanding-peptic-ulcer-disease. Accessed April 29, 2013.
Last reviewed June 2016 by Daus Mahnke, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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