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 the development and symptoms of peptic ulcers.
- Stop smoking
- Don’t abuse alcohol
Some studies show that cigarette smokers have a higher risk of peptic ulcers. These studies have also shown that 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 stop.
Heavy alcohol use has been linked to an increased risk of peptic ulcers. Drinking alcohol while you are taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can greatly increase your risk of stomach irritation and peptic ulcer development. Alcohol may also worsen your symptoms if you already have a peptic ulcer.
Always call your doctor if:
- Symptoms don’t improve or recur with treatment
- Symptoms get worse despite treatment
- You notice new symptoms.
- Reviewer: Daus Mahnke, MD; Brian Randall, MD
- Review Date: 04/2013 -
- Update Date: 03/18/2013 -