Yes, probiotics are good for stomach ulcers. They inhibit the growth of ulcer-causing bacteria in the stomach, which further reduces the chances of ulcer formation. Find out more, in the following HealthHearty article.
Did you know …
… According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, taking 5–10 billion CFUs (colony-forming units) of probiotics a day may help maintain a balance in the digestive system between beneficial and harmful bacteria of the digestive system.
Not all bacteria are harmful, and some can be beneficial to us humans too. One of the most common examples of beneficial bacteria, or probiotics, is Lactobacillus acidophilus, which helps in the process of digestion. There are many probiotics such as Bifidobacterium lactis, Bifidobacterium infantis, Probiotic lactobacillus, etc., which are present in our body and are very helpful in curing various gastrointestinal problems.
One of the most common gastrointestinal problems is the formation of stomach ulcers or peptic ulcers. These ulcers are open sores which are found in the lining of the digestive system. They may cause a lot of pain, discomfort, and burning sensation in the stomach. Previously, ulcers were thought to have been caused due to stress; the main culprit, however, is a bacterium called Helicobacter pylori or H. pylori.
What Causes Stomach Ulcers?
The internal lining of the stomach and intestines is covered with a mucus-like layer which protects it from stomach acid. When this lining recedes or is weakened, the acid starts damaging the sensitive parts of the organs, which leads to formation of ulcers. The major cause behind the formation of peptic ulcer is H. pylori. This bacteria depletes the lining of the stomach, and exposes it to the stomach acid, further causing ulcers. Apart from this, long-term use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, excess intake of alcohol, and radiation therapy are some of the other causes.
Can Probiotics Control Ulcers?
As H. pylori is one of the major causes behind stomach ulcers, it is very important to first control the growth of these bacteria in your system. Treatments that include the use of antibiotics, have failed in giving sufficient and 100% results. After many researches and experiments, it was found that taking probiotics may help suppress the harmful bacteria which causes ulcers. In a study published in Applied and Environmental Microbiology, researchers tested a strain of probiotic bacteria called Bifidobacterium bifidum, against H. Pylori. They tested the activity of this bacteria in mice. After some days, they found that the mouse treated with probiotics had fewer ulcers, as compared to the others. Advanced tests reveled that even the damage to the stomach lining was partially cured by probiotics, as it helped in reducing the inflammation.
When we take probiotics, it competes with H.pylori for oxygen and food, which kills H.pylori. Apart from this, probiotics also reduce inflammation of the stomach, which aids in healing ulcers. It was also found that ingestion of these bacteria is harmless in most of the cases.
Antibiotics taken for treatment reduce the production of stomach acids, which slows down the ulcer formation process. But, they are unable to completely eradicate H.pylori. Hence, if probiotics are combined with antibiotics, treatment will become more effective. However, probiotics may show side effects in some people. Therefore, people who are lactose intolerant, have artificial heart valves, or have a weak immune system, should consult a doctor before taking probiotics. If you develop allergic reactions like rash, facial swelling, shortness of breath, stomach pain, etc., then stop using probiotics immediately and take medical assistance.
Along with medication, if you exercise regularly, follow a healthy diet, avoid alcohol and tobacco completely, you will recover faster.
Disclaimer: This article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.