Foodie with an ulcer
September 15, 2014 2:08 PM   Subscribe

I am a foodie. I also have an ulcer. What should I be eating?

I am having a lot of trouble figuring out what to eat while I deal with what is probably an ulcer for the next month. My doctor told me to avoid foods with a lot of acid and super-spicy foods, and I am taking some medication as well (pepcid - I can't take Prilosec, it interacts with other medications I am on). I'm fine with doing that, but are there things that might help the ulcer? What kinds of things should I be eating?

I looked this up and found a lot of people recommending chamomile tea and probiotics, but I'm looking for more detailed and everyday dietary advice from people who enjoy cooking and have had this or a similar limitation.

I love messing around in the kitchen; cooking is a big hobby of mine. So things that are complicated or involved are fine with me. I'm just not sure what I should be doing, other than eating things like crackers.

I don't have any additional dietary restrictions.
posted by sockermom to Food & Drink (11 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Sounds like this month is the month of baking new breads, biscuits, croissants, cakes, etc. Work on getting your textures just right. Once you're bored with that, find out which pairs best with your favorite water and mild teas. :)
posted by resurrexit at 2:25 PM on September 15, 2014

Fatty foods set my ulcer off. :( YMMV.

You know that most ulcers are caused by a bacterium, right? Most people get better after a course of antibiotics. Were you tested for the bacterium and/or prescribed antibiotics? If not, go back to your doctor ASAP and ask about that -- many doctors are not up-to-date on modern ulcer treatment (my mother's job used to be doing educational outreach to doctors about this).

(I'm one of the unlucky ones who got ulcers from NSAIDs so no antibiotics quick-fix for me.)
posted by Jacqueline at 2:41 PM on September 15, 2014 [3 favorites]

IANYD, but I have an ulcer, too- and antibiotics didn't do that much for me, either. Slippery elm capsules, however, do the trick for me! It takes 20 odd minutes for relief of a flare-up, but I get it every time. It lasts a while, too. They should be at a health food store, and usually cheaper online. I don't know if the caps will interfere/interact with your medication; that said I was using Pepcid prior and they didn't help. Hope you feel better!
posted by JulesER at 4:12 PM on September 15, 2014

Best answer: Apples, bananas, carrots, peas, potatoes, rice, oatmeal... basically, think baby foods. Then look for recipes that let you create enough variations to keep your foodie side interested.
posted by Bentobox Humperdinck at 4:39 PM on September 15, 2014

I've had an ulcer but this advice comes from someone living with horrible every day stomach acid problems.

Avoid spicy and acids. This includes
Oranges and orange juice
Salsa and hot sauce

Also avoid soda, caffine, coffee, and alcohol.

Try mint tea, real gingerale, probiotics, eating small frequent meals, plus easy to digest foods.

(Also definitely follow up with your doctor of things are worse or don't improve for further testing.)
posted by Crystalinne at 4:39 PM on September 15, 2014

Best answer: The only proven food that may help eradicate an ulcer is lactic acid bacteria, which is why people ecommend probiotics and yogurt. Most ulcers are caused by a bacteria (h. pylori), which is why you usually get an antibiotic.

Pepcid and avoiding spicy and acidic foods is merely symptom control. Careful with the crackers - contrary to popular belief, refined carbs can actually increase stomach acid production. So I would actually avoid a lot of breads and cakes. If I were you, I would stick to a variant of the banana/rice/yogurt/oatmeal diet for a couple weeks while you do your antibiotic course.
posted by Lutoslawski at 4:48 PM on September 15, 2014

Response by poster: I do not drink carbonated beverages. Should have noted that above.

I have lots of comorbidities here so the doc is being incredibly conservative. Don't worry; we have a plan for follow up visits, etc.
posted by sockermom at 5:57 PM on September 15, 2014

NO MILK! When I had an active peptic ulcer many years ago I was drinking milk like crazy, trying to soothe the burning, alternating with Maalox or Mylanta. When it finally started bleeding and I saw a doctor and was diagnosed, he told me that milk makes an ulcer worse due to the lactic acid - just aggravates the heck out of the ulcer.

Hope you get this healed up quickly. Many stomach ulcers have now been found to be caused by a bacteria, which is very cool because you can take an appropriate antibiotic and get over it that way - much easier than when my doctor told me I needed to figure out what was going on in my life that was causing so much stress/frustration/anger and put a stop to it whatever I had to do - or he'd be operating on me to remove half my stomach and I could live on baby food for the rest of my life! No kidding - that's what he said.

I knew immediately it was my job. I'd been working for two years as a CNA in a nursing home, which was just fine - I enjoyed it very much - but then they sold out to a nursing home chain who cut the staffing back to dangerous levels, the food quality dropped like a rock, and many other things happened that put my favorite old people in jeopardy. Leaving the job would be abandoning them, but staying there was causing the ulcer and tearing me up inside. I had to face it and change jobs, which I did, but it hurt something fierce.

I hope yours is easier to fix and wish you well.
posted by aryma at 11:35 PM on September 15, 2014

Deglycyrrhizinated licorice, or DGL is good for preparing the stomach prior to eating. I have high stomach acid and was amazed at the difference mineral water made. It may be advantageous to try a fast and slowly add foods after to see if you are able to narrow it down. I found out that gluten made my stomach burn like no other.
posted by worlddisciple at 9:02 AM on September 16, 2014

I cannot second worlddisciple's recommendation for DGL enough. I had a peptic ulcer for five (!) months a few years ago and tried a whole bunch of different hippy dippy "cures" as well as dietary regiments. I also tried over the counter stuff - basically anything short of the "triple therapy" cocktail that is used to treat ulcers. I didn't want to go on PPI's and antibiotics. I bought a bottle of DGL sometime in my fifth or so so month of the ulcer and it healed me in 1-2 weeks. I'd actually say I was healed in 1 week but took it that second week just to be sure. A bottle is like $10 at the health food store if there is one near you.

What to eat is much less important than healing the hole in your stomach. Besides it really doesn't make much of a difference. Seriously. An ulcer feels bad all the time. And if you're not treating your ulcer and it gets worse (god forbid), food is going to be the least of your issues.

If you don't have an ulcer (it sounds like you're not totally sure), DGL won't hurt you. There's no side effects.

If you don't want to try hippy-dippy herbs and you said you cannot take PPI's, ask your doctor for carafate. It does the same thing as DGL but is pharmaceutical.

Seriously, if you have an ulcer, don't just hope it goes away on its own.
posted by atinna at 5:57 PM on September 16, 2014

Oh yeah, be sure to avoid alcohol and aspirin (take something else if you need pain relief or whatever). These are two of the worst things and in fact often time causes of peptic ulcers.
posted by atinna at 6:02 PM on September 16, 2014

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