Peptic ulcers, open sores in the lining of the stomach, esophagus, or duodenum (the first part of the intestine), are common. Contrary to popular belief, ulcers are not caused by spicy food or stress. Instead, a type of bacteria called Helicobacter pylori is usually to blame. Long-term use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen (Advil), can also cause ulcers.
A burning pain in the gut is the most common symptom. The pain:
- feels like a dull ache
- comes and goes for a few days or weeks
- starts 2 to 3 hours after a meal
- comes in the middle of the night when your stomach is empty
- usually goes away after you eat
Other symptoms are:
- losing weight
- not feeling like eating
- having pain while eating
- feeling sick to your stomach
Acupuncture has been used traditionally for a variety of conditions related to the digestive tract, including peptic ulcers. A growing body of scientific evidence suggests that acupuncture can help reduce pain associated with endoscopy. Acupuncture is a painless treatment with thin metal needles being inserted to varying depths, and at specific acupuncture points. The needles are usually left inserted for 15 - 30 minutes.