We’ve been hearing for years that spicy foods cause ulcers and we should stay away from them. Then, people started saying that while spicy foods don’t cause ulcers, they may aggravate them. Same for coffee. The latest information indicates that hot peppers, the spiciest food I can think of, may actually be good for healing the digestive system. A few years back, researchers found that ulcers are caused by bacteria, not spicy foods or any of the other things they were previously blamed on. I decided to do some research to clear up all this confusion. Can spicy food really cause ulcers? If not, what does?
Well, does it?
The verdict is in. Spicy food cannot cause ulcers. It can irritate them, if you already have them. This may be how the old wives tale of spicy food causing ulcers came about. So what does cause ulcers? Is it bacteria, or something else? Actually ulcers can be caused by several things. Spicy food is not one of them. Nor is coffee.
Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori)
Wow, that’s a mouthful, isn’t it? Helicobacter pylori, or H pylori, as it is commonly called is the bacteria scientists believe is responsible for a vast majority of ulcers. For the past several years, doctors have been treating this type of ulcer with antibiotics. The success rate is great. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work with all ulcers. That’s because some are caused by other factors.
There are common medications that also cause ulcers. This is especially true when these medications are taken on a regular basis. Pain relievers known as NSAIDS are the biggest culprit. They can irritate the stomach lining, causing ulcers, or open sores. If you are taking over the counter or prescription medications on a regular basis, be sure to ask your doctor about the side effects, including ulcers.
Did you know certain diseases could cause ulcers? Cancer is a big one. Cancerous ulcers occur in people with digestive system cancers, such as stomach, intestinal or colon cancer. People can also get ulcers when weakened by other diseases. The stomach doesn’t receive enough oxygen, which causes ulcers to form. Chrohns disease can cause ulcers as well.