Stress Ulcers – a Physical Manifestation of Mental Stress

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By Tess Thompson

The belief that stress ulcers are caused by chronic emotional stress held its ground for a very long time. It was only about two decades ago that doctors belied the long standing belief. They discovered that H.pylori, a type species of genus Heliobacter, is associated with several gastro-duodenal diseases including gastritis and gastric, duodenal ulcers and other peptic ulcers. Today, physicians argue about the real cause of stress ulcers. However, they are in agreement about the fact that instrumental stress aggravates ulcer pain and inhibits the healing process.

Emotional stress is actually the body’s natural defensive mechanism meant to prepare itself to face a situation that is perceived as a threat. For a moment, the body’s entire attention is diverted to fight or escape the threat, and the bodily systems like the digestive process that are not necessary for immediate survival are suspended for the time being.

Modern life presents stressful situations to us on a daily basis. This causes constant stress, which the body is not geared to handle. Intermittent but fairly frequent suspension of the digestive system disturbs the secretion of stomach acids and pepsin, an enzyme produced in the stomach that splits proteins into peptones. Although people with stress ulcers do not secrete excessive stomach acids, the acid is responsible for the development of lesions in the digestive tract. These lesions are generally located in the stomach and sometimes in the duodenum.

Stress ulcers are single or multiple openings in the mucosa of stomach or intestines. The situation gets complicated if there is gastrointestinal bleeding due to physiological stress caused by surgery or serious illnesses. The extent of damage may range from simple shedding of the membranous tissue to ulceration of the entire thickness of the mucosa.

Treatment of stress ulcers starts with preventive measures. Careful attention should be paid to the acid-alkali equilibrium in the body. The goal is to neutralize the gastric acid that is produced or to restrict the amount of secretion.

Natural stress relief measures and an avoidance of emotional stress can go a long way in healing stress ulcers. Look for some stress management tips to help you in avoiding mental stress. Alternative medicine, especially homeopathy and herbal medicine, have some very effective remedies that aid in managing emotional stress symptoms and the discomfort caused by anxiety.


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