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How Traditional Chinese Medicine view and treatment Peptic Ulcer

Peptic ulcers are western medical terminology to describe the open sores that develop on the inside lining of your stomach (Gastric ulcers) and the upper portion of your small intestine (Duodenal ulcers ). In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), they are categorized as "stomach ache" or "epigastric pain” according to the nature of their symptoms.

Peptic ulcers can occur at any age but mostly in young adults. When left untreated, it may result in serious complications such as gastrointestinal bleeding and cancer.

From TCM view, the causes of peptic ulcer are closely related to exogenous pathogens, eating disorders, mood disorders, and the weakness of spleen and stomach. These factors cause stomach-Qi cannot flow smoothly, or flow in the wrong direction, or even cause stomach-blood stagnation which results in pain heart burn, nausea, vomiting, hiccups or belching.

Peptic Ulcer : Diagnosis

Diagnosis in TCM is made by four examinations (inspection, listening and smelling, inquiry, and palpation).

1. The common symptoms of Peptic ulcers are stomach pain. The pain is usually in the epigastric region or upper abdomen and occurs shortly after eating (Gastric ulcers) or when stomach empty (Duodenal ulcers). The pain could be a dull, stabbing, distending, burning or hunger pain. It usually lasts one or two hours but,

in rare cases, it can last several days. The pain can be relieved by food, warm food. Along with pain, associated symptoms are belching, sour regurgitation, excessive saliva, nausea or vomiting.

2. Peptic ulcers occurs mostly at young adults with obvious premorbid inducement, and relate to diet, seasons, or taking drugs that damage spleen and stomach.

3. The diagnosis can be made by electronic gastroscopy or upper gastrointestinal barium meal examination.

Peptic Ulcer: differentiation and treatment

In TCM, treatment for peptic ulcer is based on different patterns, which are group of symptoms of peptic ulcer syndromes. The following are brief introductions to TCM approaches: Deficiency and cold, cold and heat complex, qi stagnation and blood stasis.

1. Deficiency and cold

The patient feels a dull epigastric pain which tends to ease with warmth and massage and the pain occur when stomach is empty and can be relieved by eating. Other symptoms are fatigue, no appetite, lose weight, sour pain in arms and legs, dry mouth and throat. The tongue is pale with a thin white tongue fur. The pulse is weak.


Herbs formula: Xiao Jianzhong Tang, Huangqi JianZhong Tang, Lizhong Tang

Acupuncture points: Guanyuan Qihai Tianshu Zhongwan Taiyi/huaroumen Neiguan Gongsun Zusanli plus moxibustion.

2. Cold and heat complex

The patient feels fullness or distention in the upper stomach, associated with burping, nauseous and bowel sound. Cold food and hot both worse the symptoms. Other symptoms might be cold feet and loose stool, may feel hot in the upper body. The tongue is red with yellow and white and greasy tongue fur. The pulse is wiry.

Herbs formula: Banxia Xiexin Tang, Fuzi Xiexin Tang.

Acupuncture points: Shanwan Zhongwan Liangmen Tianshu Neiguan Chize Zusanli Neiting

3. Qi stagnation and blood stasis

Distending pain or fixed, stabbing pain in the epigastric region are accompanied by poor appetite, oppression in the chest, sour regurgitation, sigh. These symptoms would worsen with emotional disturbance, and can be relieved by discharge of intestinal gas or belching. other symptoms may be bruises in the body, dry in the leg, dark purple cycle in the eye, dark purple color in the lip. The tongue is dark purple covered by a thin white fur or purple patches on the surface. The pulse is tight or string-like and is hesitant.

Prescriptions: Da Chaihu Tang and Guizhi Fuling Wan, Xuefu Zhuyu Tang.

Acupuncture points: Hegu Taichong Weishu Geshu Qimen zhongwan Xiawan Tianshu Neiguan plus wet cupping.

Peptic Ulcer : Prevention

In order to help recovery from peptic ulcer and prevent relapses

  • Eat regularly, do not eat too much at one meal, do not skip meal.

  • Avoid spicy food, cold food, fatty food and food that hard to digest.

  • Avoid alcohol, smoking

  • Be relax, peaceful and happy.

  • Keep your body warm.

  • Use caution with some medication, such as long-term use of aspirin and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) (Advil, Aleve, others)

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