Now that Helicobacter pylori has been identified as a major cause of peptic ulcers, the usefulness of making certain lifestyle changes has been called into question. Still, some lifestyle changes may decrease your production of stomach acid, decrease your susceptibility to peptic ulcers, and help you control your symptoms.
Smoking cessation is considered essential in reducing symptoms of peptic ulcers. In general, cigarette smokers have more symptoms because smoking causes inflammation and increases acid production. Ulcers in cigarette smokers heal more slowly and have a greater chance of recurring. If you smoke, talk to your doctor about ways to help yourself quit.
Heavy alcohol use is associated with peptic ulcers, especially in combination with other lifestyle habits, like taking nosteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or smoking. Alcohol may worsen symptoms. Talk to your doctor about alcohol intake. If you can drink, do so in moderation. Moderation is a maximum of two drinks a day for men and a maximum of one drink a day for women.
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Peptic ulcer disease. Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/gastrointestinal-disorders/gastritis-and-peptic-ulcer-disease/peptic-ulcer-disease. Updated May 2014. Accessed January 12, 2017.
Peptic ulcers (stomach ulcers). National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases website. Available at: https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/digestive-diseases/peptic-ulcers-stomach-ulcers/all-content. Updated November 2014. Accessed January 12, 2017.
Last reviewed December 2016 by Daus Mahnke, MD Last Updated: 5/20/2015