The most important way to prevent any disease – including peptic ulcer disease – is to maintain a generally healthy lifestyle, which includes the following:
- Exercise the way your doctor or health professional has advised you to.
- Eat three to six small but balanced meals daily.
- Get plenty of rest and decrease your consumption of caffeine, nicotine, alcohol and anti-inflammatory medicines. In certain cases, it may be advisable to eliminate these substances completely.
- Stop smoking. Heavy smokers are more likely to develop duodenal ulcers, primarily because nicotine is thought to prevent the pancreas from secreting enzymes that neutralise acid. Smoking also slows healing.
- Avoid eating foods that irritate your stomach, especially fatty and spicy foods, and rather choose foods with high fibre content. High-fibre foods not only play an important role in the prevention of cancer, but can also greatly reduce your risk of developing a duodenal ulcer: fibre is believed to enhance the secretion of mucin, which protects the duodenal lining.
How peptic ulcers are diagosed
What are peptic ulcers?
The causes of peptic ulcers
Revised and reviewed by Dr John P Wright MBChB, MRCP (UK), PhD. Gastroenterologist in private practice, Cape Town. February 2015
Previously reviewed by Prof Jan van Zyl, Department of Gastroenterology, University of the Free State, July 2011