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Exercising with an Ulcer

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Ulcers can be a real pain in the gut. The discomfort ranges from mild to severe and prevents some people from doing activities they would otherwise enjoy. In the past, diets consisting of spicy foods or stress were considered to cause ulcers. Now, medical experts know that an ulcer is caused by a bacterial infection or certain medications. For ulcer patients, movement can bring attention to the illness and trigger its symptoms. Here are a few things to keep in mind if you are trying to exercise with an ulcer.


The most common forms of ulcers are peptic ulcers—open sores on the lining of the stomach, upper small intestine, or esophagus. Up to 10 percent of Americans have reported a peptic ulcer during some point in their lives. Fortunately, ulcers can be treated, and a full recovery is possible.


Abdominal pain is the main symptom associated with a peptic ulcer. The pain can worsen when stomach acid encounters the ulcerated area. It can be felt anywhere between the navel and breastbone, lasting a few minutes, several hours, or any amount of time in between. Typically, the pain of an ulcer is worse if your stomach is empty.


Certain foods may help to control the ulcer pains temporarily. Also, taking acid-reducing medication can reduce pain. In both cases, the relief should not be confused with a permanent solution to an ulcer. The pains might seem to disappear, but could reoccur for a few days or weeks at a time. If you have an ulcer, you should seek long term treatment through medical attention and an approved plan by your doctor.

Severe Cases

Severe cases of ulcers can lead to nausea, weight loss, vomiting of blood, and appetite changes. No matter what level of pain is experienced, you should consult a physician in order to ensure proper diagnosis and treatment. If untreated, ulcers could cause serious damage.

Ulcers and Physical Activity

Recent studies have reported the positive effects of aerobic activity while recovering from an ulcer. However, these conclusions cannot be verified with any of the major medical sources. You need to understand your own situation, and consult your doctor to learn when you can start exercising again.

When Can I Exercise?

The time when you resume physical activity depends on the extent of your treatment. Surgeries will require more healing time, so be very careful about the amount of exercising you do when trying to recuperate. Some movements might be better than others because of the level of resistance and intensity. In general, it's a good idea to use caution and avoid high intensity activities until an ulcer is significantly healed. Staying in shape will also lower the risk of future ulcers.


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