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  • Writer's pictureMarieke Pieterman, L.Ac.

It’s confirmed: Acupuncture can help relieve peptic ulcers and prevent relapse

By Marieke A. Pieterman

Are you doubled over in pain from your peptic ulcer? Are the drugs you are taking not resolving it entirely?

Peptic ulcers can feel as bad as they sound. When a sore develops in the inner lining of your stomach or upper part of your small intestine, it can cause a burning sensation, lasting anywhere from a few minutes to several hours.

It is estimated that two to five million people seek out treatment annually for peptic ulcers. These visits to the doctor usually result in a significant amount of antibiotics being prescribed, which wreaks havoc on our overall gut flora and immune system.

However, a new study looked at the effectiveness of drug therapy alone, versus drug therapy plus acupuncture -- and the results were impressive. The study revealed that acupuncture not only helps to heal peptic ulcers, but it can also be instrumental in preventing peptic ulcers from reoccurring in the future. This would eliminate the need of these individuals having to be placed on yet another round of antibiotics, further destroying their gut microbiome.

The study involved 90 individuals, who had suffered from an H. pylori infection for at least five and a half years. One group received only drug therapy -- with 110 mg of bismuth subnitrate and 250 mg of amoxicillin (antibiotic), four times a day. The other group received acupuncture, in addition to the same drug therapy treatment.

The drug therapy was given for 14 days. There were two treatment courses of acupuncture: Each course lasted two weeks, and was administered daily for five days each week, with a two-day break in between. In total, 20 acupuncture treatments were offered.

The acupuncture plus drug group achieved a 95.6 percent total effective rate, with an 86.7 percent H. pylori-negative conversion rate (no longer positive for H. pylori). The drug group achieved an 82.2 percent total effective rate, with a 71.1 percent H. pylori-negative conversion rate.

Twelve months later, those who received drug therapy with acupuncture had a significantly lower rate of relapse – only 15.5 percent recurrence – compared to those who received the drugs alone, with a 41.7 percent recurrence rate.

Are you doubled over in pain from your peptic ulcer? Are the drugs you are taking not resolving it entirely? While acupuncture might not be the cure-all, these statistics certainly make it look like it’s worth exploring as a means to relieve some of the symptoms.

Acupuncture Peptic Ulcer Relief Confirmed



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