A diet high in fruit and vegetables can reduce the risk of developing a duodenal ulcer. Researchers believe it is the vitamin A and fibre content of the foods that provide the protection.

The benefits of the diet were not reduced by smoking or by taking aspirin, both recognized as risk factors.

Researchers made the discovery after studying 47,806 men aged between 40 and 75 who were free of peptic diseases. During the six years the men were tracked, 138 cases of duodenal ulcer were reported (Am J Epidemiol, 1997; 145: 42-50).

Gastric ulcers are far less likely to return if the patient is successfully treated for H pylori infection, now recognised as a major cause of ulcers.

Researchers have found that the most successful treatment is the combined use of omeprazole and amoxycillin compared with using omeprazole on its own. In a trial involving 107 patients suffering from benign gastric ulcer caused by H pylori, 58 per cent were successfully treated using combination drugs (BMJ, 1997; 314: 565-8).

For more information on diets, see the WDDTY Better Diet Guide.

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Written by What Doctors Don't Tell You

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