Yes, Ulcers Can Be Psychogenic


Peptic ulcers used to one of the most widespread psychosomatic pain syndromes. Just a few decades ago, it was very common for people to develop ulcerative conditions in response to conscious stress or some deeply hidden,repressed emotional issues.

Medical science used to treat this gastric condition with various drugs and occasional surgery. Eventually, doctors realized the indisputable connection between the stomach pain and the subconscious mind.

Oddly enough, once this occurred, the incidence of ulcerative conditions went way down. For students of mindbody pain syndromes, this is logical, since once the smokescreen of the condition has been lifted, ulcerative conditions became far less effective as defense mechanisms and therefore, the mind chose other more convincing expressions to replace them.  This has been seen many times historically with a variety of mindbody syndromes which were eventually recognized for what they truly are.

This essay proves that peptic ulcers can still be caused by the psychosomatic process, regardless of more recent developments that link formation to H pylori infection.

What is a Stomach Ulcer?

This gastric condition describes a sore or hole in the stomach or intestine. Actually, ulcers can exist almost anywhere in the gastrointestinal system. Most are not very serious and can be corrected with medication, dietary change and/or possibly even knowledge therapy.

Some of the most commonly theorized causes include alcohol consumption, dietary intake and emotional stress.

There is considerable debate about the role of the bacteria Helicobacter pylori in the creation process of ulcerative conditions. Some doctors theorize that this bacterium is the real cause of the condition, while others believe that the ulcer attracts the abundance of bacteria.

Most people with large quantities of Helicobacter pylori bacteria in their gastrointestinal tract do not develop ulcerative problems and some diagnosed patients do not show elevated levels of the bacteria at all.

Even among doctors who believe H. pylori to be causative, many still feel that the mind sets the ideal environment for the bacteria to grow to begin with, once again assigning blame for ulcers to the mind, not the body or the bacteria themselves.

Symptoms of Peptic Ulcers

Pain in the area of the condition is the most common symptom. Sometimes this pain is worsened from eating and other times it is relieved. Often, the choice of foods might also influence the severity of the pain.

Bloating, heartburn, vomiting or nausea are occasional symptoms suffered by some patients. A chronically bleeding ulcer can be especially troublesome and these health issues land many patients in the hospital each year.

An ulcer can cause serious health problems, such as chronic internal bleeding, so it is important to receive proper monitoring and treatment by a qualified physician.

Ulcer History

Who would ever have guessed that ulcers were actually caused or worsened by some psychological process? After all, the condition is just so physical and seems unlikely to be the result of an emotional process. Sounds familiar when it comes to back pain as well, right?

Ulcers are easy to diagnose, but hard to blame on a particular cause. There are many theories about the true nature of an ulcer’s causation. Doctors can not seem to agree upon any decisive evidence.

Once doctors started advising patients to relax more and not let their stress affect them, the incidence of ulcers declined sharply. Ulcerative conditions are far less prevalent today than 50 years ago. It seems that this particular psychosomatic pain syndrome has fallen out of vogue and been replaced by other more fearsome conditions.

I wonder if doctors stopped creating a nocebo effect with this diagnosis as better treatments became available. It is hard to frighten a patient with a condition that is easily treated. It is also hard to make money from a condition that is so easily treated.

Tips for Ulcers

Although there are definite contributing physical factors to the formation of ulcerative problems, there is a personality profile that makes a patient prone to developing the actual condition.  This psychoemotional variable seems to be the most important factor in determining who will actually develop an ulcerative pain syndrome and who will not.

As with all psychosomatic conditions, the underlying root cause is repressed emotions and how these emotions are reactive with the personality. It is far easier to predict who might develop an ulcerative stomach condition by studying their personality then by researching their diet, bacteria levels or alcohol consumption.

It is also far easier to prevent or cure ulcerative conditions by understanding the true psychological cause for their creation.

Back Pain > Psychologically Induced Pain Syndromes > Ulcers