Milk can’t prevent ulcer pain, patients need medicine, experts say

Health experts have warned ulcer patients against drinking milk to prevent and relieve ulcer pain, noting that what they need is medication prescribed by their doctor.

Experts have pointed out that contrary to the mistaken assumption of many people, drinking milk as a first aid treatment is often not beneficial when an individual is suffering from ulcer pain.

According to them, the milk only brings temporary relief as it would cover the surface of the ulcer wound for some time, adding that after being digested, the pain from the wound will return.

An ulcer is a sore in the stomach and people who suffer from it experience severe pain due to increased acid production in the body. The bacteria responsible for an ulcer is Helicobacter pylori, according to experts.

Speaking in an interview with PUNCH Healthwise, a General Practitioner at Federal College of Education – Technical, Akoka, Lagos, Dr Rotimi Adesanya said milk only gives a transient feeling of relief.

“The milk does not prevent the pain from the ulcer, but when taken there is a passing sensation in the sense that the pain might just lessen a bit because the milk will coat/coat the surface of the wound with the ulcer.

“Within minutes, once the milk leaves that side of the wound, the acid production in the body will kick in and the pain will start again, so there’s no benefit of the milk in particular,” explained the expert.

Dr Adesanya added that drinking low-fat yogurt instead of milk may even benefit the stomach in case of ulcer pain.

According to him, yogurt contains a lot of good bacteria that make H. pylori bacteria harmless in the stomach.

He said: “The advantage of low-fat yogurt instead of ulcer is that normally yogurt has a lot of good bacteria, that is, bacteria that are beneficial to the body. Thus, these bacteria present in low-fat yogurts can render harmless and inactivate the bacteria responsible for the ulcer, H. pylori.

However, the doctor pointed out that drinking low-fat milk or yogurt in case of pain is not the ideal first aid treatment.

He said the necessary first step to take is to drink an antacid to help reduce acid production, noting that ulcer patients are often prescribed antacids by their doctors.

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