Psychosomatics of duodenal ulcer

The duodenum (named for its length of 12 closed fingers (digits)) is the initial section of the small intestine that follows the stomach and controls the production of enzymes and bile necessary for digestion.

Here, food is recognized and analyzed for its composition, and intestinal digestion begins: proteins are digested into amino acids, fats into fatty acids and glycerol, and carbohydrates into monosaccharides.

Diseases of the duodenum affect the entire digestive process in the intestine. One of the most common diseases of this organ is a duodenal ulcer.

Duodenal ulcer is a condition where the mucous membrane of the intestinal wall is damaged, forming ulcerative defects. Typically, an ulcer occurs with increased acidity, which harms the mucous membrane.

The main causes of this ailment are:

  • Helicobacter pylori,
  • Poor diet,
  • Genetic predisposition,
  • Alcohol,
  • Smoking,
  • Stress, etc.

Symptoms of a duodenal ulcer include:

  1. Heartburn,
  2. Pain in the upper abdomen,
  3. Nausea and vomiting,
  4. Loss of appetite,
  5. Weight loss,
  6. Pain under the right ribs,
  7. Sometimes blood in vomit or stools, etc.

This condition can progress to a perforated ulcer – a dangerous bleeding disorder. Pancreatic enzymes and bile can enter the abdominal cavity, causing irritation and inflammation of the peritoneum (peritonitis).

Symptoms of a perforated ulcer: abdominal bloating, fever, acute pain, skin pallor, vomiting, increased heart rate and pulse, etc.

The concept of a stress ulcer (or ulcer on a nervous basis)

Recently, the concept of ‘stress ulcer’ has appeared in the literature. The acknowledgment of this ailment by specialists highlights the significance and potential of the psychosomatic approach in treating diseases.

It means that those suffering from ulcers (and not only ulcers) would benefit from studying and applying proven psychosomatic information for healing.

Consider a stress ulcer as an example. It is a functional disorder of the organ, characterized by defects on the mucous membrane, arising on a nervous basis.

During stress, the body produces so-called corticosteroids, whose excess disrupts mucus production. As the mucous membrane protects the organ from acid erosion, without it, the organ remains unprotected. The appearance of ulcers is also facilitated by increased acidity and weak activity of digestive enzymes during stress.

It has been found that increased irritability in a person’s character increases the risk of developing or exacerbating an ulcer.

Initially, a stress ulcer develops asymptomatically, and typical pain sensations are not observed. The danger lies in the potential for bleeding due to perforation of the organ walls.

Duodenal ulcer as a psychosomatic disease

To understand the psychosomatic mechanism of duodenal ulcer development, remember that it is in the duodenum where food recognition and analysis of its composition occur. In psychosomatic terms, this means that this organ is associated with how a person recognizes and analyzes incoming information from the outside world (such as ideas, emotions, etc.), and then begins to ‘digest’ it.

For a person to easily and calmly perceive, ‘digest,’ and assimilate any incoming information, they must feel safe and comfortable.

Hence, damage to the mucous membrane of the duodenum (without mucus, there is no protection) signals that a person feels defenseless. They feel aggression towards themselves and do not believe they can protect themselves,

Thus, the ailment indicates a need for a sense of security, often masked by excessive independence, when a person outwardly tries to show they can handle everything alone but lacks this confidence internally.

Psychologists have also found that people with ulcers tend to be overly ambitious and prone to harsh self-criticism and criticism of others.

Another psychological cause of ulcers is self-hatred and constant dissatisfaction with oneself, while trying to prove to others their indispensability and worth.

Psychologist Liz Burbo sees the cause of a psychosomatic duodenal ulcer in the person being so focused on certain problems that they literally eat themselves up with worry. They are easily irritated, feeling anger and helplessness simultaneously.

Liz Burbo writes that an ulcer patient feels resentment and cannot get rid of internal pain.

The psychologist asserts that to free oneself from feelings of helplessness, one must reconnect with their natural protective forces, possible only by changing their attitude towards people and events.

Louise Hay sees the causes of ulcers as fear, a firm belief in one’s inferiority, and a desire to please. To find the cause of their ulcer, she suggests the patient ask themselves: ‘What’s eating you?’

V. Sinelnikov notes that a person with an ulcer literally cannot ‘digest’ what they represent, trying to please people and forgetting about themselves, constantly engaging in self-criticism.

O.G. Torsunov writes that qualities such as assertiveness, aggressiveness, callousness, and stubbornness contribute to the development of ulcers, including duodenal ulcers.

Paths to healing a psychosomatic duodenal ulcer

So, we have determined that the appearance of an ulcer is related to the loss of a sense of security. Analyzing the work of specialists helped us understand that a person loses this sense of security due to constant dissatisfaction with themselves and others, as well as a tendency to harsh self-criticism.

Thus, the path to healing is apparent: abandon dissatisfaction with oneself and others and stop criticizing oneself and others.

As soon as the patient realizes

  • that there are no perfect people (although we all should strive for perfection),
  • that everyone has the right to make mistakes, that everyone has the right to live their life, not meeting someone else’s expectations,
  • that Life is wise and leads a person through events and relationships necessary for their development, healing will occur very soon.

From such an understanding, it would not occur to a person to criticize anyone or anything or be dissatisfied with anyone or anything, including themselves. They will live with a calm soul, trusting Life, knowing that everything happens as it should for Development.

And even illness is given only for one purpose – for the person to realize something emotionally important and to correct their inner mistakes (destructive thoughts, emotions, habits, etc.), poisoning their life, depriving them of the joy of living.

Everything is in your hands, or rather – in your thoughts!


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