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Obesity and Weight Management

Muscle loss

11/09/2007

Question:

I have gastric ulcers real bad. My doctor is treating it but my question is,muscle loss. Because I`m very limited on what I can eat, I`ve lost a lot of weight, and muscle.I hate looking in the mirror because I look like a skeleton. How do I regain the muscle? Can it be treated with medication or will I regain it only by gaining weight?

Answer:

Generally, gastric ulcers are the result of an infection with Helicobacter pylori, a bacteria that has adapted to surviving in the acid environment of the stomach. The treatment with antacids and antibiotics lasts about a week, but it can be an uncomfortable week before things get better. After that time, you should be able to resume a normal diet without the same level of discomfort, if the ulcers were the sole cause of your troubles.

In the meantime, I would use a liquid supplement to help maintain a good nutritional foundation. Ensure, Boost and other balanced nutritionals can help. Because they are liquid, they empty faster than a solid meal. Frequent small meals such as these may be better tolerated because acid is buffered better, as well.

Once the symptoms are controlled, start slowly to rebuild physical conditioning, then add light weights to your routine once you’re back to free aerobic movement. There are no good, safe medications that restore muscle mass. Generally, recovery from gastric ulcers does not require anything more than treatment for the root cause, followed by resumption of a balanced diet and a sound exercise routine.

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Response by:

Robert D Murray, MD Robert D Murray, MD
Clinical Professor of Health Behaviors & Health Promotion
Retired Professor of Human Nutrition
College of Education and Human Ecology
The Ohio State University