Who Gets It And What Happens
The stomach has a protective lining of mucus that prevents stomach acid or other things from irritating the stomach tissue. Inflammation can develop if the stomachs protective lining is damaged or weakened.
Conditions of substances that increase your risk of gastritis include:
- Bacterial infection. Many people infected with Helicobacter pylori develop a chronic gastritis.
- Regular use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications such as: aspirin, ibuprofen or naproxen.
- Increased age. Aging causes the stomach lining to begin to thin.
- Alcohol use.
- Significant stress such as major surgery, injury or severe infection.
- Bile reflux.
- Upper abdominal pain, often gnawing, burning or aching that can change with eating
- Feeling very full after eating only a small amount of food
How To Avoid Gastritis
Gastritis can be quite painful, uncomfortable and lead to stomach cancer, so its important to find ways to avoid it altogether. When avoiding gastritis, its important to know your risk factors. Some risk factors of gastritis include:
- Those who use anti-inflammatory medications for a long period of time
- Those who drink excessively
- Those with liver, kidney or lung failure
- Those with digestive disease like Crohns
- Those who consume a diet high in acidity, as in citrus fruits
Diet can play a large role in avoiding gastritis. Knowing what foods to eat and which to avoid especially if you have any of the gastritis risk factors is important.
Course Of Disease And Prognosis
An acute gastritis usually has a good prognosis. It often heals on its own after a few days or weeks without further treatment. However, there are also severe courses, for example when patients have erosive gastritis. If haemorrhagic gastritis is accompanied by bleeding, this can be life-threatening. In addition, an inflammation of the stomach lining can develop into a stomach ulcer.
A chronic inflammation of the stomach lining usually lasts for several weeks, months or even years. Due to the constant irritation of the stomach lining, chronic gastritis increases the risk of cells degenerating and causing stomach cancer. First, the cells of the stomach mucosa transform into intestinal cells. This is called intestinal metaplasia .
Anyone who has chronic gastritis should therefore have a gastroscopy regularly every three years. In this way, cancer and precancerous stages can be detected and treated in time.
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What Are The Potential Complications From Gastritis
If your gastritis is left untreated, it can lead to stomach bleeding as well as ulcers. Certain forms of gastritis can increase your risk of developing stomach cancer, particularly in people with thinned stomach linings.
Because of these potential complications, its important to consult with your doctor if you experience any symptoms of gastritis, especially if theyre chronic.
Symptoms Of Chronic Gastritis
In chronic gastritis, a distinction is made between types A, B and C, depending on the cause, as well as various special forms.
Symptoms of type A gastritis
In type A gastritis, less gastric acid is produced. This can cause digestive problems. In addition, this form of gastritis results in a vitamin B12 deficiency, which triggers a so-called pernicious anaemia, a special form of anaemia. Symptoms are then, among others, sensations of discomfort, tiredness and exhaustion.
Symptoms of type B gastritis
Type B gastritis usually shows only unspecific symptoms. Some patients develop bad breath and as the disease progresses, additional conditions such as:
- Duodenal ulcer
- Stomach cancer
- MALT lymphoma
Symptoms of type C gastritis
Even a chronic type C gastritis usually causes only unspecific symptoms. Many patients report discomfort in the upper abdomen. Often the symptoms correspond to those of a irritable stomach.
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What Are The Types Of Gastritis
There are two main types of gastritis:
- Erosive : Erosive gastritis causes both inflammation and erosion of the stomach lining. This condition is also known as reactive gastritis. Causes include alcohol, smoking, NSAIDs, corticosteroids, viral or bacterial infections and stress from illnesses or injuries.
- Non-erosive: Inflammation of the stomach lining without erosion or compromising the stomach lining.
Gastritis: Causes And Risk Factors
Gastritis occurs when the protective mucous membrane of the stomach is damaged. These can be substances that irritate the stomach or factors that stimulate an overproduction of corrosive stomach acid.
Triggers for acute gastritis are, for example:
- excessive consumption of alcohol
- Food poisoning by bacteria such as staphylococci or salmonella
- mechanical irritation, for example by a stomach tube or other foreign bodies
- Burns caused by acids or alkalis
- physical stress such as during long-term respiration, craniocerebral trauma, burns, brain diseases, major surgery, shock
- Competitive sports
If bacteria such as staphylococci or salmonella are the cause, gastritis can be contagious. The pathogens are then excreted with the stool, and other people can become infected, for example by sharing a toilet.
The stomach is a hollow muscle and lined inside with a mucous membrane. It protects the body from gastric acid, so to say for a non medical audience. For digestion, food and gastric acid are mixed together in the stomach and transported further towards the intestines by muscle work.
The Best Treatment Is Prevention
When the specific underlying reason for gastritis is known, physicians focus first on resolving the cause. For example, when the bacterium H pylori is the source of gastritis, antibiotics are prescribed if aspirin or another medication is the cause, then that medication is discontinued. With the underlying problem resolved, gastritis can improve quickly. Medications like antacids may be used to improve gastritis symptoms. They work by neutralizing the stomach acid and reducing the amount of acid produced by the stomach.
H pylori is passed from person to person through fecal-oral transmission. Infection can occur when fecal matter from a bowel movement is ingested by a person who doesnt wash his or her hands. The bacteria may also be passed from soiled hands to surfaces like countertops and doorknobs, where they are then passed along to someone else. In both cases, H pylori is ingested along with the food. The habit of regularly washing ones hands can go a long way toward preventing H pylori infection and resulting gastritis.
Although NSAIDs decrease pain and inflammation, they also interfere with a hormone needed to produce the mucus that protects the stomach lining. Using the lowest effective NSAID dose for the shortest duration is another best practice for reducing the risk of gastritis.
Is Inflammation The Source Of Your Stomach Pain
If youve ever experienced a paper cut, you might have noticed that the surrounding skin turned warm and red. This is a natural response from your immune system, which sends a rush of blood to the area to deliver healing white blood cells. The same thing occurs when a sprained ankle swells or strep throat brings a fever. This process is known as inflammation.
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Things You Can Do To Ease Gastritis
If you think the cause of your gastritis is repeated use of NSAID painkillers, try switching to a different painkiller that’s not in the NSAID class, such as paracetamol.
You may want to talk to a GP about this.
- eating smaller, more frequent meals
- avoiding foods that can irritate the stomach, such as spicy, acidic or fried foods
- avoiding or cutting down on alcohol
Actions You Can Take To Improve Your Acid Reflux Symptoms
While research continues and doctors look for more effective treatment for acid reflux and the inflammation that often causes it, there are some things you can do to reduce your symptoms and possibly rid your life of acid reflux pain.
Take a look at these dietary and lifestyle guidelines recommended by Dr. Jonathan Aviv in his 28 day reflux prevention.
Do you experience pain from acid reflux on a regular basis?
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Other Types Of Gastritis
There is no cure for postgastrectomy gastritis or atrophic gastritis. People with anemia resulting from decreased absorption of vitamin B12 that occurs with atrophic gastritis must take supplemental injections of the vitamin for the rest of their lives.
Corticosteroids or surgery may be needed to relieve a blocked stomach outlet caused by eosinophilic gastritis.
Gastric Polyps Or Tumors
Gastric polyps are growths that form in the lining of the stomach. They do not usually cause symptoms, but when they do, these can include:
- In rarer cases, bleeding
Most gastric polyps are benign, meaning non-cancerous, but some can develop into gastric cancers.
Seeking medical advice from a doctor is advisable if any of the symptoms of chronic or acute gastritis are experienced.
Good to know: The chance of developing cancer from gastritis or atrophic gastritis is low. However, a gastric cancer screening is recommended for people diagnosed with atrophic gastritis at regular intervals. These gaps between screenings will likely be between every one and three years depending on a doctorâs recommendations.
Other effective ways of lowering the chances of gastric cancer include:
- A diet high in fresh fruit and vegetables
- A diet low in highly processed foods containing lots of salt and hydrogenated fats
- Avoiding red meats, especially processed, smoked ones containing high levels of nitrate salts and/or nitrite
- Leading a smoke and nicotine free lifestyle
- Drinking alcohol only in moderate amounts
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How Is Gastritis Treated
Treatment for gastritis varies depending on the cause. Certain medications kill bacteria, while others alleviate indigestion-type symptoms. Your healthcare provider might recommend:
- Antibiotics:Antibiotics can treat the bacterial infection. You may need to take more than one type of antibiotic for couple of weeks.
- Antacids:Calcium carbonate medications reduce stomach acid exposure. They can help relieve inflammation. Antacids, such as Tums® and Rolaids®, also treat heartburn.
- Histamine blockers: Cimetidine , ranitidine and similar medications decrease the production of stomach acid.
- Proton pump inhibitors: These medications, such as omeprazole and esomeprazole , reduce the amount of acid your stomach produces. Proton pump inhibitors also treat stomach ulcers and gastroesophageal reflux disease .
New Research Shows Inflammation Often Causes Acid Reflux
Acid Reflux, more commonly known as heartburn, has been a troubling and painful mystery for about 20% of Americans for as long as anyone can remember. From over the counter acid reducers to prescription acid blockers people spend money month in and month out seeking some relief.
Unfortunately, many times relief is only temporary and we find ourselves going back to the medicine cabinet in a few hours to find some level of relief once again.
New research shows that the pain of acid reflux may begin long before stomach acid invades the esophagus with the immune system and inflammation. Knowing this will help doctors work on long-term treatment to finally put out the fire of acid reflux once and for all for their patients. Take a look at what the researchers found.
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Chronic Gastritis Risk Factors
Certain population groups and people who overuse certain substances are at increased risk of chronic gastritis:
- Habitual use of painkillers such as aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen can change the composition of the stomach lining, leaving it less protected and causing both acute and chronic gastritis
- Excessive alcohol consumption is another common risk factor
- Infection with H. pylori is a big risk factor for developing acute as well as chronic gastritis.. Incidences of H. pylori infection have been falling in the developed world since the 1960s, likely due to better hygiene practices
What Causes Gastritis
Gastritis occurs when something damages or weakens the stomach lining . Different things can trigger the problem, including:
- Alcohol abuse: Chronic alcohol use can irritate and erode the stomach lining.
- Autoimmune disease: In some people, the bodys immune system attacks healthy cells in the stomach lining.
- Bacterial infection:H. pylori bacteria are the main cause of chronic gastritis and peptic ulcer disease . The bacteria break down the stomachs protective lining and cause inflammation.
- Bile reflux: The liver makes bile to help you digest fatty foods. Reflux means flowing back. Bile reflux occurs when bile flows back into the stomach instead of moving through the small intestine.
- Medications: Steady use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or corticosteroids to manage chronic pain can irritate the stomach lining.
- Physical stress: A sudden, severe illness or injury can bring on gastritis. Often, gastritis develops even after a trauma that doesnt involve the stomach. Severe burns and brain injuries are two common causes.
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How Is It Diagnosed
There are several tests that may be performed. You may be tested for an infection with H. pylori which may be done with a blood, stool or breath test. An upper endoscopy may be performed to actually look with a camera in your esophagus, stomach and small intestine. Small tissue samples can be taken and examined under a microscope. Sometime x-rays of the upper GI tract will be obtained.
Topical Analgesics And Other Creams
Topical analgesics are typically used for acute or chronic pain. They may have less side effects than an oral counterpart.
Topical creams and products can contain different medications. Some are prescription only, so its best to get advice from your doctor. This is especially the case if youre treating long-term inflammation, like with arthritis.
Some topicals contain an NSAID like diclofenac or ibuprofen. This can be helpful for people with inflammation and pain in a specific body part.
Other topical creams may contain natural ingredients that have some evidence of anti-inflammatory properties.
Make sure you dont use a topical cream that only works for pain, such as capsaicin.
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What Else Might It Be
Don’t assume that stomach pain is always a sign of gastritis – the pain could be caused by a wide range of other things, such as a non-ulcer dyspepsia, duodenal ulcer, stomach ulcer or irritable bowel syndrome. See the separate leaflet called Abdominal Pain.
See your GP if:
- You have bad pain in your tummy or feel unwell.
- You have pain or any other indigestion symptoms lasting for more than a week.
- The gastritis starts after taking any medicine .
- You are bringing up blood or the colour of the vomit is like coffee.
- You have any blood in your stools .
- You have recently lost weight without deliberately trying to diet.
Natural Home Remedies For The Treatment Of Gastritis
To treat gastritis naturally there are some lifestyle changes you can do.
- For starters, stop smoking and limit drinking.
- Avoid trigger foods and eat smaller meals more frequently to avoid indigestion.
- Control stress.
- Limit the use of pain-relievers and anti-inflammatory medications.
- Consume licorice prior to eating a meal. Licorice is known to aid in digestion problems, but it may increase blood pressure so get the OK from a doctor.
- Ginger has been shown to be quite beneficial for the stomach, so it may also help with gastritis.
- Drink lots of water .
These are just some of the natural treatments you can utilize to ease symptoms of gastritis. Besides the lifestyle changes needed to treat gastritis, these natural remedies can work to speed up recovery time.
If your stomach hasnt been feeling right, if youre nauseous, in pain and changes are occurring in your stool, you may very well have gastritis. Speaking to a doctor instead of taking further medications is best. You wouldnt want to worsen the condition by adding fuel to the fire.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Gastritis
Many people with gastritis don’t have any symptoms. However, gastritis can cause indigestion . See the separate leaflet called Indigestion .
Gastritis may start suddenly or may develop slowly and last for a long period of time .
Pain in your upper tummy just below the breastbone is the common symptom. It usually comes and goes. It may be eased if you take antacid tablets. Sometimes food makes the pain worse. The pain may also wake you from sleep.
Other symptoms which may occur include:
- Loss of appetite.
- You may feel particularly ‘full’ after a meal.
Lifestyle Measures To Manage And Prevent Inflammation Of The Stomach
Lifestyle modifications can help in managing inflammation of stomach or in prevention of gastritis.
- Eat smaller and frequent meals, drink plenty of water and include fresh fruits and vegetables. Avoid smoking, alcohol, spicy, fried and fatty foods. Maintain ideal weight and avoid skipping meals.
- Practice stress management techniques, involve in meditation and exercise regularly to release stress and improve digestion.
- Limit intake of pain-killers or medications used to treat arthritis. Consider other alternatives, less harmful medications, physical therapy, warm and cold compresses, etc. to relieve pain and arthritis.
|Written, Edited or Reviewed By:Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc.This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimerLast Modified On: July 17, 2017
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Inflammation Of The Stomach Lining Symptoms
Gastritis or the inflammation of the stomach lining particularly acute is characterized by:
Burning sensation in the upper abdomen
Stomach discomfort in the upper abdomen
Feeling of fullness
Bleeding in the stomach may be indicated by black and tarry stools, red blood in stools and blood in vomit.
Chronic gastritis may not have noticeable symptoms, however, they may experience vague symptoms like mild stomach discomfort and dull pain.
How Is Gastritis Diagnosed
To diagnose gastritis, your doctor will review your personal and family medical history, perform a thorough physical evaluation, and may recommend any of the following tests:
- Upper endoscopy. An endoscope, a thin tube containing a tiny camera, is inserted through your mouth and down into your stomach to look at the stomach lining. The doctor will check for inflammation and may perform a biopsy, a procedure in which a tiny sample of tissue is removed and then sent to a laboratory for analysis.
- Blood tests. The doctor may perform various blood tests, such as checking your red blood cell count to determine whether you have anemia, which means that you do not have enough red blood cells. They can also screen for H. pylori infection and pernicious anemia with blood tests.
- Fecal occult blood test . This test checks for the presence of blood in your stool, a possible sign of gastritis.