com_global_diseases

Gastritis

Gastritis is an inflammation of the protective lining of the stomach that can occur suddenly, or gradually. It is also described as a group of conditions with one thing in common i. e. inflammation of the stomach. The irritation is mainly caused by bacterial, excessive alcohol use, vomiting, stress, or due to certain medications like aspirin.

Gastritis can improve quickly with treatment. But if the condition is serious and if it is left untreated, you may be at risk of developing severe ulcers, bleeding and also cancer.

Types of gastritis

There are two main types of gastritis; one is acute gastritis that involves sudden, severe inflammation and other is chronic gastritis that involves inflammation which lasts for years, if not treated. There is one more type called erosive gastritis which doesn’t cause inflammation but can lead to bleeding and ulcers in the stomach lining.

Signs and symptoms

In most of the conditions, symptoms do not occur until the condition gets severe. The common chronic and acute gastritis symptoms are:

  • Abdominal pain and bloating
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Indigestion
  • Feeling of burning in the stomach, especially between the meals and in the night
  • Feeling of fullness in upper abdomen after eating

Causes

Weakness in the mucus-lined barrier in your stomach wall damages the digestive juice resulting in inflammation of stomach lining. Other conditions like excess alcohol use, medications, and stress also cause gastritis. Other causes of gastritis include:

Helicobacter pylori infection

These bacteria live in the mucus lining of the stomach. If not treated, may lead to ulcers, and sometimes stomach cancer.

Anemia

If vitamin B12 is not absorbed; it may lead to pernicious anemia, ultimately resulting in gastritis.

Reflux of bile

backflow of bile from bile tract also causes gastritis.

Infections caused by bacteria and viruses increases the risk of gastritis.

Risk factors

Many factors increase your risk of gastritis such as:

  • Smoking and drinking - the H. pylori bacterium could be inherited easily in people who smoke and drink excessively
  • Use of pain killers such as aspirin, ibuprofen regularly - reduces a key substance that protects the lining of your stomach
  • Older age - stomach lining becomes thin as you become old and also older adults are more likely to have H. Pylori infection
  • Autoimmune gastritis - condition wherein your body attacks the cells that make up your stomach lining

Other conditions like HIV, Crohn’s disease, and parasitic infections also increase the risk of gastritis.

The doctor will first ask about your symptoms and review your medical and family history. If gastritis is suspected, the doctor would recommend the following tests:

X-rayof whole stomach region - to look for the abnormalities

A complete blood count-to check your overall health

H.Pylori test –to detect presence of H.pylori in samples of blood, urine or saliva

Endoscopy–the doctor passes an endoscope down your throat, stomach, and esophagus to look for the signs of inflammation. A small tissue may also be taken from the stomach region to check anything unusual and to identify H. pylori.

 

Treatment of gastritis depends on the cause and severity of the disease. If gastritis is caused by regular use of anti-inflammatory drugs, then the condition may be managed just by stopping the use of those drugs. If the condition is severe, then following gastritis treatment options are considered:

Antacids are given to reduce existing stomach acid. Antibiotic medications such as clarithromycin and amoxicillin and acid blocking drugs such as ranitidine, famotidine, cimetidine are prescribed if you have H. pylori infection. Vitamin B12 supplements are given if gastritis is caused by pernicious anemia.

  • Avoid eating hot and spicy foods
  • Try eating small meals several times instead of huge meals at once.
  • Avoid the intake of irritating foods such as lactose from milk products and gluten from wheat.
  • Avoid alcohol and smoking.
  • Use painkillers only when prescribed by the doctor.
  • Try to avoid stress and learn to cope with it.
  • Wash your hands regularly with soap and water.
  • Eat completely cooked food to protect yourself from H. pylori infections.