What you need to know about gastritis

Gastritis is an inflammation on the lining of the stomach. We can have a variety of triggers. The disease may be an acute or chronic issue that increases the risk of other problems, such as ulcers in the stomach, bleeding or cancer.

The acute form normally gives rise to noticeable symptoms which resolve after a few days without treatment. However, chronic gastritis may remain unnoticed in the body but will complicate later.

The bacteria Helicobacter pylori (H. Pylori) is one of the main causes of gastritis, and is believed to be present in 50% of the global population.

This article will discuss the signs, causes, and treatments of gastritis, as well as provide advice on what to eat when this disorder occurs and what to exclude from diets.

Fast facts on gastritis

  • Gastritis can increase the risk of other gastrointestinal conditions, such as stomach ulcers and cancer.
  • People with gastritis typically report sharp, stabbing, or burning pains in the upper-center or upper-left part of the abdomen.
  • The two main types of gastritis are erosive and nonerosive. Erosive gastritis wears down the stomach lining, and nonerosive gastritis causes change to the stomach lining.
  • Smokers and people who regularly use pain medications are at risk of gastritis.
  • People with gastritis should eat celery, apples, and honey. Herbal teas are also safe to drink. Avoid caffeinated beverages, dairy produce, and spicy foods.
  • A range of medications is available to treat gastritis, including antibiotics and antacids.

Symptoms

H. pylori bacteria
H. pylori bacteria are a common cause of gastritis.

Gastritis is characterized by a variety of signs.

Gastritis sufferers also experience abdominal pain. Pain is often in the upper-center portion of the abdomen, or in the upper-left part of the abdomen. Pressure also radiates to the leg.

Other common symptoms include nausea and bloating. For cases of vomiting gastritis the vomit can appear red, yellow, or green. The vomit will contain blood, too.

Blood shedding is a symptom of more serious gastritis. Some symptoms of severe gastritis include shortness of breath, chest pain, severe stomach pain, and bowel movements which are foul-smelling.

Seek urgent medical evaluation if any of the following symptoms occur:

  • vomiting blood
  • bringing up excessive amounts of yellow or green vomit
  • black or bloody bowel movements
  • abdominal pain with fever
  • dizziness and fainting
  • rapid heartbeat
  • excessive sweating
  • shortness of breath

Gastritis may occur without any symptoms at all.

Complications

Symptoms of gastritis may sometimes worsen into more severe conditions.

Bleeding from the stomach and ulcers can occur in people with gastritis who are yet to be treated. Chronic gastritis can occasionally increase the risk of developing tumors and stomach growths.

Other forms of gastritis including atrophic autoimmune gastritis and H. Pylori gastritis, can decrease the body’s ability to absorb iron from the blood. That may also affect the absorption of vitamin B12 in autoimmune atrophic gastritis. Both types of anaemia can develop.

Causes and types

The causes and symptoms of gastritis are numerous.

Gastritis develops after a loss of the stomach’s protective mucus lining. Digestive juices can then damage the stomach walls and swell them up.

Two principal forms of gastritis occur.

  • Erosive gastritis: This form of gastritis is severe, and involves both inflammation and the gradual wearing down of the stomach lining. An example is acute stress gastritis, which follows changes due to critical illness. Erosive gastritis usually has a quick onset, but this may take longer with chronic gastritis.
  • Nonerosive gastritis: The nonerosive form of gastritis involves changes in the stomach lining

The most common induce of the gastritis is H. Infection of pylori in the stomach lining. Many types arise though when the immune system mistakenly attacks the lining of the stomach, such as autoimmune atrophic gastritis.

Other types result from trauma, or damage to the lining of the stomach. One example is postgastrectomy gastritis, where the lining of the stomach degenerates after a portion of the stomach is removed.

How that happens isn’t known. Gastrectomy is thought to cause increased reflux, vagal nerve reactions or reduction in the number of hormone-triggered acids.

Others types include:

  • Infectious gastritis not caused by H. pylori: Viruses or fungi can cause gastritis in people with immune difficulties or long-term illnesses.
  • Radiation gastritis: Exposure of the abdominal area to radiation can irritate the stomach lining.
  • Eosinophilic gastritis: This form of gastritis can occur due to an allergic reaction. The cause of the allergic reaction is not known.
  • Ménétrier disease: This disorder is rare and involves the development of thick folds and cysts on the stomach wall.

Why gastritis spreads isn’t understood at the moment. Contaminated food, water, or cutlery are known to play a part in the transfer of H. Pylori from person till death.

The wide array of stimuli, however, makes this difficult to prove.

Risk factors

Some individuals are at greater risk of developing gastritis. There are many conditions and factors in lifestyle which can increase the chances of inflammation in the lining of the stomach.

Risk factors for gastritis include:

  • bacterial infections, especially H. pylori infection
  • viral, fungal, or parasitic infections
  • smoking
  • caffeine intake
  • excessive alcohol intake
  • cocaine use
  • stress
  • routine use of pain medications, such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs)
  • regularly taking medications such as prescription steroids, chemotherapy, potassium supplements, and iron
  • being an older adult
  • swallowing corrosives or foreign objects
  • having an autoimmune disorder such as Hashimoto’s disease or type 1 diabetes
  • vitamin B12 deficiency
  • HIV
  • Crohn’s disease
  • bile reflux after undergoing stomach surgery
  • a history of chronic vomiting
  • exposure to radiation, either by radioactive treatment or contamination
  • food allergies

Other infections that can increase the risk of gastritis include tuberculosis and syphilis.

Tests and diagnosis

Gastritis may be diagnosed using the following:

  • physical examination
  • the medical history of an individual and their current symptoms
  • evaluation for H. pylori by way of blood, breath, or stool testing
  • endoscopy
  • electrocardiogram

In some cases gastritis is diagnosed with esophagus, liver, and small intestine X-rays. Such X-rays are sometimes referred to as the upper or barium swallow series of gastrointestinals.

Barium is a thin, metallic powder that is sometimes swallowed to help highlight any anomalies before a scan.

A doctor may also request:

  • blood tests
  • urine tests
  • evaluations of kidney and liver function
  • checks for anemia
  • gallbladder and pancreas function tests
  • pregnancy tests
  • stool evaluation

By using this set of tests a doctor will be able to diagnose gastritis.

If those tests are inconclusive, an upper endoscopy may be performed by a doctor. This involves inserting a small, transparent, luminous viewing tube through the mouth into the abdomen to look at the stomach.

Diet

Gastritis dietary choices can help manage symptom severity and allow the body to get rid of H. Bacteria of pylori.

Though these steps alone are unlikely to cure the disease, they can provide valuable support for the active treatment of gastritis.

Foods to eat

Probiotic yogurt is safe to eat during gastritis and can also help to clear out the H. pylori infection.
Probiotic yogurt is safe to eat during gastritis and can also help to clear out the H. pylori infection.

Both broccoli sprouts and probiotic yogurt have shown useful effects which counteract H. Hey, pylori. No concrete evidence remains, however, that broccoli sprouts consistently hold gastritis at bay.

As a supportive treatment alongside antibiotics, probiotic yogurt has shown great promise but more research is needed to validate this. Many studies have demonstrated that probiotics help flush out infection.

Other foods which are safe to eat in a gastritis case include:

  • celery
  • apples
  • berries
  • olive oil
  • honey
  • herbal teas

Rather than searching for foods to cure the infection, eating foods that do not further inflammate the infection is safer.

Foods to avoid

Some foods and drinks can make gastritis symptoms worse, and should not be consumed while the disease is active. Including:

  • caffeinated drinks
  • regular and decaffeinated coffee
  • mint, green, and black teas
  • orange and grapefruit juices
  • alcohol beverages
  • spicy foods, such as chili powder, hot peppers, nutmeg, and black pepper
  • dairy foods made from whole milk and strong or spicy cheeses
  • tomato products
  • chocolate

When adjusting the diet during a case of gastritis, be sure of the following:

  • Eat 5 to 6 small meals a day, as this can reduce the impact of stomach acids.
  • Hydrate often by frequently consuming water.
  • Add omega-3 supplements to the diet, as they may play a role in resolving gastritis. 

There is no single diet intended to treat gastritis. However, it may help a treatment regimen to accept dietary changes that soothe inflammation. The foods consumed are an important part of the treatment of gastritis.

Treatment

Gastritis care is dependent upon a number of factors. These include the cause of the disease, and whether it is acute or chronic to present gastritis.

Gastritis treatment options include a variety of pharmaceutical items, such as:

  • Antibiotic medications: A 10-to-14-day course of antibiotics can directly attack H. pylori. Regimens may include clarithromycin and metronidazole.
  • Proton pump inhibitors: These include omeprazole and lansoprazole. Proton pump inhibitors block the production of acid and aid healing.
  • Histamine (H-2) blockers: Histamine blockers, such as ranitidine and famotidine, can decrease acid production.
  • Antacids: These can neutralize stomach acid.
  • Coating agents: Sucralfate or misoprostol can coat and protect the stomach lining.
  • Anti-nausea medications: This type of medication can reduce sickness symptoms.

The treatment is causal based. For instance, if the gastritis cause isn’t bacterial, antibiotics will have no effect.

The most effective way to tackle gastritis is to combine these therapies with the prescribed dietary changes.

Prevention

A person can reduce the risk of developing gastritis by following these steps:

  • Practice good hand-washing hygiene and eat well-cooked food. This reduces the risk of contracting H. pylori.
  • Avoid certain medications, smoking, caffeine, and alcohol.

As some causes are unknown, there is no way to fully prevent gastritis.

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