Can you hear a cry of help from your stomach? If yes, it might be suffering from a condition known as gastritis. As displeasing as this condition might seem, you will be as happy as a clam to know that your condition is short-lived and treatable with proper care and medication.
Gastritis is a condition or a group of conditions that result in the inflammation of the stomach lining. If left untreated, the inflammation of the protective layer of the stomach can cause chronic gastritis which can last and keep bothering the infected person for years. Other forms of gastritis known as acute gastritis, which is a sudden inflammation of the stomach and erosive gastritis which, although rare, can lead to ulcers and stomach bleeding.
Now that you are acquainted with the basics of gastritis let us assist you into its details with this all-inclusive article which will make you more of an expert in just a few minutes. Read on to know more!
Some lucky people get away without experiencing any symptoms of gastritis while, in others, many symptoms are observed. Below are some of the common symptoms of gastritis
- Frequent nausea
- Puking very often.
- Uncanny fullness in the upper abdomen, especially after a meal.
- Indigestion and similar problems
There are some symptoms experienced exclusively by people with erosive gastritis. These symptoms are
- Tarry and/or black stool
- Puking blood
- Vomiting material that has a composition like coffee grounds
What causes gastritis, and what are its risk factors?
As we mentioned earlier, gastritis can be a group of conditions as well. There are quite a few causes of gastritis. There can be one or many causes for a person suffering from this condition. Let us get into the details of why and what causes gastritis.
- The weakness of stomach lining-
Having a thin or damaged stomach lining makes the person more prone to digestive juices damaging and inflaming their stomach. A surgery can weaken the mucus lined barrier of the stomach as well.
- Certain diseases-
Health conditions like Crohn’s disease and sarcoidosis are a widespread risk factor of gastritis. These conditions result in the growth of the collection of inflammatory cells in the body.
Infections caused due to infamous bacteria called Helicobacter Pylori (H Pylori) are the most prevalent types of infections in the world. These bacteria can spread through contaminated food and water, or an infected person. The infections caused by these bacteria, may or may not lead to gastritis. The infections caused by H Pylori that do lead to gastritis or upper gastrointestinal disorders can cause severe stomach pain.
- Excessive use of pain relievers-
Some over the counter pain medications also known as Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs like aspirin, ibuprofen ( Advil, Motrin IB, etc.), and naproxen ( Aleve, Anaprox) and other standard medicines reduce the key component which helps to preserve the protective layer of the stomach. As a consequence of frequent use of these medications, the user can be infected by both acute and chronic gastritis.
The stomach lining like the other protective layers of the body starts to thin with age making older adults more prone to H Pylori and autoimmune disorders than young adults. These are also factors that lead to gastritis with symptoms.
- Excessive alcohol consumption-
Alcohol consumption leads to erosion and irritation of the stomach lining, which makes it prone to damage by digestive juices. Excessive alcohol consumption usually leads to acute gastritis.
- Stress is your enemy-
A wise man once said that stressing means you suffer twice! This saying fits the context of gastritis as stress caused due to severe injuries, burns, infections, and major surgery can make the symptoms of gastritis worse.
- Autoimmune gastritis-
Autoimmune disorders, as the name suggests, is our body harming its own cells. In the case of autoimmune gastritis, the cells making up our stomach lining are destroyed by our body. When the cells of the stomach lining are destroyed, the protective barrier of the stomach wears away. This type of autoimmune disorder is usually seen in people with Vitamin B12 deficiency, type 1 diabetes, and Hashimoto’s disease.
- Less observed causes-
Parasitic infections and chronic diseases like HIV/AIDS can also be a cause of gastritis.
Complications and treatments of gastritis
It is advisable to consult a medical professional as soon as you start to observe any of the symptoms mentioned earlier for a week and cannot find any other explanation.
Gastritis, if left untreated, can lead to stomach ulcers and bleeding. In some rare cases, due to excessive thinning and changes in the cells of the lining of the stomach, chronic gastritis can also lead to stomach cancer.
The doctor usually diagnoses the person for gastritis after getting familiar with the symptoms, medical history, and test reports of the patient. Some tests recommended by doctors for the diagnosis of gastritis include breath, blood, and stool test, endoscopy, biopsy, barium solution, and X-ray.
Some of the treatments available at hand for the treatment of gastritis are :
- Proton Pump Inhibitors–
Proton pump inhibitors like omeprazole (Prilosec), lansoprazole (Prevacid), and esomeprazole (Nexium), can block cells that create stomach acid. However, these medications’ long-term use puts people at risk of hip, wrist, and spine fractures, renal failure, dementia, and nutrient deficiencies.
- Medicines to reduce stomach acid-
Medicines like famotidine (Pepcid) can lower the amount of acid produced in the stomach and digestive tract. It also promotes the healing of the stomach lining and relieves the pain of gastritis.
Antacids are medications that can neutralize the acid in the stomach and offer fast relief to the pain caused by gastritis. Talk to your doctor about the side-effects like constipation and diarrhoea of antacids.
Although not scientifically proven, probiotics may help replenish the flora of the digestive system and help in relieving gastric ulcers.
As we can see, the treatments of gastritis are not hard-core. Usually, gastritis is resolved within two to three rounds of properly prescribed medicine. A doctor can give you an effective plan with the least number of side-effects. Gastritis is a very typical malady which can be avoided with a few precautions as well.
We hope we gave you what you came looking for, and are leaving with nothing less!