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Gastritis

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When the mucosa or the stomach lining gets inflamed, irritated or is eroded, it leads to a condition called as gastritis. This condition is a result of many factors that affect the stomach lining. It can either be acute, that is, appear suddenly or chronic, that is, develop over time.

What are the Symptoms of Gastritis?

Gastritis as mentioned before, can either be acute or chronic. However, not all patients with gastritis develop symptoms. Those who do, actually mistake the discomfort as upper stomach pain.

Some of the common signs and symptoms of gastritis are as follows:

  • Pain in the upper stomach region, especially the left upper region
  • Burning and aching sensation in stomach
  • Vague, but persistent sharp pain that feels like stab or cut
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Bleaching
  • Bloating
  • Feeling of fullness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Hiccups and heartburn
  • Passing dark stools

Many people do not show any symptoms. In such cases, if one observes blood in their stools or one passes extremely dark stools, they should seek medical help.

What are the Causes of Gastritis?

The stomach lining is made up of specialized cells that produce acids and enzymes. These acids and enzymes are very important as they help in digestion of food. The stomach lining is covered with mucus, that protects the stomach from the effects of acids. When this lining is destroyed, it results in lesser production of the various enzymes, acids as well as mucus. Thus, resulting in gastritis, that is, stomach irritation.

There are various causes of gastritis. Some of these causes include:

  • Long-term use of medications like non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS)
  • Excessive consumption of alcohol
  • Smoking
  • Excessive consumption of tea and coffee
  • Infection of Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) that leads to stomach as well as duodenal ulcers
  • Traumatic stomach injuries
  • Severe burns
  • Surgery for losing excessive weight or reconstruction of the digestive tract
  • Chronic bile reflux
  • Autoimmune disorders where the body’s own defense mechanism attacks its own cells
  • Radiation exposure
  • Pernicious anemia, where the body lacks an enzyme that absorbs vitamin B12
  • Chronic vomiting
  • Stress

Diagnosis of Gastritis

There are many tests that help confirm gastritis. On the basis of the patient complaints, the doctor may carry out these tests for confirmation:

  • Blood tests like blood cell count, presence of H. pylori, kidney or liver function test
  • Urinalysis
  • Stool test
  • Endoscopy
  • Biopsy

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Treatment for Gastritis

Mild gastritis usually gets resolved in a week or so. The doctor may advise antacids for pain relief. Other than this, treatments include the following:

  • Use of H2 blockers that help in reduction of gastric acid secretion
  • Proton pump inhibitors that reduce the production of gastric acid
  • Use of antibiotics for h. pylori  infection
  • Vitamin B 12 shots for gastritis due to pernicious anemia

Home Remedy for Gastritis

People with gastritis should follow some restrictions in their diet to get quicker relief from gastritis. There are certain foods to avoid and certain foods to be included in the diet in such a case.

Let us have a look at some of the home remedies for gastritis.

  • One should avoid eating acidic and spicy foods. These foods irritate the stomach and worsen the symptoms
  • Avoid eating fatty as well as fried foods
  • Eat more of fruits such as apples, celery, cherries, tomatoes
  • Vegetables such as onions, garlic, bell peppers should be included in the diet
  • Lean meats, fish, tofu is good for gastritis
  • Avoid drinking a lot of coffee, tea
  • Stop drinking alcohol and stop smoking
  • Drink at least 8 glasses of water daily

Gastritis is usually mild and treatable in most cases. In some cases, complications arise. These complications include internal bleeding, ulcers and the risk of developing gastric cancer. The prognosis is definitely good as most people are cured as soon as they follow medical treatment. Do not abuse your stomach by consuming excessive pain killers, alcohol as well as smoking. Maintain a healthy diet, exercise and reduce stress to prevent gastritis. For further information, speak to your healthcare provider for details.

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Written by: healthplus24.com team

Date last updated: January 02, 2014