Gastritis is a gastroenterological condition that refers to the inflammation, irritation or erosion of the lining of the stomach. Causes of gastritis can disrupt a patient’s digestive system either acutely or chronically.
Individuals with this condition experience a range of symptoms including abdominal pain, vomiting, nausea, hiccups, black and tarry stool, occasional belching, bloating, loss of appetite and indigestion. According to certain sources, gastritis affects 20%-26% of the Australian population. Those between the ages of 15-50 are those primarily affected.
This blog examines the main causes of gastritis as well as the treatment that experienced gastroenterology specialists may recommend for this condition. Individuals who believe they may be suffering from gastritis need to be reviewed for effective treatment.
The causes of gastritis
Helicobacter pylori infection
H. pylori is a bacteria that lives in the mucous lining of the stomach. It causes an infection that can lead to ulcers, stomach cancer, and in this case gastritis. For individuals experiencing symptoms related to gastritis as a result of this bacteria, treatment is recommended.
This condition can be caused when there’s a backflow of bile into the stomach from the bile tract. This is the part of the body that connects the bile tract to the liver and gallbladder.
Persistent, intense stress that affects a patient’s digestive system
Medical evidence draws a strong link between stress and digestive disturbances. Intense stress can cause or trigger this condition in susceptible individuals.
Long-term use of NSAIDs
Patients who frequently take Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAID) such as those used to alleviate pain, including aspirin and ibuprofen, may develop gastritis as a result.
Excessive alcohol consumption
Alcohol causes the stomach to produce more acid, which can cause the inflammation of the stomach lining. This leads to abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhoea and other symptoms of gastritis.
There is a connection between conditions like diabetes and complications with the gastrointestinal tract, including gastritis. Acute and chronic hyperglycemia are the specific causes of this.
Gastritis risk factors
Apart from the direct causes of this condition, certain risk factors make patients vulnerable to the onset of the symptoms of gastritis.
These include high-fat diets, high-salt diets, and smoking. Other factors like stress can exacerbate the risk these factors pose. Patient risk also increases if individuals also suffer from autoimmune diseases like Crohn’s disease.
What does a gastritis flare-up feel like?
The feeling varies among people but the most common description of a gastritis flare-up is a burning pain in the upper abdomen, followed by symptoms such as vomiting and indigestion in some patients.
These flare-ups usually happen when a person drinks alcohol or consumes any spicy or acidic foods. Gastritis treatments should be sought if these flare-ups happen too often.
How long does gastritis pain last?
The duration of the pain depends on whether the condition is acute or chronic. Pain from acute gastritis may last from a few days to a week, depending on how often flare-ups happen.
For chronic gastritis, patients may experience painful flare-ups for months.
Treatment for Gastritis
How can I get immediate relief from gastritis?
Ice cold water with a bit of sugar or some coconut water may provide some quick relief from chronic gastritis. Only drink these after you’ve consulted with your gastrointestinal specialist.
Treatment for this condition will vary based on the severity of the symptoms presented by patients. In terms of medication, certain antacids and other types of drugs, including proton pump inhibitors or H-2 blockers may be prescribed to reduce stomach acid.
If the cause of gastritis is pernicious anaemia, B12 vitamin shots may be necessary.
If a patient’s gastritis is caused by an H. pylori infection, antibiotics and acid-blocking drugs such as those used for heartburn can be prescribed.
Gastroenterologists will also take into account the symptoms reported by patients and prescribe certain lifestyle changes. This may include the elimination of hot and spicy food, as well as food items known to trigger this condition. This includes lactose and gluten-based food items.
Recommended dietary additions include fibre-rich food and items that contain flavonoids such as onions, garlic, celery, berries, kale, and parsley, alongside legumes.
Patient’s may be asked to avoid the excessive consumption of alcohol, caffeinated, decaffeinated, and carbonated drinks. Fruit juices containing citric acid may also need to be eliminated.
Patients are advised to address the causes of gastritis via expert gastroenterologists
High-risk causes of gastritis such as H.pylori infections can present a serious risk to patient health. Individuals who suffer from the symptoms of this condition need to be proactive and receive treatment from experienced gastroenterology specialists.