Gastritis - Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment
Gastritis is a health condition that involves inflammation in the stomach lining, or mucosa, leading to redness, swelling, and other complications.
Gastritis is often caused by lifestyle choices, but in a few cases, it can also be a side effect of other health conditions and treatments. Normally, the condition is easily treated and poses no serious health risks. There are a few rare cases, however, in which the condition takes a long time to heal.
Let’s learn more about gastritis, its symptoms, causes, and treatment.
The symptoms of gastritis are usually subtle and often go unnoticed. In rare cases, the experienced symptoms are quite noticeable.
The most common symptoms of minor gastritis include:
● Fullness in the upper abdomen, particularly after every meal
● Belching and hiccups
● Loss of appetite
In the case of erosive gastritis, the following symptoms might be experienced:
● Blood in the vomit
● Blood in the stool
● Tar-like stool
● Abdominal bleeding
● Burning in the abdomen
Causes of Gastritis
Healthy and normal stomach linings are strong and muscular and can easily bear the brunt of digestive juices. The major causes of gastritis are lifestyle and dietary choices or various other health conditions.
Gastritis Caused by Lifestyle Choices
It is only when someone consumes a large amount of alcohol for a long period that the lining becomes irritated and weak. Excessive consumption of spicy food and smoking are a few common causes of gastritis.
Gastritis might also be caused by:
● Extreme stress
● Long-term use of aspirin and over-the-counter pain relievers
Gastritis Caused by Health Conditions
Gastritis is often a side effect of conditions such as:
● Bacterial infections
● Any traumatic injury in the stomach
● Autoimmune disorders
● Chronic bile condition in which bile backs up in the stomach, affecting the stomach lining and the esophagus.
● When our stomach is unable to digest vitamin B12 and leads to pernicious anemia.
Treatment of Gastritis
Gastritis is often an acute condition, but in rare cases, it can be chronic, and doctors take measures to treat it accordingly.
The standard approach to treating gastritis is through medication. Those include:
● Antibiotics: Doctors often prescribe a single course of antibiotics, such as clarithromycin (Biaxin) and metronidazole (Flagyl). These antibiotics target Helicobacter pylori, a bacterium infecting the stomach lining.
● H2 Blockers: H2 blockers, such as famotidine, lower the production of acid in the stomach, giving the mucosa lining some time to heal.
● Proton Pump Inhibitors: These drugs work similarly to H2 blockers and allow the stomach lining some time to heal without being exposed to excessive acid.
● Antacids: Antacids neutralize stomach acids and aid with the treatment of gastritis
● Coating Agents: Coating agents such as Carafate and Cytotec create a layer of protection around the stomach lining, preventing it from inflammation and infections.
Doctors often combine a couple of drugs to provide the best treatment for the condition. You might also be asked to make a few lifestyle and dietary changes and to abstain from alcohol consumption.
The Sum Up
Gastritis may remain undiagnosed for a long time as it doesn’t always cause any symptoms during the initial stages. By the time it shows signs, the disease has often progressed considerably. It is, however, treatable. So make sure you consult a doctor as soon as you notice any gastritis symptoms for a confirmed diagnosis and timely treatment.