Gastritis is an inflammation of the mucosal layer of the stomach.It is classified as acute gastritis which is sudden, severe inflammation and Chronic gastritis which have long-term inflammation that can last for years if not treated.
Erosive gastritis is a less common form of gastritis. It usually doesn’t cause much inflammation, but can cause bleeding and ulcers in the stomach linings.
What causes gastritis?
Due to weakness of your stomach lining, digestive juices damage and inflame it, leading to gastritis. Having a thin or damaged stomach lining increases the risk of gastritis.
A gastrointestinal infection of bacteria can also result in gastritis. The most common bacterial infection that causes gastritis is Helicobacter pylori. It is a bacterium that infects the stomach lining. The infection is generally transmitted from one person to other, but can also be transmitted through contaminated food or water.
Certain conditions and activities may inhance your risk for developing gastritis. Other risk factors are:
- extreme alcohol intake
- daily use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen, aspirin diclofenac
- cocaine use
- age, because the stomach lining weakens naturally with age
- tobacco consumption
Other less common risk factors are:
- stress caused by severe injury, illness, or surgery
- autoimmune diseases
- digestive problems like Crohn’s disease
- viral infections
What are the symptoms of gastritis?
Gastritis doesn’t cause remarkable symptoms in everyone. The most common symptoms include:
- appetite loss
- a feeling of fullness in your upper abdomen, particularly after eating
If you have erosive gastritis, you might have different symptoms:
- black, tarry(delayed) stool
- vomiting blood or material that looks like coffee grounds
How is gastritis diagnosed?
Your doctor will do a physical exam,also ask about your symptoms and your family history. They may also prescribe a breath, blood, or stool test to check for H. pylori.
In order to know about inside of your body, your doctor may want to perform an endoscopy to check for inflammation. In endoscopy a long thin tube fitted with camera, is inserted inside your body and doctor carefully watches your esophagus or stomach. If Your doctor finds anything unusual during the examination,they may take a small sample or biopsy of the stomach lining.
Your doctor may also suggest you to swallow barium solution for taking X-rays of your digestive tract. Barium solution will help to distinguish the concerning areas.
How is gastritis treated?
The treatment for gastritis depends on the cause of it’s condition. If you have gastritis which is caused by NSAIDs or other drugs, stopping usage of these drugs may be enough to get rid of your symptoms. Gastritis due to H. pylori is routinely treated with antibiotics that kill the bacteria.
Becide antibiotics, several other types of medication are used to cure gastritis.These medications are:
Proton pump inhibitors
Medications called proton pump inhibitors work by inhibiting secretion of gastric acid. Common proton pump inhibitors are:
- omeprazole (Prilosec)
- lansoprazole (Prevacid)
- esomeprazole (Nexium)
However, long-term use of these medications, especially at higher doses, can cause an increased risk of backbone, hip, and wrist fractures. It can also lead to increased risk of renal failure, and nutrient deficiencies.
Talk to your doctor before the starting of one of these medications to make a appropriate treatment plan for you.
Acid reducing medications
Medications that lower the amount of your gastric acid include:
By reducing the amount of acid that is released into your digestive tract, these medications relieve the pain of gastritis and heal your stomach lining.
Your doctor may suggest you to use antacids for fast relief of gastritic pain. These medications can neutralize the gastric acid.
Probiotics have been shown to help restore digestive flora and heal gastric ulcers. However, there’s no proof that they have any effect on acid secretion. Presently, there are no guidelines favouring the use of probiotics in ulcer treatment.
What are the potential complications from gastritis?
If your gastritis is left untreated, it can cause stomach bleeding as well as ulcers. Certain forms of gastritis can increase your risk of developing stomach cancer especially in people who have thinned stomach linings.
Because of these possible complications, it is necessary to consult with your doctor if you experience any symptoms of gastritis, especially if they are chronic.