Gastritis refers to an acute or chronic inflammation of the stomach. The inflammation is usually diffuse with or without erosion of the mucosa. Gastritis takes place when the immune system detects a threat to a lining of the stomach. In this blog, we embark on a journey through the inner workings of the stomach, exploring the complexity of gastritis, its causes, symptoms, and the strategies to navigate stomach health with confidence.
The acute inflammation of the stomach occurs when the gastric mucosal barrier is disrupted. The mucosal barrier protects the gastric mucosa from injurious agents. It results when the protective mechanisms of gastric mucosa are overpowered by the injurious agents such as aspirin and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
It occurs as a result of injury to the gastric mucosa, which can allow stomach acids to further damage and inflame the lining. Some common causes of it includes :
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
- Anti-mitotic drugs
- Renal failure
- H. pylori initial infection
- Infections like viral, fungal etc.
- Alcohol abuse
- Iron therapy
- Cocaine use
- Crohn’s disease
- Food allergies
All these factors damage the gastric mucosal barrier leading to acute inflammation which can be observed on endoscopy as hyperaemia, mucosal erosions and haemorrhage.
Unmasking the symptoms
The common symptom of it may include stomach pain. Other common symptoms includes :
- Loss of appetite
- Black stools
- Pain in the stomach
- Blood examination may reveal anemia
- A Fecal test
- Upper GI endoscopy
- Gastric tissue biopsy
- X – ray
Management and prevention
Treatment of the underlying cause is a must. Some cases of acute gastritis treat itself, while others require treatment through medications. Stop anti-inflammatory drugs or aspirin or alcohol, if they are the underlying cause. Treat infection by appropriate measures. Antacids can be used to neutralize stomach acid. Try to avoid spicy, fried and acidic food.
This is actually a histological gastritis divided into various types depending on the histological stage, which are chronic superficial gastritis, atrophic gastritis and gastric atrophy. Chronic conditions can last for years or even a lifetime if not treated.
An individual with a weak immune system is most likely to develop chronic stomach pain. Sometimes, autoimmune disorders can also cause it. Some common causes of chronic gastritis includes :
- Autoimmune – type A gastritis
- Infection by H. pylori
- Long term diabetes
- Allergic gastritis
- Postoperative gastritis
- Bile reflux
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Drug use
- Weight loss
- Loss of appetite
- Upper abdominal pain
Variations of chronic gastritis
Type A ( autoimmune )
It involves the body of the stomach and spares the antrum. It is due to autoimmune response to parietal cell antigens leading to widespread parietal cell damage. Type A is rare in India and asymptomatic.
It is further of two types :
- Infective ( H.pylori induced ) – It involves the antrum but spares the body of the stomach. It is caused either by H. pylori infection of the stomach.
- Noninfective – This occurs due to regurgitation of bile, pancreatic and intestinal juice into the stomach. It is not caused by H. pylori.
- Rapid urease test
- Endoscopy, which helps to look for signs of inflammation.
- H.pylori can be stained in biopsy specimen
- A blood test
- A stool test
- An ELISA test
Management and prevention
Acute gastritis goes away after the acute cause of it does while chronic gastritis requires long term management. Discover natural remedies and complementary therapies that can complement medical treatment. Try herbal trees, which helps in soothing stomach discomfort.
- Avoid aspirin, NSAIDS, alcohol and smoking.
- Antibiotic medications to kill H.pylori. Be sure to take the full antibiotic prescription according to instructions given by the healthcare provider.
- Medications to reduce acid production.
- Antacids, helps to neutralize existing stomach acid and can provide rapid pain relief.
Dietary Choices: Fuelling Stomach Health
When suffering from gastritis, try to avoid spicy and fried foods. Eat high fiber foods such as fruits, vegetables, grains, oatmeal, quinoa, melons, bananas, beans and legumes. Foods that triggers the stomach pain include
- Acid foods
- Carbonated drinks
- Fruit juices
- Pickled food
- Spicy foods
Before starting the diet, discuss with your healthcare provider to ensure that it’s safe and does not interact with your medications.
As we conclude our exploration of it, one thing becomes clear that knowledge is a powerful tool in managing stomach health. By understanding the causes, recognising symptoms, and adopting proactive measures, individuals can empower themselves to navigate the complex terrain of it and achieve digestive harmony.