A general term, gastritis refers to a group of conditions that result in inflammation of the stomach lining. Most often caused by bacteria, gastritis can be sudden (acute gastritis) or slow developing (chronic gastritis). Because approximately half the people in the world are infected with H. pylori, which stems from stomach bacteria, chronic gastritis is very common.
Most cases of gastritis aren’t serious, but occasionally the illness can result in severe consequences, such as ulcers and even stomach cancer. Gastritis treatment may be required to reduce pain, boost quality of life, and heal gastritis.
Gastritis Symptoms and Signs
While gastritis doesn’t always cause symptoms, the condition often results in negative side effects. Signs and symptoms of gastritis include:
- A burning pain in the upper abdomen that may worsen after eating
- A full feeling after eating
- Stomach pain
- Nausea and vomiting
- Loss of appetite
- General indigestion
While indigestion isn’t always a sign that a patient is suffering from gastritis, persons who experience symptoms for a week or more shouldn’t hesitate to see a doctor. Additionally, individuals should seek medical attention if stomach pain occurs after taking prescription or OTC medications, including aspirin. If you are vomiting blood or passing black stool, don’t hesitate to seek emergency care.
Gastritis Causes and Complications
Identifying the exact cause of gastritis can be difficult as various factors and conditions can result in a patient’s stomach lining becoming inflamed. Individuals may suffer gastritis as a result of an injury to the mucus barrier separating your stomach wall from your digestive juices. Other causes of gastritis include:
- Bacterial infections like H. pylori
- Crohn’s disease and sarcoidosis, which cause an overgrowth of inflammatory cells
- Illnesses leading to a weakened immune system
- Overuse of pain relievers, such as aspirin and ibuprofen
- Lifestyle factors, such as smoking, drinking, and eating foods that are high in fat and salt
Older individuals are more likely to develop gastritis than younger ones.
Heal Gastritis with Effective Gastritis Treatment Options
The good news is that multiple options exist for treating gastritis. If you have H. pylori in your digestive tract, your doctor may prescribe antibiotic medications like clarithromycin or amoxicillin to kill the bacteria. Make sure to take the full prescription, even if you start feeling better after a few days.
Depending on your particular case, doctors may recommend proton pump inhibitors or other medications that block acid production. Acid blockers may also be used to limit the amount of acid the stomach releases into the digestive tract. Many of these drugs are available over the counter and can help relieve pain and promote stomach healing. Doctors may also recommend that gastritis sufferers take antacids to neutralize stomach acid and alleviate discomfort.
The Best Gastritis Diet
Making dietary changes is a significant part of recovering from gastritis. To minimize pain and reduce your risk of suffering stomach ulcers in the future, it’s important to avoid foods that are high in fat or salt. Patients should also refrain from consuming:
- Acidic fruits and drinks
- Carbonated beverages
- Spicy foods
- Refined foods
On the other hand, gastritis patients can and should consume high-fiber foods like apples and broccoli, lean proteins like chicken and fish, low-fat dairy products, and grains.
Individuals with gastritis may benefit from consuming probiotics such as kombucha, yogurt, kimchi, and sauerkraut. According to a study published in Clinical Microbiology Reviews, research shows that probiotics may be helpful in treating H. pylori, the bacteria most frequently associated with gastritis.
Amino acids may also be useful in alleviating chronic gastritis. According to an article in the Harvard Gazette, glutamine supplements may help guard against gastric damage caused by H. pylori and reduce inflammation over the long term.
Follow these tips to improve gastritis and quality of life.