What is gastritis?
Gastritis Symptoms, Causes and Treatment
Gastritis is the inflammation of your stomach’s lining. It causes discomfort and must be promptly treated to avoid making the condition a chronic, life-long one.
Mild gastritis is easily treated with some over-the-counter medications and lifestyle changes. Persistent, chronic, and severe cases need a more aggressive and continuous treatment plan, though. Leaving gastritis untreated will eventually lead to more problems.
The most common symptom of gastritis is indigestion or heartburn. This is more likely to be experienced if your gastritis is caused by a bacterial infection such as Helicobacter pylori infection.
Other symptoms you may experience are the following:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Upset stomach
- Loss of appetite
- Consistent feelings of fullness after eating anything
- Gnawing or burning stomach pain at night or in between meals
A diagnosis is often made after a doctor has inquired about the following:
- The symptoms you’ve been experiencing
- Your alcohol intake
- How stressed you are
- Your food intake habits and diet
- How much sleep you get
If those factors aren’t enough to get an accurate gastritis diagnosis, your physician may order some tests such as:
- Breath tests
- Stool examination
- Endoscopy (in more severe cases)
Your Mobidoctor physician may arrange to have these tests done to ensure an accurate diagnosis of the causes of your gastritis.
The most common cause of gastritis is a bacterial infection caused by Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) bacteria. The infection may not even produce noticeable symptoms at times.
Other possible gastritis causes include the following:
- Autoimmune conditions or reactions
- Exposure to a stressful life event
- Regular vomiting spiels
Risk factors that predispose you to gastritis include:
- Excessive alcohol intake
- Regular intake of a painkiller group known as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), which includes aspirin and ibuprofen, among others
Treatment for gastritis is usually focused on alleviating symptoms through lifestyle changes and diet modifications. It is easily done at home through the following interventions:
- Limiting trigger foods such as fatty, fried, acidic, and spicy foods
- Limiting acidic drinks intake, including fruit juices
- Taking small but frequent meals
- Reducing your stress levels
- Switching to a different painkiller if you are taking NSAIDs – you can ask your doctor for guidance on this
Medications are used in persistent and severe gastritis cases. These include:
- Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs)
- Histamine 2 (H2) blockers
Diet changes for gastritis
The main diet modifications you need to follow are:
- Avoidance of spicy, acidic, and fatty foods
- Breaking down bigger meals into smaller ones by eating frequently in small amounts
These are easily done and should help you manage your gastritis successfully.
Gastritis in pregnancy
Pregnant women who have gastritis may be given a different medication due to the usual ones being contraindicated during pregnancy.
Getting a diagnosis of gastritis while still in your early first trimester helps prevent the condition from becoming worse. Stomach ulcers and other complications may be prevented with early diagnosis.
Speak to a doctor readily if you get pregnant while currently having gastritis. You might be taking a medication contraindicated in pregnancy. Your doctor will switch your medication to a safer alternative.
Also, speak to a doctor if you are worried about your gastritis and its effects on your pregnancy. Mobidoctor physicians are here to help you out, give you all the information you need, and reassure you about your condition and pregnancy.