Due to a weakened immune system or injury to this barrier, the acidic, digestive juices in the stomach damage and inflame its lining, causing gastritis. Typically, gastritis is of three types, such as:
This form of gastritis can catch you off-guard as it can happen at any time. Acute gastritis causes severe inflammation of the stomach lining.
Here, gastritis develops slowly over time, causing long-term inflammation if left untreated.
This is a rare type of gastritis. Here, while there is not much inflammation, the condition can cause bleeding and ulcers in the stomach lining.
We understand that gastritis can cause immense distress. It is, thus, essential to understand its cause, diagnosis, treatment, and preventive methods. Let us begin by studying gastritis symptoms.
What are the Symptoms of Gastritis?
Not everybody has noticeable gastritis symptoms. However, there are a few common symptoms that you can experience when suffering from gastritis. These include:
Feeling a type of fullness in the upper abdomen after eating
Burning, aching pain in the upper abdomen that gets either better or worse with eating
In the case of erosive gastritis, the symptoms might differ from the ones mentioned above. They are as follows:
What are the Causes of Gastritis?
There are quite a few lifestyle-related causes of gastritis that you should be aware of. These causes increase the risk of developing the condition and are as follows:
Some other less common gastritis causes or risk factors can also include the following:
Additionally, bacterial infections can also cause gastritis. The most common bacterial infection leading to this condition is caused by Helicobacter pylori. This bacteria affects the lining of the stomach. It can be transmitted from person to person or through contaminated food and water. Other underlying medical conditions and diseases, such as Crohn’s disease and sarcoidosis, can also increase the risk of gastritis.
Diagnosis of Gastritis
To diagnose whether you have gastritis, your doctor may perform a physical exam and ask for your symptoms. They might also recommend you to undergo some tests and enquire about your family medical history. If your doctor senses that you might have a slight inflammation, he/she might suggest an endoscopy to examine your condition further.
A Barium Swallow X-ray of the upper abdomen can also help detect gastritis. This procedure involves swallowing a white, metallic liquid which makes the ulcer more visible (if any). For most people that are diagnosed with gastritis, the condition does not get serious and improves with timely medical intervention.
Treatment of Gastritis
To treat the gastritis condition, the doctors will first have to determine what caused it. Based on the diagnosis, one or more of the following treatments will be recommended.
1. Proton Pump Inhibitors
Doctors can suggest a medication known as proton pump inhibitors. It blocks cells that create stomach acid. Some common proton pump inhibitors are as follows:
However, note that prolonged consumption or high doses of these medications can increase your risk of acquiring other health issues such as renal failure, dementia, and nutrient deficiencies. It is best to consult your doctor before beginning the treatment and plan accordingly.
2. Acid-Reducing Medications
Another medication recommended by doctors to reduce the amount of acid your stomach produces is Famotidine (Pepcid). By lowering the release of stomach acids, gastritis symptoms can be relieved that further allows your stomach lining to heal.
For instant relief from gastritis symptoms, doctors may even suggest antacids. These medications are known to neutralise the acid in the stomach. However, be mindful when consuming antacids as they can cause diarrhoea. Talk to your doctor immediately if you suffer from any side-effects of antacids.
Are There Any Home Remedies for Gastritis?
For those of you who shy away from medications, it would be good to know that gastritis can be managed and treated through home remedies as well. The most common causes of gastritis are lifestyle-related. Here, we have enlisted a few home remedies that you can follow to relieve the pain/burning that comes with the condition.
Tender coconut water is known to have cooling effects on your body. Hence, you can sip on coconut water when you start feeling the burning sensation in your stomach. Moreover, coconut water is high in fibre, meaning it can also help you with indigestion. Make it a part of your daily diet and see the difference.
Ginger is known to have anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. It helps in reducing any irritation caused in the inner lining of your stomach. You can chew on a small piece of ginger and gulp it down with a glass of water. You can also add ginger to milk and water and boil it like a kadha.
Chamomile tea has soothing effects and helps in providing relief from gastritis symptoms. It also helps eliminate gas. Add a few dried chamomile flowers to hot water and let it steep for a few minutes. Keep sipping while it’s still warm to feel some relief.
Prevention from Gastritis: Quick Tips
Conscious efforts towards how you live your life can help you reduce the risk of gastritis. Your goal of healthy living starts with making a few changes to your routine and following a healthy diet. Follow the tips below to avoid gastritis.
Keep a Check on the Food Types that Cause Stomach Irritation
There might be some food types that do not suit your stomach. Make a note of these. Some common ingredients that can cause inflammation include spicy, fatty, fried, or acidic food items. Avoid excess consumption of these to prevent gastritis.
Alcohol is known to irritate the mucous lining of the stomach. Hence, if you have had an experience with gastritis before, know that you need to stay away from alcohol.
Eat Smaller Meals but Frequently
Indigestion is also one of the causes of gastritis. If this is the case with you, avoid eating a lot of food in one meal. Instead, break down your meals into smaller portions and eat them in intervals. This will help reduce acid reflux and, in turn, gastritis.
Find an Alternate Painkiller
If you consume painkillers, then get them checked with your doctor for alternate prescriptions that reduce or negate the risk of gastritis as a side-effect. These tablets will be less likely to aggravate any stomach issues.
Gastritis might sound like a scary condition, but it is treatable and timely medical intervention can help you recover quickly. All you need to do is live a healthy and balanced life that is high on good food and low on stress. However, if you are worried about the cost of treatment and tests that come with this condition, you can reach out to your health insurance provider to check if it is included in your coverage.