Gastritis – Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Gastritis means inflammation of mucus lining of the stomach. It means that white blood cells move into the wall of the stomach as a response to some type of injury. Gastritis is a very troublesome disease and can give rise to many life threatening problems, if it is not treated in time.

The symptoms are discomfort, bloating, nausea and perhaps vomiting. The person may also have symptoms that suggest ulcers – burning or pain in the upper abdomen, usually occurring about an hour or so after meals or even during the night. The symptoms are often relieved temporarily by antacids, milk, or medications that reduce stomach acidity.

Causes

Infections with bacteria, viruses, or fungi can cause gastritis. Worldwide, the most common cause of gastritis is infection with Helicobacter pylori bacteria. Viral or fungal gastritis may develop in people who have had a prolonged illness or an impaired immune system, such as those who have AIDS or cancer or those who take immunosuppressant drugs.

Chronic gastritis may be caused by prolonged irritation from the use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), infection with the bacteria Helicobacter pylori, pernicious anemia (an autoimmune disorder), degeneration of the lining of the stomach from age, or chronic bile reflux.

Other causes of gastritis include intake of caustic poisons, alcohol, and some medications (such as aspirin or adrenal corticosteroids), as well as physical stress from the flu, major surgery, severe burns, or injuries. For some people, a drug allergy or food poisoning can cause gastritis. Atrophic gastritis is a form of gastritis found particularly in the elderly, where stomach cells are destroyed, potentially leading to pernicious anemia.

Symptoms

The main symptoms of gastritis are loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, headache, and dizziness. There is pain and discomfort in the region of the stomach. Other symptoms are a coated tongue, foul breath, bad taste in the mouth, increased flow of saliva, scanty urination, a general feeling of uneasiness, and mental depression. In more chronic cases, the patient complaints of heartburn and a feeling of fullness in the abdomen, especially after meals.

Treatment

Treatment depends on the specific cause. Some of the causes will disappear over time. Medications to decrease stomach acid release may be recommended.

Treatment usually involves taking antacids to reduce stomach acid, and thereby help relieve symptoms and promote healing. Along with recommendations to avoid certain medicines foods or beverages.

Once the diagnosis of gastritis has been confirmed by a medical professional, treatment can begin. The choice of treatment depends to some extent on the cause of the gastritis. Some treatments target the exact cause of a particular type of gastritis. Most treatments aim at reducing symptoms. Your stomach often will heal over time if it is protected.

Generally, treatment for gastritis involves antacids and other medications aimed at reducing stomach acid, relieving symptoms, and promoting the healing of the stomach lining, as acid irritates the inflamed tissue.
Doctors use several different types of method to treat H. Pylori infection. Most use a combination of two antibiotics and a proton pump inhibitor. Sometimes bismuth (Pepto-Bismol) also is added to the mix. The antibiotic helps destroy the bacteria, and the acid blocker or proton pump inhibitor relieves pain and nausea, heals inflammation and may increase the antibiotic’s effectiveness.