Gastritis is a group of conditions affecting the stomach; in one way or another, the lining of the stomach will be inflamed. There are two different types of gastritis (acute and chronic) and various causes. The most common cause is due to an infection with the same bacteria that causes stomach ulcers; other factors that could contribute to gastritis are traumatic injury, regular use of certain pain relievers, and drinking too much alcohol. Gastritis can be very serious, and can even lead to stomach ulcers and an increased risk for stomach cancer; however, in most people, it can be cleared away with proper treatment. Learn about the two different types, the symptoms, and possible treatment.
Two Types of Gastritis
The two different types have two quite simple definitions. Acute gastritis occurs suddenly; chronic gastritis has a slow, gradual onset.
Typical signs and symptoms of gastritis include nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, belching, bloating, a feeling of fullness in the upper abdomen after eating, weight loss, and a burning ache or pain in the upper abdomen that may become either worse or better after eating (it is most often referred to as indigestion). A rare symptom due to gastritis is stomach bleeding, which usually is not severe; however, if this causes you to vomit blood or pass black, bloody stools, immediate medical attention is required. Acute gastritis, since it occurs suddenly, is more likely to cause nausea, vomiting, and indigestion. Chronic gastritis, since it occurs slowly, is more likely to cause a dull pain in the upper abdomen and a feeling of fullness after only a couple bites of food. For many people, chronic gastritis doesn’t cause any symptoms. Just because an individual experiences indigestion, gastritis is not always the reason; don’t be too quick to jump to that conclusion. This is a normal thing to happen occasionally. On the other hand, if you experience this and other signs of gastritis for a week or longer, talk with your doctor. If you notice any stomach problems after taking certain prescription drugs or over-the-counter pain relievers, especially aspirin, notify your doctor.
Medical remedies – The treatment will depend on the cause. For example, if the cause is over-the-counter pain relievers, you will be instructed to stop taking these; if the cause is excessive alcohol use, you’ll need to stop drinking. Gastritis caused by H. pylori, which is the bacteria that causes stomach ulcers, will be treated by getting rid of the bacterial infection; this can be done with an antibiotic. Many times, medications that treat stomach acid will be used to help relieve symptoms and promote healing in the stomach. These medications would include antacids (can be bought over-the-counter), acid blockers (a prescribed medication), or medications to shut down acid pumps (a prescribed medications that reduce acid by blocking the action of tiny pumps in the acid-secreting cells of the stomach).
Lifestyle remedies – There are certain things you can do on your own to prevent and control gastritis. Have good eating habits: eat healthfully, don’t eat too fast, don’t eat too much, relax when you eat, and eat at regular times. Maintain a healthy weight, as this can reduce heartburn, bloating, and constipation. Get regular exercise and plenty of it; this helps stimulate the intestinal muscles, which allows for food to be moved more easily and quickly through the intestines. Lastly, do certain things to manage stress because this can have a negative effect on the stomach; since you can’t very well avoid stress, finding different ways to handle it effectively is the best thing you can do. Talk to your doctor about different options.