Gastritis is a universal term for a group of health conditions with one common sign – inflammation around the stomach. It is usually the result of bacterial infection with the same bacteria that is responsible for most stomach ulcers. Gastritis can appear abruptly (acute gastritis) or grow gradually with time (chronic gastritis). In a few cases, it can lead to stomach cancers or ulcers. However, it is not serious for most people and can be improved with proper treatment.
What Causes Gastritis?
There are many diseases and health conditions that can cause Gastritis including Crohn’s disease, Sarcoidosis, etc. However, there are certain factors that can increase your risk of getting Gastritis, including:
Continuous Use of Pain Relievers
Continuous use of common pain relievers such as Aspirin, Ibuprofen, Naproxen, etc. can cause both types of Gastritis (chronic and acute). Regular use of these pain relievers or overdose of these drugs can lower the main substances that protect your stomach’s protective lining.
Bacterial infection is another possible cause of Gastritis. Bacteria such as Helicobacter Pylori is one of the common human bacterial infections, but only a few people with this infection can develop Gastritis. Experts believe bacterium vulnerability is often either inherited or caused by individuals’ lifestyle habits like smoking and diet.
Alcohol can irritate and corrode your stomach lining. Excessive drinking can make your stomach vulnerable to digestive juices that may lead to Acute Gastritis.
Since the stomach lining becomes thin with age, older individuals have a heightened risk of getting infected with the disease. They are more likely to get infected with Helicobacter Pylori or other autoimmune disorders than younger ones.
Severe Stress Levels
Severe stress levels can also lead to Gastritis. Stress due to injury, surgery, burns, or other serious infections can often lead to Acute Gastritis.
There are other causes too that can cause Gastritis, which are not as prevalent as the causes mentioned above. The cause of Gastritis usually depends on your age, your lifestyle choices, diet, and many other factors that have a direct impact on your health.
Symptoms of Gastritis
Most people with Gastritis do not have any specific symptoms, but those who have symptoms often mistake them as indigestion and do not treat the condition properly. Other symptoms of Gastritis include:
- Black, Tarry Stool
- Feeling Extra Full Before or After Taking a Meal
- Nausea and Vomiting
- Stomach Ulcers
- Loss of Appetite
- Vomiting Blood
- Losing Weight Without any Reason
- Pain or Discomfort in Upper Abdominal
If you want to know more about the symptoms of Gastritis, then click here and learn more about the above-mentioned symptoms as well as other symptoms which are not as common as the ones mentioned above.
Diagnosis Options of Gastritis
Your healthcare provider will inquire about your symptoms and history with the condition and will perform various physical tests to determine your condition, including:
During a Heliobacter Pylori breath test, you need to swallow a capsule or liquid that contains urea, which is a harmless radioactive substance. You then need to exhale into a balloon-like bag. The bacteria can change the urea into carbon dioxide and if you are infected with the bacteria, the test will show the increasing amount of carbon dioxide.
The blood test will determine if the antibodies have a titer that fights the H Pylori bacteria.
This test determines whether you have the H Pylori bacteria in your stool.
Upper Endoscopy Test
In this test, your doctor will use an endoscope to check inside your stomach. This test also allows your doctor to check your stomach lining. If required, the doctor may also collect a tissue sample from your stomach lining to assess your condition better.
Upper Gastrointestinal Test
In this test, you swallow a chalky material named Barium. The liquid covers your stomach lining, provider more accurate X-Ray images.
Your doctor may conduct other tests too based on the complexity of your condition before prescribing any medicines.
Treatment Options of Gastritis
Treatment of Gastritis often depends on the cause of the condition and often gets treated with prescribed medications. Depending on your condition, your doctor might prescribe:
Antibiotics: Antibiotics are often used to treat Gastritis and you may have to take more than one antibiotic for a few weeks to cure the disease depending on your condition.
Antacids: Calcium Carbonate medicines can reduce your stomach’s acid exposure and also can relieve inflammation-related issues.
Proton Pump Inhibitors: Medicines such as Omeprazole and Esomeprazole can lower the amount of production of stomach acid. These medicines can also treat stomach ulcers and Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease.
Histamine Blockers: Cimetidine and Ranitidine and other similar medicines can reduce stomach acid levels to reduce the risk of Gastritis.
Prognosis for People Affected with Gastritis
Most Gastritis cases improve fast with proper treatment and medications which will be prescribed by your doctor based on what’s causing you the disease. It is usually the antibiotics or antacids they prescribe to improve your health.
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When to Call Doctor?
You should consult with an expert if you experience any of the following:
- Vomiting Blood
- Blood in Your Stool
- Losing Weight without any Reason
- Fatigue or Extreme Weakness, a Sign of Anemia
- Recurring Gastritis
- Unrestrained GERD
There may be other symptoms too that may need a doctor’s attention, and, in that case, you must consult with a doctor before taking any medicines.
Gastritis is a common as well as a treatable health condition. If you are affected by the disease, then don’t panic. Most people failed to understand that their indigestion is because of Gastritis. This is because some people don’t have any Gastritis symptoms and require health evaluation to determine the exact causes of Gastritis. This allows you to get the right treatment for Gastritis based on the exact cause.