Health and MedicineDiseasesGastritis: what is it, what are its symptoms and its treatment?

Gastritis: what is it, what are its symptoms and its treatment?

What are the symptoms of gastritis? What is it and what causes it? Discover in turn the specific medical treatment and the nutritional diet to follow.

Known medically by the name of gastritis, we are undoubtedly facing one of the most common digestive diseases, which precisely tend to affect the health of our stomach the most. We must differentiate it from nervous gastritis, which basically consists of inflammation of the lining of the stomach by nerves.

The truth is that knowing the symptoms that appear when we have gastritis can be very useful when it comes to aiding in its diagnosis, especially to apply a fast and effective medical treatment. However, the diagnosis -as we will see- is not only based on clinical symptoms, but also on the use of certain tools such as the endoscope.

What is gastritis?

Gastritis basically consists of the  inflammation  of the lining of the stomach, more specifically of the gastric mucosa, which is the layer of different cells that lines our stomach inside, and which acts as an important protector of the acidity of the different gastric juices.

It is very common to use the term dyspepsia as a synonym, but in reality it is a mistake. In other words, it is not correct to identify gastritis and dyspepsia as the same pathology, since dyspepsia consists of pain located in the upper abdomen and accompanied by symptoms such as pressure, fullness and burning, but it is a condition not due to inflammation of the stomach.

Its causes are actually very varied, as we will see later: it can be caused by poor eating habits, stress, anxiety, the abuse of certain medications or, more frequently, by the appearance of Helicobacter pylori.

Causes of gastritis

As we mentioned before, there are actually many causes that can directly influence the swelling and inflammation of the stomach lining, and therefore be a cause of gastritis. We summarize below the most common and usual:

  • Certain habits: Especially due to excessive alcohol consumption.
  • Consumption of medications: Certain medications consumed regularly and over time, can inflame the stomach. The most common are aspirin and other anti-inflammatory drugs.
  • Infections: Especially by the H. Pylori bacteria, a bacterium that lives in the mucous lining of our stomach. Without medical treatment, it can cause not only gastritis, but also ulcers and, in severe cases, stomach cancer. Gastritis can also be caused by other bacteria or viruses, such as cytomegalovirus or herpes simplex virus.
  • Pernicious anemia: This is a type of anemia that occurs when the intestines are unable to properly absorb vitamin B12.
  • Reflux: In case of bile reflux, which consists of a reverse flow of bile into the stomach, which then reaches the liver and gallbladder?

Symptoms of gastritis

We must bear in mind that the symptoms of gastritis tend to be highly variable. This means that, in reality, one person may have different symptoms compared to another individual, and yet both may be having symptoms related to gastritis.

However, we can establish a series of relatively frequent symptoms and signs:

  • Abdominal pain, especially in the stomach.
  • Gas or flatulence.
  • Upset stomach in general.
  • Heartburn.
  • Nausea and vomiting with the possibility of blood (both in the vomit and in the stool).

Said disease of the digestive system can be controlled by taking antacids and other types of medications to reduce acid, gas and upset stomach. You must also follow a soft diet made up of certain foods that avoid that heaviness of the stomach and help to be a good and complete digestion.

How is it diagnosed?

The best techniques to diagnose this disease so common among people are medical check-ups and subsequent blood or stool tests and even an endoscopy, whose procedure consists of inserting an endoscope through the mouth and esophagus equipped with a camera to see the state in which the stomach is found and subsequently the complete state of the aforementioned inflammation will be assessed.

In any case, the most common is the performance of a gastroscopy, which consists of an upper digestive endoscopy, carried out by a flexible tube (endoscope) of around more than 100 centimeters long and 1 centimeter in diameter, which is introduced through the mouth and slowly advanced through the upper intestine.

This endoscope allows the doctor to visualize the stomach and the interior of the intestine.  In addition, it is also very useful for collecting samples for later analysis.

Types of gastritis

Depending on whether the gastritis has a short or long duration, we will find ourselves before a type of acute or chronic gastritis. Everything will depend on the period of evolution of the specific condition.

Acute gastritis

Acute gastritis is sudden inflammation and swelling of the lining of the stomach.  It has a rather short duration, and that is precisely why its symptoms tend to be more evident than with chronic gastritis.

The most common symptoms are indigestion and poor digestion, loss of appetite and fatigue, nausea and vomiting (also bloody), as well as black stools.

It can be caused by excessive consumption of alcoholic beverages, by certain medications (especially aspirin, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and corticosteroids), nervous tension and stress (we are dealing here with emotional gastritis), consumption of corrosive substances, and by infections.

Chronic gastritis

Chronic gastritis is a type of gastritis that occurs when inflammation of the stomach lining occurs gradually, and above all, it tends to persist and last for a long time. It is common for acute gastritis to become chronic when it does not receive adequate medical treatment.

Its symptoms are somewhat different from those produced by acute gastritis, although there are symptoms in common: abdominal pain that is located in the upper part and that is felt especially when eating, indigestion, and loss of appetite, dark stools, nausea and vomiting blood.

Its causes may be related to prolonged use of no steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, chronic bile reflux, and age-related degeneration of the stomach lining, pernicious anemia, or Helicobacter Pylori infection.

Treatment of gastritis

Medical treatment

It is very common for gastritis to be medically treated with antacids, which are medicines and drugs that are especially useful for reducing the acidity in the stomach, relieving symptoms and thus promoting the healing of the irritation of the stomach lining.

However, when gastritis is caused by an infection (such as Helicobacter Pylori gastritis), it is best to treat the infection until it is eradicated.

Foods and meals that can help as a treatment to treat gastritis

There are a number of foods that can be very useful when it comes to treating and relieving symptoms related to gastritis. In fact, it is advisable to carry out certain changes in our diet. The most suitable foods are the following:

  • Vegetables.
  • Rice.
  • Soup.
  • Fish.
  • Meat.
  • Jam on.
  • Soy or rice milk.
  • Fruit
  • And especially drink lots of water.

You can also opt for wonderful desserts such as the baked apple, an ideal option to heal the stomach as it is tremendously soft and nutritious.

What foods should we avoid?

Of course, in contrast, those foods that irritate the stomach wall should be avoided. The following foods are common:

  • Cookies or very greasy sweets.
  • Cheese.
  • Chocolates.
  • Milk.
  • Coffee.

As we can see, gastritis can be cured especially when it is in the acute stage, and it is very important to apply appropriate medical treatment quickly to prevent it from becoming chronic.

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