All you Need to Know About Gastritis
What is Gastritis?
Gastritis is the inflammation, irritation or the erosion of the protective lining of the stomach. As an organ that produces acids in the form of digestive juices which are essential for digestion, even though protected by a mucous membrane lining called gastric mucosa, the stomach remains vulnerable to the strong and corrosive nature of these acids. Due to a number of causes, when this protective membrane wears out, the acids damage the gastric mucosa and cause inflammation which is called gastritis.
Types of Gastritis
Gastritis is classified into two types depending upon the nature of its onset- Acute Gastritis and Chronic Gastritis:
This type of gastritis occurs suddenly. As the name suggests, the pain associated with this type is sharp and severe. Often temporary, this type usually resolves without any complications when the right treatment is provided on time. In acute gastritis, the stomach lining can either be eroded or remain intact.
Unlike acute gastritis, this type of gastritis develops over a long period of time with hardly any visible symptoms. Since the pain is rather mild, it is often overlooked. When left undiagnosed and untreated, this can persist throughout a person’s life leading to severe chronic gastritis which may become incurable, altogether.
There are several causes behind gastritis, the most common and significant of which are as follows: Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori): When left untreated, these bacteria that live in the mucous lining of the stomach, may damage the protective membrane and exposes it to acids, and the infection may lead to ulcer and in extreme cases, cause stomach cancer.
Bile reflux: A backflow of bile into the stomach from the bile tract instead of flowing through the small intestine, which causes chemical irritation to the stomach lining.
Severe physical injury: Any severe physical strain triggered by critical injury or illness may lead to decrease in the blood flow that is essential to protect the gastric mucosa, leading to gastritis.
Autoimmunity: When a malfunction in the body’s immune system causes it to attack healthy cells and tissues, the protective gastric mucosa is spontaneously worn out and damaged.
Harmful diet habits: Excessive alcohol consumption, smoking, extreme stress and eating spicy foods causes irritation and erosion of the stomach lining which may lead to exposure to the stomach acids.
Overuse of painkillers: Overuse of Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) weakens the gastric mucosa’s resistance to stomach acids which leaves the protective lining extremely vulnerable.
Signs and Symptoms
Symptoms of gastritis largely vary and in many people, none are observed. Here are some of the most common signs to watch out for-
- Abdominal bloating
- Stomach pain or discomfort
- Nausea or vomiting sensation
- Loss of appetite
- Vomiting blood
- Black, tarry stools
- Burning sensation in the stomach
- Loss of appetite
Some of the factors that raise a person’s tendency to develop gastritis include:
- Uncontrolled consumption of Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) and corticosteroids.
- Excessive consumption of alcohol which can damage the stomach lining.
- Major surgeries and injuries, since they cause stress-related gastritis which inhibit the proper blood flow necessary for the protection of gastric mucosa.
Organ malfunction such as kidney failure, liver failure and respiratory failure.
For diagnosis of gastritis, our Yashoda experts will review your medical history, observe your symptoms, perform a thorough physical examination and may recommend a number of tests. Here are some of the most common ones that have been proven to be effective:
CBC Test: A complete blood count (CBC) to check your overall health and detect a variety of diseases and conditions you may not be aware of.
Fecal Test: Infection can be detected by submitting a stool sample (stool antigen test).
Testing for H. pylori.: A blood, breath or saliva test to check for bacterial infection such as H. pylori
Endoscopy: A nonsurgical procedure to examine the lining of your stomach with a small camera or an esophagogastroduodenoscopy, to examine the conditions of your oesophagus, stomach and upper part of the small intestine.
Gastric Tissue Biopsy: A process in which a small piece of stomach tissue is remove and examined for analysis.
X-ray: An imaging test to detect any structural problems or abnormalities in your digestive system.
For the most effective treatment, our experts will evaluate the underlying causes and treat you on the basis of your symptoms. These may include the following:
Antibiotics: For gastritis caused by H. pylori infection, our experts will prescribe needful composition of antibiotics along with acid blocking drugs that will combat the heartburn.
Histamine blockers: Taking antacids such as H-2 blockers to reduce stomach acid from flowing into the digestive tracts to eliminate pain and enable gradual healing.
Proton pump inhibitors: These drugs are given to keep the acid-producing cells from excess or uncontrolled production of acid.
Antacids: These medicines are given to reduce acid and quickly ease the pain in the stomach by neutralising the acids present in the stomach.
Dietary and lifestyle adaptation: One must avoid hot, spicy foods that can increase acidity in the stomach as well as excess intake of lactose, gluten, caffeine and consumption of alcohol should be refrained from.
Vitamin shots: If the gastritis is cause by pernicious anaemia, B12 vitamins shots will be given to the patient.
Whom to Consult?
Identifying the underlying causes of gastritis is essential since their elimination brings about the cure itself. Before starting any gastritis treatment on your own, it is highly advisable that you consult a specialist who will give the right prognosis. Our trusted specialists at the Yashoda Hospital & Research Centre’s Centre for Digestive and Liver Disease are here to offer you the best possible treatment. For any query on gastritis and its treatment, please feel free to reach out to us on our official website www.yashodahealthcare.com or book an appointment with our Gastroenterology & Hepatology specialists, Dr. Manish Kumar Gupta and Dr. Sushrut Singh by calling us at 09810922042.