What is Gastritis?
Gastritis is a very common condition caused by the inflammation of the stomach’s mucosa due to the infection of a bacterium called Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) and other irritants like alcohol and pain killers. Gastritis can be presented as an acute condition or a chronic one, and sometimes, it can lead to the development of peptic ulcers and even cancer.
Gastritis Signs and Symptoms
Signs and symptoms of gastritis can be different from person to person and some people might not show any symptoms at all. However, most people present the following:
- Burning sensation and pain in the upper part of the abdomen
- Change of symptoms, according to the food intake
- Nausea and vomiting
- Fullness sensation after your meals
Gastritis Common Causes
Normally, there is a mucus-lined barrier that protects the stomach lining from daily aggressions like digestive juice and medications. Gastritis occurs when something disrupts or destroy this mucus barrier and the mucosal is exposed to the corrosive damage of gastric juice, which caused progressive inflammation.
Some of the conditions and risk factors related to gastritis include:
- pylori infection
- Frequent use of pain killers
- Alcohol abuse
- Constant stress
- Autoimmune diseases. Some autoimmune conditions like Hashimoto’s disease, type 1 diabetes, pernicious anemia and Chron’s disease, can develop a special type of gastritis called autoimmune gastritis, in which the stomach’s mucosa is destroyed by your own immune system.
Although your doctor might suspect you have gastritis based on your symptoms and physical exam, the only way to make a proper diagnosis of gastritis is due to the examination of a tissue sample (biopsy) from your stomach mucosa.
Your doctor might recommend an upper endoscopy, in order to look after some signs of inflammation in your stomach and take a biopsy. Additionally, your doctor will run some lab tests to detect H. pylori, to check if this is the underlying cause of your affection.
Since gastritis is caused by some irritants in your stomach mucosa, the base of the treatment involves the resolution of the underlying cause. Additionally, your doctor might recommend some other treatment option to reduce your symptoms.
Medication used to treat gastritis include:
- Antibiotic medication to eradicate H. pylori. Your doctor might recommend a combination of some antibiotics such as clarithromycin, amoxicillin, and metronidazole.
- Medication to block the acidic stomach production. These drugs include proton pump inhibitors like omeprazole, esomeprazole or lansoprazole, which block the action of the stomach cells that produce acid, promoting your mucosal healing.
- Antacids, in order to neutralize your stomach acid.