Gastritis-Causes, Treatment And Diagnosis
Gastritis is an inflammation or erosion of the lining of the stomach. The inflammation of gastritis is most often the result of infection with the same bacterium that causes most stomach ulcers. It is also known as stomach inflammation. This article helps to know in detail about causes, treatment and diagnosis of gastritis.
It can cause suddenly (acute) or gradually (chronic). Acute gastritis involves sudden, severe inflammation, where as Chronic gastritis involves long-term inflammation that can last for years if it’s left untreated.
The entire human gastrointestinal (GI)tract is approximately 30 feet in length. The time it takes to go through all of the phases or process mentioned about will vary depending on the person, and the type and the quantity of food ingested. Basically, the process of digestion is typically in the range of taking between 24 and 72 hours.
Weakness in your stomach lining allows digestive juices to damage and inflame it, causing gastritis. Having a thin or damaged stomach lining raises your risk for gastritis. There are certain conditions and activities that may increase your risk for developing gastritis:
- Irritation due to excessive alcohol consumption
- Use of certain medications such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen and aspirin
- Cocaine and tobacco use
- Stress caused by severe surgery, illness, or injury
- Age (stomach lining thins naturally with age)
- Viral and bacterial infections
It may also be caused by :
- Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori): A bacteria that lives in the mucous lining of the stomach. Without treatment, the infection can lead to ulcers and stomach cancer.
- Bile reflux: A backflow of bile into the stomach from the bile tract (that connects liver and gall bladder).
Gastritis doesn’t cause detectable symptoms in everyone. The most common symptoms include:
- Abdominal pain
- Abdominal bloating
- Burning or gnawing feeling in the stomach (between meals or at night)
- Loss of appetite
If you have erosive gastritis, you might experience different symptoms, including:
- Vomiting blood or coffee ground like material
- black, tarry stools
To diagnose gastritis, review your personal and family medical history, perform a through physical evaluation, may recommend any of the following tests:
Stool test: This test checks for the presence of blood in your stool, a possible sign of gastritis. It is also called as faecal occult blood test.
Blood test: The doctor may perform various blood tests, such as checking your red blood cell count to determine whether you have anaemia or not. They can also screen for H. pylori infection and pernicious anaemia with blood tests..
Endoscopy: An endoscopy involves a long thin tube containing a tiny camera. It is inserted through your mouth and down into your stomach to look at the stomach lining.
The doctor will check for inflammation and may perform a biopsy, a procedure in which a tiny sample of tissue is removed and then sent to laboratory for analysis.
The treatment for gastritis depends on the cause of the condition. Medical treatment for gastritis usually involves:
- Gastritis caused by H. pylori infection, your doctor will prescribe a regimen of several anti-biotics and acid blocking drug.
- If you have gastritis caused by NSAIDs or other drugs, avoiding those drugs may be enough to relieve your symptoms.
- Taking antacids and other drugs (such as proton pump inhibitors or H-2 blockers) to reduce stomach acid.
- If the gastritis is caused by pernicious anemia, B12 vitamin shots will be given.
- Avoiding hot and spicy foods.
- Eliminating irritating foods from your diet such as lactose from dairy or gluten from wheat.
Gastritis depends on the underlying cause. Acute gastritis usually resolves quickly with treatment. H. pylori infections, for example, can often be treated with one or two rounds of antibiotics. However, sometimes treatment fails and it can turn into chronic, or long-term, gastritis. Talk to your doctor to develop an effective treatment plan for you. You should talk to your doctor before stopping any medicine or starting any gastritis treatment on your own.