Inflammation of the lining of the stomach wall gives rise to the burning pain in the upper mid abdomen area which we commonly call gastritis.
“I am feeling terrible, there is a pain in my lower chest, or I need to burp frequently” are these words familiar to you? How many of us would be saying I’m having gastritis today?
WHAT IS GASTRITIS?
So, what exactly is gastritis? Gastritis is an inflammation of the lining in the stomach wall. When there is an inflammation going on obviously the abdominal wall lining will be irritated. This gives rise to the symptoms we call gastritis.
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF GASTRITIS
Initially you may just feel a discomfort in your upper mid abdominal region which is known as the epigastric area. Later on it will become burning in type. Sometimes you may feel a tightening feeling as well.
Associated with this will be nausea and vomiting.
Abdominal distention, belching, a feeling of being bloated-symptoms known as dyspepsia will also be noticed.
acute irritation of the stomach will also cause diarrhoea at times.
WHAT CAUSES GASTRITIS
Commonest cause of chronic gastritis is stress. stress induces increased secretion of hydrochloric acid into our stomach which will slowly burn the lining.
Alcohol and drugs especially pain and inflammation reduction NSAIDS like Diclofenac sodium or Ibuprofen cause gastritis.
Helicobacter pylori is a bacteria which lives in our gut normally, when thee is inflammation of the gut taking place this bacteria can cause infections. This is also a cause of gastritis.
Other causes include diseases like chronic bile reflux and pernicious anaemia.
ACUTE, CHRONIC AND ACUTE ON CHRONIC GASTRITIS
In acute gastritis symptoms develop suddenly. This may take place after alcohol or drugs.
In chronic gastritis there will be persistent low grade symptoms.
sometimes on top of low grade symptoms there may be severe attacks prompting you towards seeking medical attention
when gastritis persists for a long time the lining of the stomach wall becomes eroded and ulcers may develop. When erosion starts taking place one may notice passing of black tarry coloured stools which signifies bleeding or, may vomit blood. Medical attention should be sought immediately if this occurs.
Chronic gastritis will lead to ulcers and sometimes may even provoke malignant changes in the stomach.
Gastritis is confirmed by upper gastrointestinal endoscopy. Supporting evidence will be by demonstrating anaemia in the full blood count, occult blood in stools. and isolating H.pylori in the stools.
Simple gastritis can be treated with antacid preparations in the form of tablets or syrup brought over the counter.If the symptoms are persistent the nest line of treatment would be H2 receptor blockers like Famoticine or Ranintidine. Proton pump inhibitors like Omeprazole, Rabeprazole offer more effective treatment. If H. pylori has been isolated antibiotic should be added to the treatment. along with drugs to control the acid secretion another drug is also prescribed to increase gut motility and reduce abdominal distension.
Prevention is better than cure. Prevent gastritis by minimizing stress in your life. Make time for relaxation daily.
Avoid spicy and oily food. Food containing yeast, like bread should also be avoided if you have gastritis. alcohol and NSAID drugs should never be taken. If you are aware that a certain drugs gives you gastritis, tell your doctor the nest time you see him for any other illness, so that he will not prescribe that antibiotic. Milk should be taken with care , as it can cause a rebound effect of symptoms though it may offer relief in the early stages.
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