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Gastritis

Definition


Disease: Gastritis Gastritis
Category: Digestive diseases

Disease Definition:

Gastritis is a group of conditions that have one thing in common, which is the inflammation of the lining of the stomach. Usually, the bacterium that causes most stomach ulcers also causes most of the cases of the inflammation of gastritis. Some of the other factors that can also contribute to gastritis include drinking too much alcohol, traumatic injury and regular use of certain pain relievers.

 

Someone may have either acute gastritis, which occurs suddenly, or chronic gastritis, which occurs slowly over time. Although most of the time gastritis isn't serious and improves quickly with treatments, however, in some cases, it could lead to ulcers and an increased risk of stomach cancer.

 

Work Group:


Symptoms, Causes

Symptoms:

Some of the signs and symptoms of gastritis may be:

 

  • Vomiting
  • Weight loss
  • Nausea
  • Belching or bloating
  • Loss of appetite
  • A gnawing or burning ache (indigestion) in the upper abdomen, which could either become better or worse with eating
  • A feeling of fullness in the upper abdomen after eating

 

ACUTE GASTRITIS:

This type of gastritis is more likely to cause nausea and burning pain or discomfort in the upper abdomen. Acute gastritis occurs suddenly.

 

CHRONIC GASTRITIS:

This type of gastritis is more likely to cause a dull pain and a feeling of fullness or loss of appetite after a few bites of food. However, this type doesn't cause any signs or symptoms for many people and it develops gradually.

 

Gastritis could cause stomach bleeding in some cases which is rarely severe. However, a person should be aware that they will require immediate medical care in case the bleeding in their stomach is causing them to vomit blood or pass black, tarry stools.

 

Even though most cases of indigestion are short-lived and don't require medical treatment, however, someone should visit the doctor in case they experience the signs and symptoms of gastritis consistently for a week or longer. If someone experiences stomach problems after taking any prescription or over-the-counter drugs, particularly aspirin or other pain relievers, they should make sure to tell the doctor about it.

 

You should see a doctor immediately in case you are vomiting blood or have blood in your stools, so that your doctor could determine its cause.
 

Causes:

Usually, when the protective layer of the stomach becomes weakened or damaged, gastritis develops. The stomach is protected from the acids that help digest food by a mucus-lined barrier. These digestive juices could damage and inflame the stomach lining in case this barrier is weakened.

 

Some of the factors that could contribute to or trigger gastritis are:

Regular use of pain relievers:

Both acute and chronic gastritis could be caused by NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), including naproxen, ibuprofen and acetylsalicylic acid. When these drugs are taken too much, or if they are taken regularly, they reduce a key substance that helps preserve the protective lining of the stomach. In case someone takes NSAIDs only occasionally, stomach problems are less likely to develop.

Stress:

Acute gastritis could be caused by severe stress due to major surgery, severe infections, burns or traumatic injury.

Bacterial infection:

Chronic gastritis might be experienced by people who are infected with the Helicobacter pylori bacterium. Even though half of the world's population is thought to be infected with this bacterium which passes from person to person, however, the majority of infected people do not experience any complications of H. pylori. In some cases, H. pylori could cause changes in the stomach's lining by breaking down its inner protective coating. It is still not clear why some people don't experience complications from H. pylori while others do. However, it is believed that the vulnerability to the bacterium could be inherited or could be due to lifestyle choices, including high stress levels and smoking.

The body attacking cells in the stomach:

When someone's body attacks the cells that make up the stomach lining, a condition called autoimmune gastritis occurs. This produces a reaction by the immune system that could tear away at the stomach's protective barrier. Usually, people who have other autoimmune disorders, such as Addison's disease, type 1 diabetes or Hashimoto's disease, are more likely to develop autoimmune gastritis. Vitamin B-12 deficiency could also be associated with autoimmune gastritis.

Excessive alcohol use:

If someone uses alcohol excessively, their stomach becomes more vulnerable to digestive juices because it irritates and erodes the stomach lining. Mostly, acute gastritis is caused by excessive alcohol use.

Bile reflux disease:

The liver produces bile and the gallbladder stores this substance, which is a fluid that helps in digesting fats. Bile travels to the small intestine through a series of thin tubes, after being released from the gallbladder. Bile is prevented from flowing into the stomach from the small intestine by a ring-like sphincter muscle called pyloric valve. However, bile could flow into the stomach and cause inflammation and chronic gastritis in case this valve does not work properly, or if it has been surgically removed.

Other conditions and diseases:

Liver or kidney failure, HIV/AIDS, parasitic infections, some connective tissue disorders and Crohn's disease are some of the medical conditions that gastritis could be associated with.
 

Complications

Complications:

Gastritis could lead to stomach bleeding and stomach ulcers in case it is left untreated. Someone's risk of stomach cancer could be increased by some forms of chronic gastritis, particularly if they have extensive thinning of the stomach lining and changes in the cells of the lining.

 

In case someone's signs and symptoms are not improving in spite of treatment for gastritis, they should talk to a doctor.
 

Treatments:

Treatment of gastritis will depend on its specific cause. By stopping NSIADs or alcohol, acute gastritis may be relieved if was caused by those substances. However, if someone has chronic gastritis that is caused by an H. pylori infection, then eradicating the bacteria could relieve the gastritis. In order to reduce the signs and symptoms and promote healing in the stomach, most gastritis treatment plans include medications that treat stomach acid.

 

MEDICATIONS THAT TREAT STOMACH ACID:

Pain and further inflammation is caused by stomach acid because it irritates the inflamed tissue in the stomach. Because of this, most treatments of gastritis involve reducing or neutralizing stomach acid with medications, such as:

Medications to shut down acid 'pumps':

By blocking the action of tiny pumps within the acid-secreting cells of the stomach, medications called proton pump inhibitors reduce acid. Lansoprazole, esomeprazole, omeprazole and rabeprazole are some examples of these medications.

Antacids:

A common treatment for mild gastritis is over-the-counter antacids, whether in liquid or tablet form. These antacids could provide fast pain relief and neutralize stomach acid.

Acid blockers:

In order to reduce the amount of acid the stomach produces, the patient will be recommended a medication such as ranitidine, famotidine, cimetidine or nizatidine. These medications are usually recommended when antacids don't provide enough relief.

 

MEDICATIONS THAT TREAT H. PYLORI:

In order to treat H. Pylori infection, several regimens are used. In most cases, a combination of two antibiotics and a proton pump inhibitor is used and sometimes, bismuth is added to the mix. The antibiotics will destroy the bacteria, and the proton pump inhibitor will relieve pain and nausea, increase the antibiotic's effectiveness and heal inflammation.

 

The patient may be tested again after the treatment to make sure that H. pylori has been completely eliminated.
 

Prognosis:

Not available

Expert's opinion

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