Gastritis is a medical problem related to inflammation of the inner mucosal lining of the stomach. The main causes of this inflamed stomach are side effects of medicine (particularly with steroids and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), alcohol abuse, and bacterial infection, among others.
As the mucosa is inflamed, contact with acidic juices and digestive enzymes result in painful symptoms. Symptoms of gastritis include nausea, vomiting, bloating, upper abdominal pain, loss of appetite, and weight loss. The condition also causes secretions of the digestive juices to be reduced, thus negatively affecting the digestion process.
According to the duration of the manifested signs, gastritis is categorized under acute and chronic types. A sudden outbreak of stomach inflammation that lasts for a short time is acute gastritis, whereas, chronic gastritis refers to inflammation of the mucosa lining that persists for a longer period. In some patients, the condition is accompanied with stomach ulcer. Such a condition causes increased pain and discomfort.
Natural treatment involves identifying the causes and avoiding them to improve digestive health. For example; in case of patients who experience these symptoms after having medications or alcohol, the most practical solution is avoiding these triggering substances. For the medicine part, the patient should always consult the onset of side effects with the doctor and ask for other alternatives (if possible). Speaking about treatment at home, it is focused on following a healthy diet, maintaining average weight, performing regular activities, and managing stress.
Since gastritis affects the main digestive organ (stomach), proper planning of the diet and making changes in eating habits help in effective management of the inflamed stomach. In short, treatment and diet are correlated to each other. The point is to follow a well-planned diet and avoid food items that irritate the stomach lining and trigger inflammation. The foods to avoid include spicy foods and hot beverages (tea, coffee). Also, indulge in good eating habits, like serving moderate amount of food at regular intervals (not a large serving at a time), slow eating, and avoiding foods when they are still hot.
For mild gastritis, effectual treatment is done with the help of over-the-counter antacids. These are therapeutic formulations that counteract and neutralize the acidic substances generated by the stomach lining. Sold in liquid or tablet forms, these medications can aid in getting immediate pain relief. If these OTC medicines do not work, the doctor may prescribe acid blockers like ranitidine and cimetidine. As the name suggests, acid blockers reduce secretion of stomach acids and help in treating the pain symptoms.
Another class of drugs prescribed is known as proton pump inhibitors. This works by binding with enzymes that stimulate parietal cells which produces acid. This reduces the production of acid to a great extent, and offers relief. On the other hand, antimicrobial drugs are recommended with the intention of curing the infection responsible for stomach inflammation. For example, people with Helicobacter pylori infection are prescribed antibiotics in specific dosages. Health experts are of the opinion that proton pump inhibitors also inhibit bacterial growth.
There is no particular treatment duration as such. It all depends on the extent of inflammation and type of gastritis. In case of delayed treatment when the condition is chronic, the stomach problem may persist for several years, or at times, for a lifetime. Thus, prognosis depends on how early one addresses the condition, and how well he/she follows the doctor’s directions in making lifestyle changes. Strictly following the recommendations of the doctor and managing stress will help in effective treatment, without risking peptic ulcer, gastric tumors, and other complications.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be replaced for the advice of a medical professional.