Gastritis commonly refers to inflammation of the lining of the stomach, but the term is often used to cover a variety of symptoms resulting from stomach lining inflammation and symptoms of burning or discomfort. True gastritis comes in several forms and is diagnosed using a combination of tests. In the 1990s, scientists discovered that the main cause of true gastritis is infection from a bacterium called Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori).
Gastritis should not be confused with common symptoms of upper abdominal discomfort. It has been associated with resulting ulcers, particularly peptic ulcers. And in some cases, chronic gastritis can lead to more serious complications.
What causes of gastritis?
Gastritis may be caused by the following:
- drinking too much alcohol
- eating spicy foods
- prolonged use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
- infection with bacteria such as E. coli, Salmonella, or Helicobacterpylori
- major surgery
- traumatic injury or burns
- severe infection
- certain diseases, such as megaloblastic (pernicious) anemia,autoimmune disorders, and chronic bile reflux.
The following are the most common symptoms of gastritis. However, eachindividual may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:
- stomach upset or pain
- abdominal bleeding
- feeling of fullness or burning in the stomach
- blood in vomit or stool (a sign that the stomach lining may bebleeding)
Left untreated, gastritis may lead to stomach ulcers and stomach bleeding. Some forms of chronic gastritis may increase your risk of stomach cancer, especially if you have extensive thinning of the stomach lining and changes in the lining’s cells.
Lifestyle and home remedies
You may find some relief from signs and symptoms if you:
- Eat smaller, more frequent meals. If you experience frequent indigestion, eat smaller, more frequent meals to help ease the effects of stomach acid.
- Avoid irritating foods. Avoid foods that irritate your stomach, especially those that are spicy, acidic, fried or fatty.
- Drink alcohol in moderation, if at all. Excessive use of alcohol can irritate the mucous lining of your stomach. Limit yourself to one drink per day if you’re a woman or two drinks per day if you’re a man.
- Consider switching pain relievers. If you use pain relievers regularly, ask your doctor whether paracetamol (crocin ,metacin) may be an option for you. This medication is less likely to aggravate your stomach problem.
- Manage stress. Stress may make your gastritis symptoms worse. Stress may be unavoidable, but you can learn to cope with it. If you have trouble relaxing, consider trying calming activities, such as meditation or yoga.
Diet & Gastritis
Nutrition and Dietary Supplements
Following these nutritional tips may help reduce symptoms:
- Foods containing flavonoids, like apples, celery, cranberries (including cranberry juice), onions, garlic, and tea may inhibit the growth of H. pylori.
- Eat antioxidant foods, including fruits (such as blueberries, cherries, and tomatoes), and vegetables (such as squash and bell peppers).
- Eat foods high in B vitamins and calcium, such as almonds, beans, whole grains (if no allergy), dark leafy greens (such as spinach and kale), and sea vegetables.
- Avoid refined foods, such as white breads, pastas, and sugar.
- Eat lean meats, cold water fish, tofu (soy, if no allergy) or beans for protein.
- Use healthy oils, such as olive oil.
- Reduce or eliminate trans fatty acids, found in commercially baked goods such as cookies, crackers, cakes, French fries, onion rings, donuts, processed foods, and margarine.
- Avoid beverages that may irritate the stomach lining or increase acid production including coffee (with or without caffeine), alcohol, and carbonated beverages.
- Drink 6 – 8 glasses of filtered water daily.
- Exercise at least 30 minutes daily, 5 days a week.
- Identify and eliminate food allergies.
The following supplements may help with digestive health:
- A multivitamin daily, containing the antioxidant vitamins A, C, E, the B vitamins, and trace minerals, such as magnesium, calcium, zinc, and selenium.
- Omega-3 fatty acids, such as fish oil, 1 – 2 capsules or 1 tablespoonful oil 2 – 3 times daily — may help decrease inflammation. Fish oil may increase the risk of bleeding. If you take aspirin or other anticoagulants (blood thinners), talk to your doctor before taking fish oil.
- Probiotic supplement (containing Lactobacillus acidophilus ), 5 – 10 billion CFUs (colony forming units) a day — Probiotics or â€œfriendlyâ€ bacteria may help maintain a balance in the digestive system between good and harmful bacteria, such as H. pylori. Probiotics may help suppress H. pylori infection and may also help reduce side effects from taking antibiotics, the treatment for an H. pylori infection. Some probiotic supplements may need to be refrigerated for best results. People who have weakened immune systems or who are taking immune suppressive drugs should take probiotics only under the direction of their physician.
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