What is Gastritis?
Gastritis is a condition that causes inflammation of the lining of the stomach called the mucosa. Your stomach lining protects the stomach from the acid that digests food. When something weakens this protective lining, such as bacteria, the mucosa becomes inflamed. Gastritis can occur suddenly (acute gastritis) or appear over time (chronic gastritis).
Common symptoms associated with gastritis include:
- Burning pain in your upper abdomen that may worsen or become better with eating.
- A feeling of fullness in the upper abdomen after eating.
What Causes Gastritis?
While the most common cause for gastritis is an infection with the bacteria Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori), it may also be caused by regular use of pain relievers such as aspirin and ibuprofen, excessive alcohol consumption or an autoimmune disorder. There are a number of different conditions and diseases that may increase your risk of developing gastritis, including Crohn’s disease and sarcoidosis.
How is Gastritis Diagnosed?
If your provider suspects that you may have gastritis based on your description of symptoms, he or she may have you undergo some testing. These tests may include testing for H. pylori, an endoscopy or an X-ray of your upper digestive system to get a better understanding of what is happening inside of your body.
Gastritis Treatment Options
The treatment that is best for you will depend on the cause of your gastritis. Overall, your treatment options may consist of the following:
- Antibiotics to eliminate H. pylori: If your provider has found H. pylori in your digestive tract, a combination of antibiotics can be prescribed to destroy the bacterium.
- Proton pump inhibitors: These medications block the production of acid and boost healing in your digestive tract. They are available as both prescription and over-the-counter medications.
- Histamine (H-2) blockers: These medications reduce the amount of acid that is released into your digestive tract, which, in turn, helps to encourage healing. These are available as prescription or over-the-counter medications.
- Antacids: Antacids neutralize stomach acid to help with gastritis pain relief.
There are also some lifestyle changes that you can try to find relief from gastritis symptoms, including:
- Easting smaller meals more frequently throughout the day.
- Avoiding alcohol consumption.
- Avoiding foods that irritate your digestive tract such as spicy, acidic or fried foods.
- Avoiding using pain relievers frequently such as ibuprofen. Acetaminophen may be a better option for some.
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