Gastritis, take better care of your stomach

Substances such as NSAIDs, aspirin, the Helicobacter pylori or alcohol can irritate your gastric mucosa, causing pain in stomach, nausea or loss of appetite. Learn how to prevent gastritis.


It gastritis is an inflammation of the gastric mucosa, which is the layer of cells that lines the stomach inside protecting it from the acidity of the gastric juices. Although it is not correct, it is frequent that the term gastritis is used as a synonym for dyspepsia (pain or discomfort in the upper abdomen, as well as symptoms of burning, pressure or fullness from often, though not necessarily, with meals).
Gastritis can be caused by multiple causes: alcohol, tobacco, food, drugs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), major surgery, or infections (the bacterium Helicobacter pylori is associated with some types of gastritis). The symptoms are very variable, because each individual can experience them differently. The most frequent are discomfort or pain of stomach, nausea, vomiting, belching, heartburn, or presence of blood in the vomit or stools.
Diagnosis of gastritis It is histologically, i.e. it is necessary to perform a gastroscopy and obtain a sample of the gastric biopsy mucosa so that it can be analyzed. Therefore, the diagnosis of the gastritis is not only clinical (is based not only on symptoms) but that testing is required invasive (gastroscopy and biopsy) to confirm its existence.
Generally, treatment of gastritis involves antacids and other medicines that help decrease the acidity in the stomach, thus relieving the symptoms and promoting the healing of irritation of your wall. If the gastritis is related to a disease or infection, that problem be addressed as well.
Finally, recommended patients make changes in your diet, avoiding certain types of food, beverages or drugs that may cause irritation of the stomach wall.
The classification of gastritis is complex, but to summarize we can say that they are divided into acute, chronic, and special forms of gastritis. Then we will see the characteristics in terms of causes, symptoms and treatment of each one of them.

Acute gastritis, causes, symptoms and treatment

The main form is acute erosive or hemorrhagic gastritis, which is characterized by the presence of erosions in the wall of the stomach that only affect the mucosa.
It can be produced by different causes:
· Stress gastritis: patients with serious illnesses (polytraumatized, large burned, intracranial hypertension), specifically those admitted to intensive care units, may have ulcers or erosions that often manifest as bleeding. These lesions are caused by multiple causes, among which the stomach acid hypersecretion and the loss of the defensive mechanisms of the gastric mucosa.
· Toxic gastritis: anti-inflammatory drugs, alcohol, cocaine, caustic, enzymes produced by the pancreas, bile reflux.
· Produced gastritis by Helicobacter pylori, which is a bacterium that infects the mucosa of the stomach producing sometimes some types of gastritis or ulcers. In many cases, infected people never develop any symptoms.

Symptoms of acute gastritis

The acute gastritis symptoms vary greatly from some people to others, and in many cases the patients remain asymptomatic. The most common are abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, dyspepsia (pain, discomfort, or feeling of fullness, gastric, more frequent in gastritis caused by H. pylori) and, in more severe cases, gastrointestinal bleeding (vomiting blood or black, sticky and foul-smelling stools). Sometimes, this GI bleeding can be very subtle, manifesting itself only through anemia slight due to the loss of blood that are produced.
Medical history and the blood test (where you can see anemia) help to suspect an acute gastritis, but diagnostic confirmation of this it is histologically, i.e. it is necessary to examine under the microscope a stomach tissue sample obtained by a gastroscopy. In this sample there are erosions that affect only the mucosa and do not affect deeper layers of the stomach wall.

Treatment of acute gastritis

There are different options for the treatment of acute gastritis. Sometimes, it is not necessary to treat them, since the gastritis may resolve spontaneously. Firstly it is important to avoid irritating foods (coffee, tea, alcohol, pepper, mustard, vinegar...) or substances that can damage the gastric mucosa, such as anti-inflammatory drugs.
Drugs that can be used to prevent the occurrence of gastritis include antacids, sucralfate or H2 antagonists (that decrease acid secretion of the stomach). These drugs get to maintain a pH not excessively acid stomach, thus reducing the symptoms of gastritis and facilitating healing. However, this has a drawback, because reducing the acidity it favors that they can grow bacteria that produce other types of infections, such as pulmonary infections.
Gastritis improves as makes it the situation of the patient, disappearing lesions within 48 hours of the assault approximately. When appear complications gastrointestinal bleeding may be necessary for the realization of a gastroscopy, although most of the time bleeding yields spontaneously without the need for invasive testing. The surgery (which usually involves the removal of all the stomach) presents a very high mortality, and should only be used as a last resort.

Chronic gastritis, types, symptoms and treatment

It chronic gastritis is a chronic inflammation of the mucosa of the stomach which initially affects the mucosal surface and glandular areas, progressing to the glandular destruction (atrophy) and metaplasia (the intestinal metaplasia term denotes the conversion of the glands of the stomach in other similar to the of the small intestine). Thus, the superficial gastritis just becoming atrophic gastritis.

Types of chronic gastritis and symptoms

Chronic gastritis incidence rises with age, being more frequent in elderly than in young people. There are several types of chronic gastritis:
· Gastritis type A or fundal: is quite rare. In this type of gastritis, inflammation primarily affects body and the fundus, which are the upper portions and half of the stomach. It can cause pernicious anemia - a type of anemia caused by a deficiency of vitamin B12-, since one of the most common causes of pernicious anemia is the weakening of the wall of the stomach (atrophic gastritis). It is common to perform a blood test to these patients be observed blood antibodies against parietal stomach cells and intrinsic factor (a substance produced by the cells of the stomach that allows the absorption in the intestine of vitamin B12), suggesting that this disease has an autoimmune basis. This type of gastritis predisposing to an increased risk of developing cancer of the stomach (adenocarcinoma).
· Gastritis type B: is the most common. It affects the antrum (lower portion of the stomach, close to the pylorus) in young people, or all of the stomach in elderly. Appears in almost all of the 70-year-old population, and is caused by the chronic by bacteria infection H. pylori. This type of gastritis also predisposes to have a higher risk of cancer (mainly types adenocarcinoma intestinal type and MALT Lymphoma).
The diagnosis of chronic gastritis is also histologically (required obtaining a sample through gastroscopy), observed microscopically typical changes that occur in the mucosa of the stomach. It should be differential diagnosis with other diseases such as duodenal ulcer, hiatus hernia, chronic pancreatitis, or irritable bowel syndrome.

Treatment of chronic gastritis

Asymptomatic chronic gastritis do not need to be treated.
In patients with symptoms, treatment should be customized. He is recommended to avoid irritating and anti-inflammatory foods.
In produced atrophic gastritis by H. pylori is necessary to establish antibiotic treatment (the most commonly used pattern is the Association of Proton pump inhibitors - best known is - omeprazole, amoxicillin and clarithromycin, for 7 to 10 days.)
Pernicious anemia is needed the indefinite supply of vitamin B12.
Finally, if you have anemia by low levels of iron, iron supplements are used to recover deposits.

Special types of gastritis

There are some special gastritis types, notably disease Menetrier, which we will cite some features:

Menetrier disease

Ménétrier disease He is characterized because the folds that presents the stomach wall inside are markedly thickened (this can be seen by performing a gastroscopy). In this type of gastritis occurs a decrease of acid secretion and an increase in the secretion of mucus.
The most common symptoms of Menetrier disease are abdominal pain, weight loss, low levels of the protein albumin in blood, anemia and edema. There is an increased risk of ulcers and gastric cancer. The diagnosis is made by endoscopy and biopsy of the gastric mucosa.
Different types of drugs such as anticholinergics, steroids and H2 agonists, that reduce the loss of proteins are used to treat this type of gastritis. When involvement is very important, it may be necessary to carry out surgery (total removal of the stomach).
In addition to Menetrier disease, there are other special gastritis types:
· Gastritis by corrosive agents
· Infectious gastritis
· Eosinophilic gastritis
· Granulomatous gastritis
· Lymphocytic gastritis

Advised in patients with gastritis diet

In patients with gastritis following certain dietary guidelines, avoiding the consumption of foods and drinks that can worsen symptoms are recommended:
Foods recommended for gastritis: pasta, rice, white bread, vegetables cooked, without skin, potato, cooked fruit, lean meat, fish, egg white, milk, skimmed, water and drinks without caffeine products. Food must be prepared boiled, baked, grilled or broiled, avoiding fried foods.
Foods that should be taken in moderation: raw vegetables, garlic, onion, tomato, cucumber, pepper, products rich in fiber, fruits with skin, whole milk, cream and butter, cheeses, cured, sausages, chocolate, pastries, grape juice and citrus, carbonated beverages or comprehensive.
Foods that is best to avoid for gastritis: foods and beverages very hot or very cold, pepper, vinegar, ground pepper, mustard, coffee, tea, alcohol.
Finally, it is also recommended not ingest drugs that damage the gastric mucosa (aspirin, anti-inflammatory drugs) and avoid, to the extent possible, situations of stress, because it favors the acid secretion of the stomach.
Article contributed for educational purposes
Health and Wellness

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