By Apollo 24/7, Published on - 09 March 2021
Gastritis is a common condition that is known to affect around half of the global population. It becomes more common as people get older and is characterised by pain in the upper abdomen. It also involves episodes of stomach pain or discomfort, indigestion, bloating, nausea, and/or vomiting. The condition is generally mild and goes away without causing problems. However, if not addressed properly, gastritis can last a long time and may lead to complications such as stomach ulcers, stomach bleeding, and polyps (small outgrowths). The best way to treat gastritis is by making a few simple and effective lifestyle changes.
The term ‘gastritis’ is used to describe a group of conditions in which the protective lining of the stomach is inflamed or swollen. The stomach produces acids (digestive juices) that are essential for the process of digestion. These acids are strong and corrosive. But, the stomach is protected from these acids by a mucous membrane lining called the gastric mucosa. However, a few factors can weaken or cause injury to this protective stomach lining. This allows the acids to damage the gastric mucosa and cause inflammation that is called gastritis.
Gastritis is classified into two types - acute and chronic.
Acute gastritis – This type of gastritis occurs suddenly and lasts for a short period of about 2-10 days. The pain associated with this condition is sharp and severe. However, acute gastritis resolves completely without causing any complications. Acute gastritis can either be erosive or non-erosive. In the former, the lining of the stomach gets eroded while in the latter, there is no erosion of the stomach lining.
Chronic gastritis – This type appears slowly over a long period, and the symptoms may not even be noticeable. Chronic gastritis may last for years or throughout a person’s life if left untreated. Also, the pain felt is dull and long-lasting. Severe chronic gastritis may not be curable and involves treatment that focuses on managing the symptoms.
Gastritis may be the result of several causes. These include:
The symptoms of gastritis may not always be noticeable. However, the most common signs and symptoms include:
Treatment of gastritis depends on the underlying cause and the severity of the symptoms.
A few lifestyle changes can help manage gastritis effectively.
If the cause of gastritis is not known or the symptoms are severe and do not subside in a few days, one should consult the doctor to help make a diagnosis. Identifying the underlying cause is the key to treating and managing gastritis. Early and effective treatment with medications, simple lifestyle and dietary changes help prevent the complications of gastritis. Long-term lifestyle modifications are crucial in preventing gastritis episodes in the future. It may not be possible to prevent all infections that cause gastritis. However, by maintaining good personal and food hygiene, one can decrease the risk of developing gastritis from infectious agents.
Talk to a gastroenterologist if you have any questions related to digestive health.
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