Gastritis is the acute or chronic inflammation of the lining of the stomach. It can occur in short bouts, or over prolonged periods of time. Usually, gastritis is mild, and will resolve itself without treatment.
Often, people who have developed gastritis as the result of a bacterial infection do not have any symptoms. However, with more aggressive cases of gastritis, upper abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting, burping, bloating, and feeling full shortly after you start eating, are all common symptoms.
Gastritis is usually caused by Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori), spiral-shaped bacteria in the digestive tract. Other causes include:
- Extreme consumption of cocaine or alcohol
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as aspirin or ibuprofen
- Chronic stress
- An autoimmune reaction
Treatment for gastritis focuses on decreasing the volume of acid in the stomach, as this will allow the stomach lining more time to heal. Once you are diagnosed with gastritis, you will be prescribed medicines such as antacids, H2 blockers or proton pump inhibitors, which control the acid levels in the stomach.
If your gastritis has been caused by NSAIDs, it is advisable that you stop using these and look for alternative pain management treatments.
It is possible to minimise and treat the symptoms of gastritis through lifestyle adjustments. Everyone reacts differently to certain foods, so it is important to be mindful of which foods you are eating and how your body is reacting to them.
Spicy and high-fat foods, citrus fruits and drinks, chocolate, coffee and alcohol may aggravate symptoms, so should largely be avoided. On the other hand, vegetables, low-fat dairy, pasta, rice, lean meats, fish and non-citrus fruits should be consumed.