It is an inflammation or irritation of the stomach lining that causes symptoms including pain, nausea, vomiting, and inappropriate feelings of fullness.
It can be caused by the growth of Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) bacteria , as well as by regular intake of alcohol or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as pain relievers and aspirin.
There are several treatments and management strategies. Most cases of acute gastritis have a short recovery time.
Acute gastritis vs. chronicle
Acute gastritis is similar to chronic gastritis, but it occurs more suddenly.
Symptoms and pain caused by acute gastritis come on quickly, but are usually brief, while chronic gastritis causes stronger and longer-lasting pain.
Acute gastritis improves with treatment, but chronic gastritis can be linked to more serious conditions, such as peptic ulcers, Crohn’s disease, or stomach cancer .
Acute gastritis vs. stomach flu
Both acute and chronic gastritis directly affect the stomach and cause nausea and vomiting. Gastroenteritis affects both the stomach and intestines and can also cause diarrhea.
When the stomach’s protective lining is damaged, gastric acids can irritate the stomach lining.
This coating is often damaged by repeated use of medications such as aspirin and excessive alcohol consumption.
The bacteria that cause peptic ulcers can also cause acute gastritis, although many people carry the bacteria in the stomach without experiencing symptoms of gastritis.
Other causes may be related to traumatic stomach injuries, burns, or major surgery.
Although less common, acute gastritis can also be caused by digestive problems such as Crohn’s disease, viral infections, kidney failure, or bile reflux.
However, gastritis caused by autoimmune diseases, such as Crohn’s disease, tends to be chronic (long-lasting), rather than acute.
A variety of health and lifestyle factors increase the risk of developing acute gastritis.
Underlying health problems include a particular vulnerability to H. pylori infection, possibly related to genetic factors.
On the other hand, being 60 years of age or older increases the risk of developing the disease, since older people have a thinner stomach lining.
People with pernicious anemia, vitamin B12 deficiency, HIV / AIDS, or parasitic infections are also at risk of developing acute gastritis.
Regular use of pain relievers such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen can change the composition of the stomach lining, leaving it less protected and causing acute gastritis.
Excessive alcohol consumption is a common risk factor, as is smoking or eating spicy foods.
Children are less likely than adults to develop acute gastritis.
Other factors that increase the risk of developing acute gastritis are:
- Submission to cortisone therapy.
- The pregnancy.
Symptoms of acute gastritis can include:
- Recurring nausea.
- Abdominal pain.
- Burning sensation in the stomach.
- Bloody stools related to upper gastrointestinal bleeding.
- Upset in the upper part of the stomach or abdomen.
- Feeling of being full too quickly after eating.
- I vomit blood.
- Acute gastritis can occur with or without bleeding.
While many cases of acute gastritis can be treated effectively at home, it is necessary to see a doctor, especially with the appearance of blood in the vomit or stool.
It is necessary for a doctor to evaluate the patient’s lifestyle, including the use of non-steroidal medications and antacids, as well as the consumption of alcohol and perform a physical examination of the abdomen.
Depending on these factors, several tests can be used for diagnosis:
- Blood test for anemia.
- Stool test for the presence of blood.
- Tests for H. pylori which may include blood, stool, or breath tests.
As well as more in-depth exams such as the following:
EGD (esophagogastroduodenoscopy) or gastroscopy: a visual inspection of the stomach lining, performed by passing an endoscope, down the throat and into the esophagus, stomach, and upper intestine.
The doctor may examine the lining of the stomach for signs of inflammation and take a small tissue sample (biopsy) for further testing.
Biopsy is an additional method to detect H. pylori. An EGD is more likely to be used if the results of other tests are unusual, or if symptoms are extreme and there is weight loss.
Upper GI series – Also called a barium swallow, this test creates a series of X-rays of the GI tract.
It consists of ingesting a liquid that contains barium, which lines the inside of the stomach, esophagus and small intestine so that the organs, as well as an ulcer or other abnormality, are more visible by X-rays.
Treatment of acute gastritis
Treatment of acute gastritis varies depending on the cause of the irritation.
A doctor will design a treatment taking into account factors such as the patient’s age, general health, the severity of symptoms, and the cause of the inflammation.
Most cases of acute gastritis resolve within a few days or weeks, usually through adjusting the diet and eliminating irritants.
However, both over-the-counter and prescription drugs can also be used.
Diet for acute gastritis and home remedies
People with acute gastritis should avoid irritating pain relievers and anti-inflammatory medications. Patients who drink alcohol or smoke will be advised to stop.
After recovery, they may be able to resume drinking small amounts of alcohol.
It is also advisable to stop eating things that irritate the stomach, such as fatty, spicy or acidic foods. Some people cut down on foods that contain lactose or gluten.
Other lifestyle changes that can help include: eating smaller and more frequent amounts of food instead of large amounts, reducing weight, and managing stress.
Some research suggests that herbal supplements like cloves, slippery elm, licorice, wild indigo, and myrrh can improve digestive health.
Most acute gastritis cases will respond to these treatments within a few days, without the need for further medication.
Medicines for acute gastritis
Patients can use over-the-counter antacids to neutralize the acid and reduce pain. However, side effects can include constipation and diarrhea.
Prescription medications that can treat acute gastritis include histamine blockers, such as cimetidine, as well as proton pump inhibitors such as omeprazole and esomeprazole.
If H. pylori infection is the cause of acute gastritis, antibiotics such as amoxicillin, clarithromycin, and tetracycline can be given along with the above medications.
However, these are not appropriate for children under the age of 12.
If a person is affected by anemia or vitamin B12 deficiency, injections of that vitamin may be a solution.
Although gastritis has different causes, some strategies can help prevent it, such as:
- Avoid smoking.
- Drink moderately and within the recommended guidelines.
- Limit the consumption of irritating foods.