Gastritis is the inflammation, irritation, and erosion of the lining of the stomach. For most people, this painful condition is not serious and improves quickly with several medications and treatments but if left untreated, it can impose a serious health problem like stomach cancer.
The stomach lining contains glands that produce stomach acid and an enzyme called pepsin. It is also coated with a thick layer of mucus to help protect the stomach lining from the extremely corrosive stomach acid.
When the stomach lining is inflamed, it produces less mucus and other substances that normally help to protect it from stomach acid, which can lead to gastritis.
Gastritis may be acute or chronic:
- Acute gastritis: Starts suddenly and last for a short time.
- Chronic gastritis: A long-lasting condition which can last years or a lifetime if left untreated.
Gastritis can be erosive or non-erosive:
- Erosive gastritis causes the stomach lining to wear away, causing erosions (shallow breaks in the stomach lining) or ulcers (deep sores in the stomach lining).
- Non-erosive gastritis is when the stomach lining is inflamed but there are no erosions or ulcers in the stomach lining.
Common factors of gastritis:
- Bile reflux: A backflow of bile into the stomach from the bile tract, Bile reflux can occur in people who have had part of their stomach removed
- Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection where the bacteria is transmitted through contaminated water, food, or eating utensils
- Taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen and aspirin.
- Alcohol consumption
- Using cocaine
- Exposure to radiation or having radiation treatments
- Stress caused by traumatic injuries, critical illness, severe burns, or major surgery
- Allergies to food such as cow’s milk and soy
- Weak immune system
- Crohn’s disease which causes inflammation and irritation of any part of the gastrointestinal tract
- Sarcoidosis, a type of diseases that causes prolonged inflammation that will never go away
- Irregular meal timing
Symptoms of gastritis may differ between individuals and many people do not develop symptoms. However, the most common symptoms include:
- Abdominal bloating
It occurs when the stomach is filled with air or gas. Most people describe bloating as feeling full, tight or swollen in the abdomen.
2. Upper abdominal pain
If you suffer from pain in the upper abdominal area (between the navel and the chest), you might be suffering from gastritis.
Heartburn refers to a burning feeling that can be caused by stomach acid or the inflammation of the stomach lining.
Another symptom of gastric is vomiting. If there is red blood in your vomit, seek a doctor immediately.
Gastritis can cause the affected person to feel tired and weak as the body has to endure pain.
Seek a professional help if you suffer from gastritis as according to doctors, 20% of people who have untreated symptoms of gastritis may develop stomach ulcer after five years which can lead to stomach cancer. Thus, if you suffer from this health condition, it will be best for you to get treatments as soon as possible.
Sources: Gastritis | NIDDK