What Is Gastritis? It’s Symptoms And Causes
Gastritis is a condition that causes an inflammation or erosion of the stomach lining which is known as gastric mucosa. It can be a disease by itself or occur secondary to other diseases or conditions. It can be either acute (sudden onset) or chronic (long-standing).
Acute gastritis: Acute Gastritis occurs when the inflammation of the stomach lining occurs suddenly and is severe.
2. Chronic gastritis: Chronic Gastritis occurs when the condition develops gradually. An individual may have chronic gastritis for years with no clear symptoms.
How does Gastritis occur?
The stomach contains a layer of mucus which protects the stomach walls or lining from the acid and other fluids that are used to digest foods. When this mucus layer becomes damaged or weakened, the stomach wall or lining gets exposed to the acid causing it to become inflamed.
Symptoms of Gastritis:
Many symptoms characterize gastritis and they may vary from person to person. Most people with gastritis experience abdominal pain in the upper-centre part or the upper-left portion of the abdomen or the tummy.
The following are some of the most common symptoms of gastritis:
- Pallor, sweating, and rapid heartbeat.
- Feeling faint or short of breath
- Chest pain or severe stomach pain
- Vomiting large amounts of blood
- Bloody bowel movements
- Dark, sticky, very foul-smelling bowel movements
- A feeling of fullness in the stomach
- Sharp, stabbing or cutting pain
- Burning Pain in the left upper portion of the abdomen
Blood in your vomit or black stools are the severe signs of gastritis, suggesting that ulcers have formed in the stomach. If this occurs, it is necessary to seek immediate medical attention.
The symptoms of gastritis may come on suddenly and last for a short time (as in the case of acute gastritis) or they may persist for months, even years (as in the case of chronic gastritis).
Acute gastritis is rarely associated with complications. However, people with untreated chronic gastritis may experience serious health complications.
Erosive gastritis can cause peptic ulcers. These ulcers progressively degrade the surrounding tissues by widening and enlarging themselves. These ulcers may eventually cause internal bleeding, which can be a life-threatening condition if left untreated.
Other Possible Complications of Chronic Gastritis:
Untreated chronic gastritis may lead to:
- Anaemia due to iron deficiency
- Anaemia due to internal bleeding
- Vitamin B12 deficiency
- Abnormal stomach growths like polyps and tumours
What Causes Gastritis?
The following can irritate the lining of your stomach and lead to gastritis:
Excessive Alcohol Consumption: Gastritis can be a result of excessive alcohol consumption, as alcohol is a toxin which irritates the stomach lining leading to inflammation. If an individual consumes alcohol regularly, then gastritis is possible since the stomach does not get a chance to recover from the irritation to the lining. It can also lead to ulcer formation and bleeding if the habit continues.
Physical and Psychological Stress: Stress also causes gastritis and gastritis caused because of stress is known as stress-related erosive syndrome, stress-related mucosal disease or stress ulcer syndrome. It leads to mucosal erosion and surface hemorrhages in individuals who are under severe psychological or physical tension. Stress can also be from other diseases that the patient may be suffering from, especially if it requires admission in a hospital.
Excess use of Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs): Regular intake of NSAIDs (commonly used as painkillers) or consuming more than the recommended dosage puts you at risk of developing gastritis because they decrease the production of the stomach lining or gastric mucosa.
Older Age: Older age people have a higher risk of gastritis since the stomach lining tends to turn thin with growing age. They have a higher risk of having H. Pylori infections along with gastritis.
Autoimmune Alert: Autoimmune gastritis happens when our immune system mistakenly attacks healthy cells present in our body. This false alert generates an erosive response to stomach’s defensive wall which can cause gastritis in healthy people.
Bacterial Infection: The most common cause of Gastritis is Helicobacter Pylori (a type of bacteria) that remains in the mucous lining of the stomach. If left untreated, this bacterial infection can turn to ulcers and develop as stomach cancer.
What Can Trigger the Inflammation Of Stomach Lining?
The risk for developing gastritis depends on various conditions and lifestyle factors that can activate changes in the stomach lining. The following are the factors that can increase the chances of inflammation in the stomach lining:
Risk Factors For Gastritis Include:
- Bacterial infections, especially H. pylori infection
- Viral, fungal, or parasitic infections
- Caffeine intake
- Excessive alcohol intake
- Cocaine use
- Regular use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs)
- Daily consumption of medications such as prescription steroids, chemotherapy, potassium supplements, and iron
- Being an older adult
- Swallowing corrosives or foreign objects
- Autoimmune disorders such as Hashimoto’s disease or type 1 diabetes
- Vitamin B12 deficiency
- Crohn’s disease
- Bile reflux after undergoing stomach surgery
- A history of chronic vomiting
- Exposure to radiation because of radioactive treatment or contamination
- Food allergies
- Other infections such as tuberculosis and syphilis.
When To Seek Medical Attention?
Call your doctor if you are experiencing common signs of gastritis regularly.
See your doctor, if you experience:
- Blood in your vomit
- Rapid heartbeat
- Difficulty breathing or swallowing
- Extreme drowsiness
- Passing out suddenly
Gastritis is a common disease which most often responds rapidly to adequate treatment. However, always consult your doctor before proceeding on the treatment of gastritis to avoid unforeseen complications. A well-integrated treatment plan involving doctor’s advice, diet plan and treatment procedures as necessary will help you conquer gastritis successfully.
About The Hospital:
Since the inception of Premier Hospital in 1991 till today, we have grown to unprecedented levels, due to our excellence in medical sciences and healthcare. Premier Hospital is the creation of Dr Mahesh Marda and when it was first established, was only a small, 30-bed hospital facility. Back then, we provided only secondary care to patients, but that certainly has changed in the present landscape.
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