Everyone has had a stomach ache in their lives, or even heartburn. But what is gastritis and is it a cause for concern?
What is Gastritis?
Gastritis is more than just the occasional heartburn, which most of us have experienced. According to the Cleveland Clinic:
“A condition that inflames the stomach lining (the mucosa), causing belly pain, indigestion (dyspepsia), bloating and nausea. It can lead to other problems. Gastritis can come on suddenly (acute) or gradually (chronic). Medications and dietary changes can reduce stomach acid and ease gastritis symptoms. Your stomach has a protective lining of mucus called the mucosa. This lining protects your stomach from the strong stomach acid that digests food. When something damages or weakens this protective lining, the mucosa becomes inflamed, causing gastritis. A type of bacteria called Helicobacter pylori is the most common bacterial cause…”
MYTH: Spicy food or an overall spicy diet does not cause ulcers or other stomach conditions. But spicy foods in your diet can aggravate already existing stomach conditions. Also, some prescription medication can set up a stomach environment where these conditions can begin.
The most common symptoms are:
- Bloating/Feeling full when you haven’t eaten
- Hiccups and belching
- Stomach pain or discomfort/pressure
Treatment can vary according to the severity of your condition. While proton pump inhibitors will likely be prescribed to reduce the amount of acid in your stomach, the cause of the gastritis is also important.
In the case that it is determines that the Helicobacter pylori is responsible, you may have to take antibiotics to help kill of the bacteria.
If your gastritis has been caused or aggravated by one of your prescription medications, then speak with your doctor about other options that do not inflame the stomach lining.
If you’ve been diagnosed, follow an anti-inflammatory diet, avoiding foods such as recommended by HealthLine:
“As a general rule, the following foods tend to be inflammatory to the mucous membrane that lines your stomach:
- heavily processed and preserved foods
- foods with high gluten content
- foods that are acidic, dairy foods
- foods high in sugar”
Just pushing through stomach discomfort is not a normal part of living or aging. If you have been having stomach issues or have experienced more than one of the above symptoms, please speak with your doctor. There are a number of ways your healthcare provider can diagnose and help you to treat various stomach conditions, including gastritis.
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