What is Acute Gastritis?
Acute gastritis is one of the most common and most overlooked health conditions in the world. Every year, acute gastritis affects at least 56000 people around the globe. Gastritis is a condition where the stomach’s mucosal lining undergoes inflammatory change.
Acute gastritis is usually an incident of inflammation that prompts the white blood cells to act on the stomach lining. It can be caused by an infection or an unhealthy lifestyle. The symptoms of acute gastritis occur suddenly unlike chronic gastritis which develops over time. It is reactive and tends to be more erosive than chronic gastritis is.
Acute gastritis often occurs late in the later stages of life, due to the weakening of the digestive tract. Usually, gastritis is a sign of underlying health conditions. However, it is often reactive and caused by sudden and unhealthy changes in diet or the consumption of irritants.
What are the Types of Acute Gastritis?
There are different types of acute gastritis. They are classified based on the causes that lead to the condition. The types of gastritis are as follows-
- Acute Gastritis caused by Infection
One of the most common causes of acute gastritis happens to be viral infections. Due to different bacteria and viruses that cause stomach infection, one may experience the symptoms of gastritis. Stomach infections can be treated within a few days with the right medication.
- Acute Gastritis caused by Irritants
Certain foods tend to increase the acidic levels of the stomach and cause the erosion of the mucosal lining that protects the stomach wall. They are known as irritants because of the effect they have on the gastrointestinal tract. The list of irritants that cause acute gastritis are- coffee, regular use of NSAIDs or painkillers, smoking, and excessive stress are some of the most potent irritants and cause acute gastritis.
- Food Allergies
Many people suffer from lactose intolerance and other food allergies. These allergies may be mild and may not show other symptoms that demand immediate medical attention but tend to cause acute gastritis. Food allergies may vary from person to person.
If the mucosal lining of the stomach has been harmed due to some injury or burn, you may experience the symptoms of acute gastritis. These symptoms will eventually go away once the injury is healed.
What are the symptoms of Acute Gastritis?
Acute gastritis can be associated with several different symptoms. These symptoms and their severity may vary from person to person. Here are some of the most commonly recognized symptoms of acute gastritis :
- Reduced Appetite
Acute gastritis often causes inflammation of the inner wall of the stomach. This makes it more difficult to digest food and causes a decrease in appetite.
Due to the inflammation of the stomach lining, the body is not able to break down food and absorb essential nutrients. This results in indigestion.
As acute gastritis causes indigestion, most of the food you ingest burdens the stomach, resulting in an urge to vomit.
- Black stools
Severe indigestion may lead to an imbalance in the gastrointestinal tract and often leads to black stool.
- Feeling full or pain in the upper abdomen
Due to inflammation caused by acute gastritis, the stomach is unable to digest food properly. Hence the stomach is overworked and burdened. This causes a feeling of fullness, even after a light meal, and may cause upper abdominal pain in some cases.
What Causes Acute Gastritis?
Several factors can lead to acute gastritis. Acute gastritis is often caused by external factors such as bacterial infection, ingestion of irritants, or is caused by other health conditions such as food poisoning. Here are some of the leading causes of Acute Gastritis :
- Consumption of Irritants
Spicy foods, coffee, and other such foods cause an increase in acidic levels in the stomach, this results in erosion of the musical lining and harms the stomach walls. Other irritants also cause acute gastritis such as smoking, excessive drinking, and frequent use of painkillers or NSAIDs.
- Bacterial or Viral Infection
Acute gastritis is often caused by a bacterial or viral infection of the stomach. These infections cause an imbalance in the stomach and lead to the symptoms of acute gastritis.
- Bile Reflux
A chemical cause of acute gastritis is bile reflux. Due to an imbalance in the gastrointestinal tract, bile may travel from the gut to the stomach and cause the corrosion of the stomach lining. This leads to acute gastritis.
- Food Allergies
Many food allergies go undiagnosed if they are mild. However, many food allergies or intolerance will cause an imbalance in the gastrointestinal tract and lead to acute gastritis.
- Irregular Oxygen Supply
One of the most ignored and important causes of gastritis is irregular breathing. A bad posture or breathing habits may lead to a lack of oxygen in the stomach. This may be caused by other factors that lead to reduced blood volume such as cocaine use, dehydration, sepsis, or severe burns.
How to diagnose Acute Gastritis?
The symptoms of acute gastritis are very similar to other gastrointestinal conditions such as peptic ulcers, a stomach infection, or gallstones. Acute gastritis is often an indication of other serious health conditions such as Crohn’s disease and should be diagnosed by a health professional to get the most accurate answers.
The diagnosis may take place through a series of pathological tests. The most commonly prescribed test for the detection of acute gastritis are-
- A blood test or Complete Blood Count
This helps determine the number of white blood cells in the body and helps detect the presence of any bacteria or virus.
- Stool Analysis
It determines the presence of harmful bacteria or blood in your stool to determine if you are suffering from an infection that is causing acute gastritis.
Endoscopy is a medical procedure where a tube with a camera is inserted into the body through the oesophagus. It helps determine how much damage has been caused to the stomach lining and the extent that the condition has progressed.
- Gastric Tissue Biopsy
In severe cases, tissue from the gastrointestinal tract is removed and observed to determine the condition and what treatment to follow.
An X-ray can help determine if there is any structural damage to the digestive tract. This type of x-ray is usually carried out after the patient ingests a liquid form of medical barium, that highlights the irregularities in the stomach wall.
How to Treat Acute Gastritis?
Acute gastritis is usually a short-term condition that subsides within 2-10 days. It is treated with a range of medicines depending on the root cause of the condition. Here are some of the most commonly prescribed medicines to cure acute gastritis :
If acute gastritis has been caused by the presence of a bacteria or virus, antibiotics are prescribed to tackle the symptoms of the condition. The type of antibiotic depends on the diagnosis and varies widely.
Antacids tend to tackle the effect of excessive acid produced by the stomach and hence help fight the inflammation of the stomach lining.
- Proton-pump inhibitor
Proton-pump inhibitors reduce the amount of acid produced by the stomach. This results in an overall reduction in stomach inflammation.
- Antidiarrheal Drugs
If you are experiencing symptoms like diarrhoea, your doctor may prescribe antidiarrheal drugs to fight these symptoms temporarily.
Acute Gastritis Diet
Acute Gastritis is caused by some or the other imbalance in the gastrointestinal tract. This imbalance results in an increased production of stomach acid, which in turn erodes the stomach lining and harms the stomach walls.
You can heal yourself from acute gastritis if you manage to restore the imbalance in your digestive tract. This imbalance is caused by several different factors. Some of these factors are listed below-
- Overeating or Not Eating Enough
If you tend to binge eat or overeat, the stomach tends to produce more acid in order to digest your meal. When you overeat, your body is still trying to digest the last meal by the time you eat another. This results in an imbalance that leads to acute gastritis.
- Lack of Oxygen in the Stomach
If there is an irregular supply of blood to the gastrointestinal organs such as dehydration, drug use, improper breathing, and bad posture.
- Frequent Consumption of Irritants
Certain foods like coffee, meats, processed, or spicy food tend to aggravate acute gastritis by increasing the amount of acid produced by the stomach. This worsens the inflammation and tends to cause acute gastritis.
Since the cause of gastrointestinal imbalance is one of these, the solutions should aim to tackle these problems as well. The best diet for acute gastritis is the one that provides sufficient nutrients, is easy to digest, contains lots of fiber, and does not irritate the stomach lining.
A whole-food plant-based diet is the best way to naturally cure acute gastritis. A whole food plant-based diet contains fruits, vegetables, pulses, and legumes that are rich sources of necessary nutrients and tend to contain a high amount of fiber which helps bowel movement and improve digestive health.
Make sure to avoid all kinds of irritants such as coffee, and spicy food. It is important to avoid food that is difficult to digest as well. This includes processed food, junk food, meat, and dairy products as well. These foods take longer to digest and tend to burden the digestive system during recovery.
In fact, animal products tend to undergo decomposition and putrefaction inside the digestive tract and hence contribute significantly to acute gastritis inflammation. Avoiding animal products is the best way to naturally heal acute gastritis.
Prevention of Acute Gastritis
Like they say- prevention is better than cure. While acute gastritis may last for a short period, it tends to reoccur and cause more harm to the stomach lining and digestive system overall. You can prevent acute gastritis by following a good diet and exercising. Acute gastritis is also caused by stress and lack of sleep. You must get enough exercise and rest.
The best way to prevent acute gastritis is to take care of your overall health and eat wisely.
Every ailment is caused by external factors that tend to disrupt the natural balance of the body. Making sure that you maintain this healthy balance is essential to prevent acute gastritis. It is also possible to reverse the effects of acute gastritis by restoring this balance. Eating a whole food plant-based diet and practicing mindfulness can go a long way in curing the condition without any medicines.
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Depending on the cause, acute gastritis may take 2 to 10 days to completely heal. However, it may take longer if you continue to consume irritants, stress, or continue getting irregular sleep.
Yes. acute gastritis is very common and tends to affect at least 25 million people every year. The causes and severity of the condition may vary from person to person.
In severe instances, acute gastritis causes heartburn due to excessive amounts of acid in the. Acid reflux results in chest pain for many patients. Eating alkalizing food (more fruits and vegetables) will help ease this pain.
Acute gastritis can cause fever when the condition is caused by an infection. The body’s immune system is activated and tends to fight the infection, resulting in a fever.
Acute gastritis is most commonly caused by the continued consumption of harmful irritants that disturb the natural balance of the body’s digestive system.