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Chronic Gastritis : What Is It, Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, and More

chronic gastritis

Chronic Gastritis?

chronic gastritis abdominal pain

Gastritis is a condition that is used to refer to inflammation of the stomach lining. It is a progressive condition that progresses gradually, step-wise. This means a patient suffering from chronic gastritis may experience worsening conditions over a few years or decades. 

Chronic Gastritis, in the majority of instances, is symptomatic of several conditions pertaining to the gastrointestinal tract. However, it may occur as a stand-alone condition that affects the body in several different ways.

 It is estimated that about half the population worldwide suffers from gastritis at some point in their life. The condition does not discriminate between children and adults and tends to start at an early age. Most likely, the condition starts in childhood and progresses with age.

Several conditions lead to gastritis, ranging from excessive drinking that causes an imbalance in the stomach to a bacterial infection. It is also suspected that the regular and excessive use of painkillers can lead to this condition. 

What are the Types of Chronic Gastritis?

type A,B,C chronic gastritis

Chronic gastritis can be classified based on the time for which the symptoms persist- acute or chronic. However, the widely accepted classification of Chronic gastritis depends on its causes. It is divided into 3 types based on the causes. The most common types of gastritis are as follows :

  • Type A or Autoimmune Gastritis 

A rare form of gastritis. This occurs when the body’s immune system mistakes healthy gut bacteria as harmful, it attacks the stomach wall and causes chronic gastritis. This form of gastritis is lifelong but is not erosive. 

  • Type B or Gastritis Caused by H. Pylori 

One of the most common types of gastritis is H. Pylori gastritis. H. Pylori is a bacteria that causes an infection in the stomach. This bacterial infection causes the inflammation of the stomach lining leading to chronic gastritis. Gastritis caused by this infection is lifelong and often one of the most serious forms of chronic gastritis because it leads to further complications such as peptic cancer. 

  • Type C or Reactive Gastritis 

This type of chronic gastritis is caused by prolonged exposure to substances that irritate the stomach lining. Substances like alcohol, tobacco, or pain relief medicines such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. A bad lifestyle and unhealthy eating habits can also contribute to this type of chronic gastritis. While this is a non-infectious form of the disease, it happens to be one of the most lethal. Type C gastritis often causes stomach cancer and other serious gastro digestive issues.

What are the Symptoms of Gastritis?

symptoms of chronic gastritis

The symptoms of gastritis are varied and differ from person to person in severity and frequency. However, there are a few common symptoms that may indicate that a patient is suffering from chronic gastritis- 

  • Abdominal pain 

Abdominal pain is the most common symptom of chronic gastritis. A person with gastritis may experience a sharp or stabbing sensation in their stomach or lower abdomen. If the condition is advanced and the pain is severe, the pain can also radiate to the back chronic and other gastritis patients need to understand. 

  • Loss of Appetite or feeling full

Often, the inflammation of the stomach lining slows down the process of digestion. Due to the imbalance in the stomach and the harm caused to the stomach lining, a patient may feel full even after a light meal. 

The pain may reduce appetite and result in other health conditions. 

  • Fatigue 

Due to slow digestion and inflamed stomach lining the body is unable to absorb sufficient nutrients from food. This results in tiredness and constant fatigue. Rarely, patients may experience fainting fits or other such problems. 

  • Vomiting blood 

Due to chronic indigestion, many people suffering from gastritis vomit regularly. If the lining is inflamed, blood may appear in the vomit depending on the severity of the condition. 

  • Bloody Stool 

The inflammation of the stomach lining may cause bleeding. Due to this one may observe blood in their stool when they are suffering from chronic gastritis. 

What Causes Chronic Gastritis? 

Causes of chronic gastritis

There are several different types of gastritis and the causes of gastritis are varied as well- 

  • Bacterial or Fungal Infection

One of the most common forms of gastritis is caused by a bacteria called H. Pylori. This bacteria affects the stomach and causes inflammation of the stomach lining, leading to chronic gastritis. Certain fungal infections also cause this disease. 

Pylori infections are more common in developing countries as compared to wealthy nations. However, H. Pylori infections are more common than we suspect. At least 33% of the population in the U.S.A suffers from this infection and experiences symptoms of chronic gastritis due to it. 

  • Stress

Chronic stress is also one of the leading causes of gastritis. Stress has been associated with several gastrointestinal problems such as indigestion, bloating, diarrhoea, or upset stomach. Long-term stress causes an imbalance and affects gut health adversely. This leads to chronic gastritis if it is not addressed. 

  • Irritants 

Certain substances like alcohol, tobacco, and drugs such as cocaine, marijuana, etc are irritants and tend to cause inflammation in the stomach lining. They disturb the natural balance in the stomach and lead to gastritis due to prolonged use. 

  • Old Age

The immune system weakens with old age. The weakened immune system cannot fight off all infections and may make the stomach more susceptible to inflammation. The stomach lining also tends to thin down with old age. This makes chronic gastritis more common in such cases. 

  • Other diseases 

In many instances, chronic gastritis results from the presence of other health conditions. Diabetes or kidney failure may result in gastritis. Gastritis is more often than not, a symptom of other underlying gastrointestinal conditions such as Crohn’s disease or inflammatory bowel syndrome. 

How is chronic gastritis diagnosed? 

Chronic gastritis can be diagnosed by a certified doctor. The doctor may suggest some tests to understand how the disease has progressed and better understand your medical condition. Some of the tests used to diagnose chronic gastritis are : 

  • Stool test – Testing a sample of your stool to detect the presence of H. Pylori 
  • Endoscopy- a scope is inserted into your digestive tract to determine the amount of inflammation
  • Blood test- a blood test is also a means to detect the presence of H. Pylori bacteria
  • X-Ray- barium is ingested in the liquid form so that it covers the digestive tract and then an X-Ray machine is used to observe the abnormalities. 

How to treat Chronic Gastritis?

  1. Medications 

medication for gastritis

Generally, three different types of medicines are prescribed to treat chronic gastritis. It is important for chronic gastritis patients to understand that medications are used to reverse the symptoms. This means that these allopathic medicines will numb the pain or the body’s response to the disease. It will not help cure the disease or tackle the root cause of the disease. It is highly likely that these medicines further weaken the immune system to battle its response to the symptoms- 

  • Antibiotics 

As mentioned earlier, one of the leading causes of chronic gastritis is H pylori bacterial infection. Antibiotics are used to treat this type of gastritis. Some of the most commonly prescribed antibiotics include clarithromycin and amoxicillin among others.

  • Proton Pump Inhibitors 

These medicines tend to inhibit the production of acid in the stomach. This will help reduce the irritation that acid can cause when it comes in contact with the exposed stomach walls in the absence of a healthy stomach lining. 

  • Acid Blockers

This type of medicine is used to reduce the production of acid in the stomach. Due to indigestion and the harm caused to the stomach lining, the acid produced naturally by the stomach tends to cause more irritation. Reducing the production of this acid may relieve some of the symptoms of chronic gastritis. 

  • Acid Neutralizers 

Commonly known as antacids, these medicines tend to neutralize the acid that has already been produced by the stomach. This helps alleviate the inflammation and irritation caused by the disease. 

acidifying vs alkalyzing food

 

  1. Gastritis Diet 

Like any other ailment, chronic gastritis is caused when the natural bodily balance is disturbed. The symptoms of chronic gastritis persist when the stomach is overburdened and unable to cope with the declining mucosal lining. Instead of using medicines that reduce the pain or counter the effect of your immune system, we suggest one should let the disease take its course. Oftentimes, the symptoms of these diseases act as indicators that the body is protecting itself against this unnatural change. 

plant based diet for chronic gastritis

To heal the problem from its root cause, one must make changes in their diet and their lifestyle- 

  • Avoid Meat

Contrary to popular belief, meat does more harm than it does good. Most people consume meat thinking it adds sufficient nutrients to the diet. However, meat is very difficult to digest and overburdens the digestive system. This results in further inflammation and unease. Not only this, meat takes longer to digest and tends to undergo decomposition within the digestive system. This increases acidity in the body. 

Avoid any kind of meat and poultry products to make sure you heal from chronic gastritis. 

  • Avoid animal products

Just like meat, dairy products are also difficult to digest and take up a lot of energy from the body. Not only this, this results in an increased load on the stomach and gut. Avoid lactose and other dairy products to heal from chronic gastritis naturally. 

  • Avoid Processed Food

Processed food and junk food are harmful to the body. They do not add any nutritive value and take longer to digest. Avoiding processed food or junk food will help you reduce the effects of chronic gastritis on the body. 

  • Eat a whole-food plant-based diet

Whole food plant-based food is rich in fiber and has all the necessary nutrients. It is easy to absorb and often helps the body to rejuvenate. Following this diet will help you heal from the disease and get rid of its painful causes. 

food to improve acid reflux

Prevention of Chronic Gastritis

They say prevention is better than cure, and the best way to prevent chronic gastritis is to lead a healthy life and eat good food. Here are some ways to prevent the onset of chronic gastritis- 

  • Eat healthy food which has a high fiber content. This will provide the body with all the necessary nutrients while helping your digestive system. 
  • Avoid irritants like tobacco, alcohol, or drugs- NSAIDs, alcohol and other substances tend to irritate the stomach and cause inflammation. Stay away from these substances to prevent chronic diseases such as gastritis.
  • Follow a healthy lifestyle- make sure you practice mindfulness and manage your stress levels by engaging in hobbies, getting enough sleep, and exercising. This will reduce your risk of developing chronic gastritis. 

Conclusion 

To conclude, gastritis is the inflammation of the stomach caused by an imbalance in the digestive tract. It is possible to treat this disease naturally without having to rely on medication. 

Restoring your bodily balance is as easy as eating the right diet and taking care of your body to counter the effect of the disease and its symptoms. It is very much possible to heal from this condition naturally with the right guidance.

 If you are looking for help to heal Gastritis naturally reach out to us at info@highcarbhealth.com for a free consultation. 

FAQ

Chronic gastritis can lead to thinning of the stomach walls over time. This may lead to stomach ulcers which cause a host of nutrient deficiencies. This can be debilitating, depending on the extent of the disease and deficiencies. The experience is oftentimes painful and can affect the normal quality of life Prolonged chronic gastritis can lead to stomach cancer. This has serious repercussions and can be fatal.

The symptoms and duration of the condition vary from person to person. However, the most common form of gastritis (Type A and Type B) often lasts a lifetime without the right treatment. One must follow a healthy diet, quit meat and dairy products, and avoid consuming other irritants for quick results.

Chronic gastritis leads to inflammation of the stomach lining and tends to cause indigestion along with other symptoms such as bloating, abdominal pain, etc. to relieve chronic gastritis pain, you should avoid food that is difficult to digest. Leaning on a healthy diet with raw fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes will help relieve chronic gastritis.

Chronic gastritis causes inflammation of the stomach lining and hence the stomach is unable to absorb sufficient nutrients through the stomach wall. This can cause nutrient deficiencies and does lead to anemia in many instances.

Chronic gastritis can be cured with the right diet and necessary lifestyle changes. This means eating raw fruits and vegetables, along with pulses, legumes, and whole grains. Maintaining a good sleep cycle, managing stress, and staying away from alcohol and oth4er irritants often cures the symptoms of chronic gastritis.

Shukul Kachwalla

Shukul Kachwalla is a Certified Wholistic Health & Natural Healing Counsellor from the Vibrant Health & Wealth Academy. Shukul has recovered from severe Hayfever, Acne, and Chronic Migraines and recommends a Whole Foods Plant based diet to people who want to improve their quality of life and experience optimal health.