If you are at your middle age period, if you are overweight or obese, you frequently consume processed foods, and you are often under stress, you are under higher risk of developing gastritis. More than 2 million people in the US visit their doctor for gastritis symptoms every year.
Gastritis is an uncomfortable digestive problem that is caused by inflammation in the stomach and erosion of the lining of the stomach. Some people often call gastritis indigestion as well. Basically, indigestion and gastritis have similar symptoms. However, gastritis is much more severe, as it is a condition that shows someone has constant inflammation in the stomach.
Gastritis develops because of the weakened lining of the digestive tract, or more precisely, the mucus-lined barrier. This barrier keeps digestive acids and juices from damaging the stomach. However, when you experience constant inflammation, this barrier is damaged.
Symptoms of gastritis
Not all people experience the same or all gastritis symptoms. Some experience frequent pain the stomach, other experience bloated stomach, and some even burning in the stomach. Just for info, here are the common symptoms of gastritis:
– Burning sensation in or above the stomach
– Stomachaches or pain
– Stomach bloating
– Feeling nauseous
– Hiccups and burping
– Changes in bowel movement
– Loss of appetite and feeling full quickly
– Change in the appearance of stool (your poop is darker than usual)
As mentioned, symptoms affect everyone differently. The symptoms can range from mild and acute to chronic and severe.
Types of gastritis
To diagnose gastritis, you need to take an endoscopy test. This is basically a biopsy of the stomach lining. There are three common types of gastritis.
Acute gastritis come on suddenly and lasts for short period of time. People usually experience mild symptoms if the case is acute gastritis. However, some might experience severe symptoms as well. Symptoms come and go depending on your lifestyle and digestive habits.
Chronic gastritis, on the other hand, develops gradually. This type causes long-term complications. What is interesting is that some people might not even experience symptoms for several years. But when they test themselves, the tests show gastritis. Chronic gastritis causes gradual increase of inflammation, which means at the beginning you won’t notice any symptoms at all.
Atrophic gastritis is a form of chronic gastritis causing gradual loss of gastric glandular cells. They are replaced with fibrous and intestinal tissues. The risk of malabsorption and nutrient deficiency increase with each passing day. The more you wait with treatment, the higher the risk is for developing autoimmune disorder reactions.
How to treat gastritis?
The first thing you need to do if you feel pain in your stomach is talk to your doctor. You need a proper diagnosis to see whether it is gastritis or not. The good news is that if your gastritis is acute, you can easily make some changes and adjustments to treat it. Chronic gastritis can also be managed, but it requires medication in addition to the natural treatment.
Usually, doctors treat gastritis with changes to the diet, medication, and helping you understand how to manage stress. Here are some ways you can alter your lifestyle to treat gastritis.
Remove inflammation foods from your diet
The most important step in treating gastritis is to remove foods that cause irritation and inflammation. You do not want these foods irritating your stomach lining. That means avoiding processed and packaged foods, spicy foods, hot foods, and fried foods. Remember, a poor diet is a risk factor for gastritis.
Replace your processed foods with fresh foods like vegetables and fruit. Make sure to divide your meals into smaller amounts and more frequent meals. Instead of two big meals, consume five smaller meals. Never skip breakfast, and make sure you finish your last meal two hours before going to sleep.
An important note: track your symptoms to understand which foods trigger your gastritis. This includes caffeine, alcohol, tea, citrus fruits, dairy, tomatoes, and red pepper affect it. These are all common trigger foods.
Consume beneficial nutrients
Some of the symptoms of gastritis include bloating, vomiting, nutrient deficiency, dehydration, and anemia. It is important to prevent these symptoms by eating nutrient dense foods and sticking to a gastritis diet.
The diet includes fruits, veggies, high-quality proteins, and healthy fats that can manage inflammation. Stick to antioxidant foods as well, especially those rich in flavonoids. That includes garlic, nuts, onions, berries, legumes, sea vegetables, and grass-fed meat.
Eliminate over-the-counter medicine
People who chronically use over-the-counter medicine have higher risk of developing gastritis. These medicaments change your stomach acid. Some of the OTC drugs include aspirin, ibuprofen, painkillers, and naproxen.
That means using anti-inflammatory essential oils for chronic muscle or joint pain, not pain killers. For headaches, you can try taking magnesium supplements.
Exercise and stress management
A sedentary lifestyle and high amount of stress will increase your inflammation levels. If you are at risk of developing gastritis, or you suffer from the condition, make sure to up your exercise. Working out can calm you, and we said before that stress is a risk factor. Just 30 minutes per day will boost your immune functions, and prepare you better to fight off gastritis.
Causes of gastritis
Now that we know what are the symptoms and how to prevent gastritis, we need to learn the causes as well. Once you know the causes, you can easily avoid them.
– Infection caused by bacteria known as Helicobacter pylori. Low immune function allows the bacteria to cause problems
– Poor diet and nutrient deficiencies. Deficiency in vitamin B12, magnesium, calcium, selenium, and zinc leads to gastritis
– Excessive consumption of alcohol
– High levels of chronic stress
– Eating disorders
– Frequent usage of painkillers
– Pernicious anemia affecting the lining of the stomach
– Obesity and being overweight worsens the symptoms.