When the stomach lining or mucosa is inflamed, it is known as gastritis. The lining of the stomach has got special cells that are responsible for producing acids and enzymes. These acids and enzymes are responsible for breaking down of food so that they could be digested well. The stomach lining has got mucus that protects the lining of the stomach from acid. Due to inflammation of the stomach lining, less acid, mucus and enzymes are produced.

Types of gastritis

The gastritis may be acute and it could be chronic. When there is sudden inflammation of the stomach lining, it is the acute case of gastritis. The inflammation that is there for long period of time is called chronic gastritis. There is another type of gastritis that is called erosive gastritis. This may not cause inflammation in the stomach lining but can damage the stomach lining and thus causes bleeding, ulcers and erosions. This is also of two types-chronic and acute.

Causes of Gastritis

In most of the cases the chronic gastritis (non-erosive) gets caused by Helicobacter pylori or H.pyroli. This is the bacteria that infect the stomach lining. These bacteria can get transmitted from one person to the other. The bacteria get transmitted through contaminated water or water especially where the sanitation condition is poor.

The erosive gastritis (chronic and acute both) could be caused when anti inflammatory drugs of non-steroidal nature are taken for prolonged period e.g. Aspirin, ibuprofen etc. Erosive gastritis could also be caused by taking alcohol, drugs and exposure to radiation. At times, acute erosive gastritis could be caused due to surgery, critical illness, severe burns or traumatic injuries. Such type of gastritis is known as stress gastritis.

Some other causes of gastritis are

  • Infections by virus, fungus, parasites and bacteria(bacteria other than H.pyroli)
  • Digestive disorder e.g.- Crohn’s disease , pernicious anemia
  • Some autoimmune disorders

Symptoms of Gastritis

In many, there is no visible symptom of gastritis and in some the symptoms are

  • Discomfort or pain in the abdomen
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

Such symptoms are known as dyspepsia

Ulcers are caused by erosive gastritis and because of the erosion in the stomach lining bleeding occurs.

The symptoms of bleeding in the stomach are-

  • Blood vomiting
  • Black stools
  • Red blood in the stools

Chronic gastritis can increase the risks of peptic ulcers, gastric tumors (both benign and malignant type), and gastric polyps.

Treatment of gastritis

Medicines are used to give comfort to the patients. These are antacids. Antacids can relieve the patients from heartburn or other symptoms of dyspepsia by neutralizing the acid in the stomach. There are certain side effects of these drugs- diarrhea, constipation. Histamine 2 blockers are also given to decrease the production of acids. Proton pimp inhibitors e.g. omeprazole, lansoprazole etc are also given to decrease acid production.

Diet for gastritis

Patients of gastritis should take meals on regular basis to neutralize the acid. Milk and other dairy products should be avoided as they can trigger acid formation. The diet should contain adequate fiber and low acid food, fresh fruit, whole grain, lean meat, fish etc should be there in the diet. Enough water should be taken to minimize acid and alcohol and spicy food should be strictly avoided.