Gastritis means inflammation or irritation of the stomach lining. It is quite a common condition with a number of potential causes. Most people experience symptoms including indigestion, bloating, upper abdominal discomfort or pain, heartburn or a feeling of fullness after eating that lasts a long time. One common cause of gastritis is infection with the bacteria Helicobactor pylori. Everyone who experiences the symptoms above should be tested. We must also consider dietary and lifestyle factors which may be contributing to the condition.

Types of gastritis

  • Acute Gastritis. This is a short term bout of stomach inflammation. It can be caused by infection, a sudden change in diet or high alcohol intake.  The pain experienced can be severe, feeling very sharp, but is likely to only last a few days. Acute gastritis can result in ulcers on the lining of the stomach, and bleeding).
  • Chronic gastritis. This is a long term condition and is more likely to occur with age. The stomach lining becomes thinner as you get older, making it more at risk of getting inflamed. Chronic gastritis can be erosive if there are physical changes to the stomach.
  • Autoimmune gastritis. This occurs when the body produces antibodies against the healthy cells of your stomach. This can also affect a substance called intrinsic factor, which is required for vitamin B12 absorption, thus can lead to deficiency of this vitamin.
  • Atrophic gastritis. This can occur after many years of gastritis.  Glandular cells of the stomach can become damaged beyond repair. The cells of the stomach secrete a number of important digestive juices and enzymes, so your digestion is likely to be impaired if these are affected. Taking a Digestive Enzymes supplement helps to correct a deficiency.

An endoscopy can be performed to detect inflammation in the stomach. A blood, breath or stool test may be required to check for the presence of the bacteria Helicobacter pylori.

What symptoms does gastritis cause?

Symptoms can vary in severity depending on if it’s acute or chronic, and what is causing it. Usually acute gastritis causes more pronounced symptoms, whereas in chronic cases they are generally milder.

  • Loss of appetite It is also typical to feel full after only a very small amount of food.
  • Indigestion Experiencing discomfort after meals.
  • Nausea or vomiting Eating relieves nausea for some people but makes others worse.
  • Blood in vomit or in stools If inflammation has caused the stomach to bleed, this can appear in vomit. Black, tarry stools may also indicate bleeding from the stomach.
  • Stomach pain Pain is common and can vary in severity.

Causes of gastritis

    • Infection with Helicobacter pylori This can cause the stomach lining to become irritated, and it inhibits production of hydrochloric acid by the stomach.
    • Physical injury to the stomach May be due to an accident, illness or surgery.
    • Diet – Alcohol can be an irritant to the stomach. Food sensitivity may be to blame. Common culprits include dairy products, wheat, gluten, soy and corn.
    • Medication NSAIDs such aspirin, naproxen and ibuprofen block protective mechanisms in the stomach to prevent stomach acid attacking the lining. This is a very common and overlooked cause of gastritis, particularly in older people.
    • Autoimmune disease The immune system can attack cells lining the stomach, causing injury and inflammation.

Natural tips and solutions

  • Coffee and cigarettes can both compromise the protective lining of the stomach, increasing the risk of ulceration. Minimize or avoid them.
  • Drinking soda increases the risk of ulcers in susceptible people. This is because of the sugar and acids.
  • Dairy products must be avoided. Many people drink milk as a way of soothing the burning of an inflamed stomach. Milk temporarily soothes, but it causes a rebound rise in acid production and inflammation, therefore guarantees you’ll suffer the same discomfort again later.
  • Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) must be addressed. This is where bacteria that normally reside in the large intestine travel upwards into the small intestine and create havoc. An overgrowth of microbes here can result in fermentation of carbohydrates in the small intestine. The microbes release gases that travel upwards into the stomach and alter the pH of the stomach, making the stomach a more favorable environment for Helicobacter pylori. Overcoming SIBO involves restoring healthy digestive function and reducing the intake of fermentable carbohydrates in the diet. BactoClear capsules help kill harmful bugs in the small intestine.
  • Glutamine is healing and soothing to the lining of the entire gastrointestinal tract. It can offer great symptom relief and also helps to heal inflamed tissue. You can find glutamine in Ultimate Gut Health Powder.
  • Vitamin C and selenium will help to improve tissue healing and these nutrients are lacking in most people’s diets.

The above statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease.