Gastritis – which type do I have. Almost everyone has been hit on the stomach: stress and nutrition play a key role in the common disease gastritis. While the creeping chronic forms often go unnoticed for a long time, an acute gastric mucosa manifests itself very unpleasantly with sudden violent stomach pain, feeling of fullness, nausea, and belching. These symptoms can become chronic.
The stomach as a high-performance organ
The food eaten makes the first long stopover in the stomach. Here it is further crushed, kneaded and soaked in caustic stomach acid: 35 million glands in the gastric mucosa produce three liters of gastric juice every day in order to digest the food and kill germs in it. To prevent the stomach from “digesting itself” right away, specialized cells produce a viscous mucus that covers the gastric mucosa with a thin protective film. If this protective coat is damaged or too much gastric acid is present, the stomach lining can be damaged and become inflamed.
Possible triggers of acute gastritis
- too much nicotine, alcohol, coffee, spicy food
- Food poisoning
- psychological or physical stress (fear, stress, accidents)
- Infections with bacteria, viruses, molds
- Medicines (especially pain relievers such as acetylsalicylic acid, diclofenac, ibuprofen, especially in combination with cortisone, also non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, immunosuppressants)
Let’s see, Gastritis – which type do I have :
Causes of chronic inflammation of the stomach
The causes of chronic gastritis are of various types. Accordingly, doctors differentiate gastritis according to type A, B or C.
Type A gastritis: autoimmune disease. In this rather rare form, the body forms antibodies against certain cells of the gastric mucosa for reasons not yet understood. The so-called parietal cells actually produce stomach acid – they gradually die as a result of the autoimmune attack. Since the parietal cells also produce the so-called intrinsic factor, which controls the absorption of vitamin B 12 in the intestine, this form of gastritis also interferes with the vitamin intake from the food. The result is anemia (pernicious anemia).
Type B gastritis: bacterial infection. Type B is the most common form, mostly due to the Helicobacter pylori bacterium. About half of adults are infected with it, often without knowing it. The transmission routes have not yet been completely clarified, but the infection occurs frequently among people with close contact (for example in families). The germ has specially adapted to the rough living conditions in the stomach and can also nest there without causing any discomfort. However, it is considered a risk factor for stomach ulcers and malignant tumors.
Type C gastritis: chemical-toxic irritation. About every third to fourth inflammation of the stomach is caused by pain relievers or other chemical stimuli. If you frequently take painkillers or certain other medications, you may want to look for milder alternatives with your doctor. Other triggers for type C gastritis are excessive alcohol consumption or – very rarely – a so-called gall reflux: bile juice enters the stomach from the duodenum.
Symptoms often only appear in acute gastritis
Acute gastritis usually begins with a burning or feeling of pressure in the stomach area. Acid regurgitation, a bloated stomach, stomach or back pain can also be added, as well as nausea and vomiting. The upper abdomen is often sensitive to pressure.
Chronic inflammation of the stomach remains asymptomatic or causes only slight discomfort after meals, such as regurgitation or a feeling of fullness. With severe type A gastritis, the accompanying anemia can cause tiredness, shortness of breath and weakness.
Diagnosis is carried out by the specialist
The doctor will inquire about the nutritional and lifestyle habits, possible previous illnesses, and medications. An ultrasound scan of the upper abdomen can be useful to rule out gallstones.
The diagnosis is confirmed by gastroscopy (gastroscopy) at the specialist (gastroenterologist). For the examination, he pushes a thin, flexible tube (endoscope) through the esophagus into the stomach. It doesn’t hurt, but it’s a bit uncomfortable. The doctor can now view the inside of the stomach using a built-in camera. He takes small tissue samples from conspicuous areas for the fine tissue examination in the laboratory.
A Helicobacter infection can possibly be detected in the tissue sample. Other methods of detection are stool or breath tests.
If you suspect type A gastritis, a blood test is necessary to detect any antibodies.
When should you see a doctor?
Complaints such as abdominal pain, nausea or a feeling of fullness can be triggered by completely harmless digestive disorders, but can also be caused by an irritated stomach or serious illnesses. Therefore, you should see a doctor if stomach problems last longer than 14 days.
Treatment depends on the cause and form of gastritis.
Diet for gastritis: Eat gently
Acute gastritis usually disappears quickly if one spares the stomach. Everything that sparks inflammation must be reduced: especially stress and poor nutrition.
Too much, too fat, too spicy, but also too sweet food means hard work for the stomach. He reacts irritably, produces more acid, his muscles tense painfully. Coffee and alcohol also boost gastric acid production, as well as fried, breaded and smoked foods, sausages, delicatessen salads, and other finished products.
In the figurative sense, it is also important not to “eat everything in yourself”, but to be careful with yourself. The stomach and autonomic nervous system are closely related. With recurring stomach problems, it is important to create quiet zones and identify sources of stress in order to find ways out of the stress trap. Relaxing rituals are also helpful:
- Make an upper abdomen wrap with sour clover essence two to three times a week: a tablespoon of sour clover essence on a quarter-liter of water put the wrap on for 15 to 20 minutes.
- Integrate relaxation exercises such as autogenic training, meditation or massages into everyday life.
Be careful with acid blockers and other medications
In the long term – longer than two to four weeks – you should not use acid blockers (PPIs) without medical advice, even if side effects rarely occur. However, there are milder, naturopathic alternatives that can calm the stomach, such as teas and medicines with extracts from chamomile and deadly cherry.
Source: Dr. Viola Andresen