Gastritis Causes and Treatment
Strictly speaking, the term gastritis means inflammation of the stomach. In medical usage, it often refers to any minor illness of the stomach. Gastritis may cause intermittent symptoms for a few hours or days, or it may be the early stages of a peptic ulcer that will cause constant discomfort for weeks or months. The symptoms of gastritis include nausea (feeling of wanting to vomit), vomiting, loss of appetite, a feeling of fullness, upper abdominal discomfort or pain, and possibly indigestion.
Gastritis may be caused by many factors including stress, gut infections, drugs (particularly aspirin and anti-arthritis drugs), alcohol excess, overindulgence in food, stomach cancer and allergies. A formal diagnosis may be made after a gastroscopic examination of the stomach, when the inflamed red stomach lining is seen through a flexible tube that is passed through the mouth and into the stomach. Because of the risk of cancer or other serious disease, anyone with persistent gastritis, or who vomits blood, must have a gastroscopic examination.
The treatment of gastritis will depend upon the cause. If stress is responsible, removing the source of the stress is the obvious treatment, but this is usually far easier said than done. As a result, milk antacids or anti-ulcer drugs are given regularly, or when symptoms occur, to control the condition. Sometimes reassurance that the stomach pains are not serious is enough to give the patient confidence to deal with the problem without any medical assistance. Anti-anxiety drugs may be used on a short-term basis, but may cause dependency if used routinely for long periods.
Drug-induced gastritis will require the removal of the drugs, substituting other drugs, or if the medication is essential, adding anti-ulcer or antacid medications to control the continuing symptoms.
Peptic ulcers and stomach cancer have to be dealt with appropriately if they are responsible for the gastritis.
The outcome of the disease is also dependent upon the cause, and will vary dramatically from one individual to another.
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