When To See A Doctor For Gastritis
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Gastritis- When To See A Doctor

Gastritis is inflammation in the lining of the stomach. It may be chronic or acute. The severity and length of symptoms help in deciding when to see a doctor for gastritis. Various causes for gastritis include excessive alcohol consumption, stress, infection, and underlying medical condition.

What Is Gastritis?

Gastritis is the condition in which there is an inflammation in the lining of the stomach. The condition also has erosion and irritation in the stomach lining. Gastritis may be acute or chronic. In most people, gastritis does not progress and can be effectively treated. However, in others, it may cause serious complications such as ulcers in the stomach and the risk of stomach cancer. Erosive gastritis increases the risk of bleeding in the stomach.

Symptoms Of Gastritis

The symptoms of gastritis are not noticeable in most patients until some damage is caused to the stomach. The following are the common symptoms of gastritis;

  • Abdominal pain in the stomach that may become better or worse with eating
  • Loss of appetite
  • Abdominal bloating
  • Indigestion
  • Nausea or upset stomach
  • The feeling of burning sensation in the stomach
  • Black stools
  • Vomits containing blood or coffee-like material in case of erosive gastritis
  • Gastritis in children may cause pain, burning sensation, and stomach tenderness.

Causes Of Gastritis

The following are the causes of gastritis;

1. Medications

Prolonged use of various medications such as aspirin and other anti-inflammatory drugs may lead to gastritis.

2. Alcohol Intake

Excessive alcohol intake irritates the stomach, which results in gastritis.

3. H. pylori infection

H. pylori infection damages the lining of the stomach and leads to inflammation. In the absence of any treatment, it increases the risk of stomach cancer.

4. Other Infections

Other stomach infections caused due to bacteria and viruses may also result in gastritis.

5. Underlying Medical Conditions

Various underlying medical conditions such as Crohn’s disease and sarcoidosis may lead to gastritis. Gastritis may also be caused due to other autoimmune diseases.

6. Stress

Gastritis may also be caused due to stress. Stress due to injury, burns, or surgery may lead to acute gastritis.

What Are The Risk Factors For Gastritis?

The following are the risk factors for gastritis;

1. Prolong Use Of Pain Relievers

If you are on chronic pain-relieving therapy, your risk of gastritis increases.

2. Age

As the stomach lining gets thinner as we age, the risk of gastritis is high in the elderly.

3. Excessive Alcohol Intake

Intake of a heavy quantity of alcohol irritates the stomach lining leading to gastritis.

4. Autoimmune Diseases

Autoimmune gastritis is caused when the cells of the immune system attack the gastric lining.

5. Underlying Conditions

Underlying medical conditions such as HIV or Crohn’s disease may cause gastritis.

6. Infections

Infections caused due to viruses and bacteria such as H. pylori infection may cause gastritis.

How Is Gastritis Diagnosed?

Gastritis is diagnosed through the following techniques:

Endoscopy

Through endoscopy, the doctor checks the stomach inflammation and may also perform a biopsy.

X-Ray

The doctor performs the Barium swallow test to determine any abnormality in the gastrointestinal tract.

Blood Test

Blood tests may be done to diagnose anemia as well as H. pylori infection.

Stool Test

Through the stool test, the doctor will check the presence of blood in stools.

When To See A Doctor For Gastritis?

You should see a doctor for gastritis if you suffer from the following symptoms;

  • You must see a doctor if you have chronic abdominal pain and bloating
  • If you have gastric discomfort after taking anti-inflammatory drugs
  • If you have blood in your stools
  • If you vomit blood or coffee-like material
  • Any other symptom of gastritis that exists for a week or longer

Tips To Treat Gastritis

The following are the various tips to manage gastritis;

  • Avoid smoking and limit the amount of alcohol.
  • Avoid prolonging the use of pain-relieving medications.
  • Eat frequent, smaller meals.
  • Take probiotics
  • Avoid foods that irritate the stomach lining, such as acidic foods, processed and high-sugar foods.
  • Essential oils to limit or prevent the growth of H. pylori.
  • Manage stress through exercise and meditation

What Are The Complications Of Gastritis?

Gastritis may lead to certain complications if left untreated. This includes the formation of ulcers and increased risk of bleeding and stomach cancer. The complications are more severe if there is significant damage to the lining of the stomach.

What Is The Prognosis For Gastritis?

Gastritis has an excellent prognosis. Most cases of gastritis may be treated effectively with minimum medical interventions. In the case of H. pylori infection, one or two courses of antibiotics are required. You should monitor your symptoms and decide when to see a doctor for gastritis.

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