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Gastritis

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Gastritis is the term used to describe inflammation of the stomach lining.

Symptoms

In many cases gastritis is asymptomatic . When symptoms occur they may include:

  • Upper abdominal pain, which may be described as burning or aching, and may be aggravated by food 
  • Indigestion  
  • Bloating and abdominal fullness after eating 
  • Nausea and vomiting   
  • Loss of appetite   
  • Bleeding of the stomach may cause blackened stools; blood may also be visible in vomit 
  • Weight loss   
  • In some cases, gastritis progresses into peptic ulcer disease, and less frequently, stomach cancer

Causes

Causes of gastritis include a range of factors that may irritate or inflame the stomach lining, including:

  • Infection with Helicobacter pylori, the same bacterium that causes stomach ulcers
  • The use of certain medications, including aspirin, ibuprofen and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)   
  • Alcohol abuse
  • Surgery, injury or trauma
  • Radiation therapy
  • Stress (which may trigger gastritis in some people by increasing the production of gastric secretions) 
  • Extended episodes of vomiting 
  • Reflux of bile from the intestines into the stomach   
  • Some immune disorders and allergies

Natural therapies

  • Herbs that are traditionally used to relieve digestive upsets and aid the management of gastric symptoms such as indigestion and pain include marshmallow, fennel, ginger and peppermint. 
  • Preliminary research suggests that in patients with indigestion (dyspepsia) who are infected with H. pylori but don’t have stomach ulcers, taking the probiotic Lactobacillus reuteri may help relieve symptoms of bloating, flatulence and disordered bowel motions. Additional and larger studies will be required to confirm these effects.

Diet and lifestyle

  • Understanding the cause of gastritis is vital to its effective management. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned above, consult your healthcare professional, who can arrange for the appropriate diagnostic investigations to be performed.
  • If you have gastritis, the treatment plan will focus on decreasing your exposure to irritants, neutralising or decreasing gastric acidity and eradicating any H. pylori infection. Follow the recommendations of your healthcare professional and make sure you complete the full course of any prescribed medicines.  
  • Slippery elm powder has traditionally been used to soothe irritated or inflamed mucous membranes of the digestive tract, and may help to relieve pain and promote healing. However, it may interfere with the absorption of other medicines; separate doses by two hours. 
  • Avoid alcohol and caffeine, which may irritate the stomach lining and trigger or aggravate your symptoms.
  • Stop smoking and avoid smoky environments. Smoking increases stomach acid and raises the likelihood that gastritis and ulcers will occur. It also prolongs healing time, and may thus increase the risk of complications, such as stomach cancer.

Important notes

  • The presence of blood in the vomit suggests that the stomach lining is bleeding. Seek urgent medical attention.
  • If you suspect that your prescribed medicines are causing or contributing to your gastritis, consult your doctor.

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I have nodular gastritis. Can you tell me a bit about this and what treatment I should pursue?
Thanks
Anonymous
Anonymous 15 Aug 2014
Hi Charmaine
I have a bad case of gastritis which may have been triggered by stress. I have had a colonscopy and gastroscopy recently and everything seems OK, except for the gastritis. Can you recommend anything that would relieve this and also can you advise me what I should not eat while I have this.
Kind regards.
Linda
Anonymous
Anonymous 31 Dec 2013
Hi Alan,
Thank you for your post.
I’m sorry to hear about the symptoms you are experiencing – they sound like they would be making you very uncomfortable.
I think it would be best for you to see your GP (if you haven’t already) to have the cause of your symptoms investigated.
If you would like any further advice please contact the Blackmores Naturopathic Advisory Service on 1800-803-760, or email at advice@blackmores.com.au
Kind regards,
Charmaine (Blackmores Naturopath)
Charmaine
Charmaine 14 Jun 2013
Hello I have digestive problems, symptoms are gnawing discomfort
under ribs r.h. side, lots of gas belching and loose stools.
Is there a Blackmore product to help me get back to normal.
I will be grate full fore any suggestions.
Anonymous
Anonymous 14 Jun 2013