Gastritis

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Astritis CT sag.jpg
Gastritis occurs when there is inflammation, irritation, or swelling on the lining of a person’s stomach. It is not a single disease but rather attributed to many causes. It is a common medical problem experienced by many people. In fact, it is estimated that 10% of the people who go to the emergency room complaining of abdominal pain have gastritis.

Contents

Types

  1. Acute gastritis – Short and sudden inflammation of the stomach lining.
  2. Chronic gastritis - Inflammation of the lining of the stomach that extends for a long time (from months to years).

Signs and symptoms

  • Abdominal pain or discomfort
  • Abdominal indigestion
  • Black, tarry stools
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Blood or coffee-ground like material in vomit

Causes and risk factors

Gastritis has been linked to different medications, medical and surgical conditions, physical stresses, social habits, chemicals, and infections. More common causes attributed to gastritis:

Less common causes of gastritis: include

  • Autoimmune disorders (such as pernicious anemia)
  • Bile reflux
  • Swallowing caustic or corrosive substances (poison)
  • Over secretion of gastric acid usually due to stress
  • Viral infection

Diagnosis and tests

The patient is interviewed by the health care provider to get information about symptoms, medical history, lifestyle, habits, and medications being taken.

  • The information gathered is usually enough to make a diagnosis in many cases.
  • The patient should disclose all the medicines he is taking, including herbal medicines, non-prescription drugs, and supplements.
  • It is vital for the patient to divulge all measures taken to relieve the symptoms and how well those measures worked.

There is no laboratory test that could pinpoint that a person has gastritis. Tests are usually unnecessary. A health care provider can request for some tests to be done in order to rule out certain medical conditions. If other conditions have been ruled out, that leaves gastritis as the mostly like cause of a person’s symptoms. The following tests may be used to rule out other diseases:

  • Blood cell counts
  • Liver and kidney functions
  • Urinalysis
  • Gallbladder and pancreas functions
  • Pregnancy test
  • H. pylori tests
  • Stool test
  • X-ray
  • ECG – usually performed if the patient is experiencing chest pain] or rapid heartbeat.

The patient may be referred to a gastroenterologist, who might recommend an endoscopy.

Possible complications

If gastritis is not given medical attention, it may lead to possible complications such as:

  • Stomach ulcers
  • Gastrointestinal bleeding
  • Gastric erosion
  • Anemia
  • Dehydration
  • Stomach perforation

There are also some forms of chronic gastritis that may increase an individual’s risk for the following:

Prevention and control

A good way to prevent gastritis from occurring is to avoid the things that can irritate or inflame the lining of your stomach.

  • Aspirin (If it is necessary to take aspirin, choose the coated type of aspirin.)
  • Ibuprofen or naproxen
  • Smoking
  • Alcohol
  • Caffeine and other caffeine-like substances

Medications suspected to be causing gastritis should be discussed with the physician who prescribed it. Only a health care professional can decide whether to continue the drug treatment or replace it with one that is milder to the stomach lining.

In the Philippines

Filipino personalities like TV and film actress Ai-Ai delas Alas, comedian Jason Gainza and boxer Manny Pacquiao all experienced gastritis at one point in time.

References