Gastritis should be taken more seriously than we normally do; here's why.
Gastritis is one of the most common health issues affecting millions across the globe. According to Mayo Clinic, gastritis is a common term used to define all the conditions related to the inflammation of the lining of the stomach. Inflammation can also lead to irritation and/or erosion of the lining of the stomach. It can occur suddenly (acute) or gradually (chronic).
The symptoms of gastritis vary from person to person. In some cases, the symptoms are not evident until the condition worsens. So it is important to identify the first signs and check with the doc right away.
- Burning or gnawing feeling in the stomach between meals or at night
- Feeling full even though you haven't had much to eat
- Abdominal bloating or feeling uncomfortably full after eating
- Abdominal pain
- Nausea or recurrent upset stomach
- Vomiting and/or indigestion
- Loss of appetite
- Vomiting blood or coffee ground-like material
- Black, tarry stools
1. Bacterial infection
Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) is one of the bacteria that can give rise to gastritis, which could lead to serious stomach infections if left unchecked. One can become vulnerable to the bacterium through genetics (inherited vulnerability) or lifestyle choices, such as smoking and diet. H. pylori occur in the mucous lining of the stomach, and, without any treatments, this bacteria can cause stomach ulcers. According to Cancer Research UK, it can also increase the chances of stomach and oesophageal cancer.
2. Excessive alcohol consumption
Regular consumption of alcohol in large amounts can erode the stomach lining, making the stomach more vulnerable to the digestive juices. Excessive alcohol use is more likely to cause acute gastritis, reports Mayo Clinic.
3. Untimely meals
According to Livestrong.com, skipping meals can lead to stomach cramps and ulcers. Having no fixed timings to have one's meals can cause severe distress. This is because digestive juices produced to aid food processing are underutilized when meals are skipped. Instead of acting on food, they begin to erode the lining of the stomach, leading to ulcers and other digestive issues.
According to Mayo Clinic, severe stress due to major surgery, injury, burns or severe infections can cause acute gastritis. Stress can also lead to anxiety, which impacts appetite. Livestrong.com recommends identifying stress and finding ways to reduce it to ensure digestion and stomach health is not impacted. This is all the more important because the brain and the gut are closely related. Major neurotransmitters—like dopamine, serotonin—which are linked to depression are produced in the gut. This report by Havard Medical School explains the gut–brain connection in detail.
5. Usage of pain relievers
Aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others), naproxen (Aleve, Anaprox), and other such pain relievers can reduce the essential substances needed to protect the lining of your stomach. According to the Mayo Clinic, this can lead to acute or chronic gastritis.
6. Other diseases
More serious diseases like HIV/AIDS, Crohn's disease, and parasitic infections are associated with gastritis, according to the Mayo Clinic. Autoimmune diseases, too, can cause your body to attack the cells on your stomach, leading to ulcers and gastric issues.
Most of us have suffered a bout of indigestion or stomach-related symptoms at some point. But if any of the above-listed symptoms prevail for more than a week, Mayo Clinic recommends you visit your doctor.