Table of contents:
- Symptoms of chronic gastritis
- Possible causes
- How to confirm the diagnosis
- How the treatment is done
- Who is most at risk for gastritis
Chronic gastritis is inflammation of the gastric mucosa that lasts for more than three months and, in many cases, does not cause any symptoms. This is because chronic gastritis has a very slow evolution, which makes it more difficult to identify.
Although chronic gastritis is more common in elderly people who take medication daily, it can also happen in people who have an infection with some type of bacteria in the stomach, usually H. pylori, or who consume alcoholic beverages to excess, for example.
Although, in most cases, chronic gastritis does not present very specific symptoms, some people may report a slight pain in the upper region of the abdomen, especially when they have not eaten for a long time.The diagnosis can be made by a gastroenterologist based on symptoms, but also on the result of a test known as a digestive endoscopy, which allows you to visualize the inner walls of the stomach. Check out how digestive endoscopy is performed and how to prepare it.
Symptoms of chronic gastritis
In many cases, chronic gastritis does not cause any specific symptoms, however, some people may experience symptoms such as:
- Abdominal discomfort;
- Poor digestion;
- Swollen belly feeling;
- Recurrent nausea and vomiting;
- Decreased appetite;
- Weight Loss.
Chronic gastritis can also lead to the formation of stomach ulcers, which are very painful sores that cause symptoms such as a full stomach, pain and burning in the middle of the abdomen. Learn about the symptoms of gastric ulcer.
Online Symptom Test
If you think you may have chronic gastritis, check your symptoms and find out what your risk is:
- 1.Constant, twinge-shaped stomach pain Yes No
- 2.Feeling sick or very full stomach Yes No
- 3.Swollen and painful belly Yes No
- 4.Slow digestion and frequent burping Yes No
- 5.Headache and general malaise Yes No
- 6.Loss of appetite, vomiting, or retching Yes No
Make an appointment with a specialist
Chronic gastritis can be caused by several reasons such as prolonged use of anti-inflammatory drugs such as acetylsalicylic acid, bacterial and viral infections such as the presence of Helicobacter Pylori, chronic stress, excessive alcohol consumption, immune problems that cause inflammation, conditions such as diabetes or kidney problems, bile reflux, or Crohn's disease, which is a chronic inflammation of the digestive system that can cause symptoms such as intestinal irritation and bleeding.
This disease is common in people who suffer from alcoholism, smokers, who have chronic diseases or who have a compromised immune system. In addition, people who consume a high-fat diet frequently are at greater risk of developing chronic gastritis.
How to confirm the diagnosis
The diagnosis of chronic gastritis is not always easy, as it is a condition that usually does not cause symptoms. However, in the case of people who report some type of discomfort, the doctor usually starts by ordering an endoscopy, which is an exam through which it is possible to observe the interior of the stomach walls, allowing to observe if there is inflammation.
When there is inflammation, the doctor usually evaluates the person's history, to identify if there is any type of medication or habit that may be causing this change. In addition, during the endoscopy examination, it is also common for the doctor to take some samples to analyze in the laboratory if there is any infection with H.pylori.
Which doctor to consult
The most suitable doctor to consult in case of suspected chronic gastritis is the gastroenterologist, who will be able to order all the necessary tests to confirm the diagnosis, initiating the most appropriate treatment.
Classification of chronic gastritis
Chronic gastritis can be classified according to the stage of inflammation or according to the part of the stomach that has been affected.
According to the stage of inflammation, chronic gastritis can be classified into:
- Mild or superficial chronic gastritis, in which only a part of the stomach was affected, usually the most external part, and represents the initial phase of chronic gastritis;
- Moderate chronic gastritis, in which the stomach is already much more compromised, being considered a more advanced stage;
- Gastric atrophy, which occurs when the stomach wall is completely inflamed and presents lesions that can turn into stomach cancer, is the most serious phase of chronic gastritis.
Regarding the part of the stomach that was affected, chronic gastritis can be:
- Chronic antral gastritis, in which the final part of the stomach is affected and usually happens due to Helycobacter pylori infection - see how you catch and how to treat H. pylori;
- Chronic gastritis in the body of the stomach, in which inflammation is perceived in the central region of the stomach and normally occurs as a result of immune system reactions.
Depending on the type of gastritis, the gastroenterologist can determine the best form of treatment.
How the treatment is done
The treatment of chronic gastritis is performed by the gastroenterologist depending on the cause of the gastritis, and the doctor may recommend the use of medication and a diet, and avoid excessive consumption of alcoholic beverages and cigarettes, for example.
Diet is essential for the treatment of chronic gastritis, especially in times of crisis, following an easy-to-digest, low-fat, and as natural diet as possible.
Foods should be cooked on the grill or steamed and seasoned with natural herbs, avoiding the use of pepper, sauces, strong seasonings or industrialized cubed broths. In addition, consumption of alcoholic beverages, soft drinks, industrialized juices, yellow cheeses, whole milk, fatty meats, pizzas, frozen foods or fast food should be avoided.
Diet changes are essential to relieve the symptoms of gastritis, and food can vary for each person, so it is recommended to consult a nutritionist to carry out a complete nutritional assessment and indicate an individualized food plan.
Watch the video with nutritionist Tatiana Zanin with tips on how to diet for chronic gastritis:
Medicines for chronic gastritis indicated by the gastroenterologist help to decrease the production of acid or neutralize the acidity in the stomach, preventing the gastric juice from causing more irritation in the gastric lining and giving the body the necessary time for the wounds to heal and reduce stomach inflammation.
Usually, the drugs used for chronic gastritis are antacids, acid production inhibitors and/or antibiotics, which are indicated by the doctor according to the cause of chronic gastritis on an individual basis. Check out all the drug options indicated for the treatment of gastritis.
3. Home remedies
A good home remedy option for chronic gastritis is espinheira santa tea, as it has protective properties of the stomach lining, antioxidants and antibacterials, helping to relieve symptoms and eliminate the H. pylori bacteria.
Other home remedy options are chamomile tea or ginger tea, as they have a calming and anti-inflammatory effect, which help relieve the symptoms of chronic gastritis. Check out other home remedies for chronic gastritis and how to prepare.
Who is most at risk for gastritis
The risk of developing chronic gastritis is higher in people who have unhe althy habits for stomach he alth, such as:
- Eat a very high fat diet;
- Have a high s alt diet;
- Being a smoker;
- Drinking alcohol to excess;
- Use medication daily, especially anti-inflammatories.
In addition, having a very stressful lifestyle or having an autoimmune disease can also lead to changes in the functioning of the immune system that end up preventing stomach cells from protecting themselves, being more affected by gastric acid.