By Dr Raghuram Y.S. MD (Ay) & Dr Manasa, B.A.M.S
Gastritis is inflammation of the inner lining of the stomach. It manifests in three forms –
Table of Contents
Backdrop for gastric lining damage
The digestive juices tend to damage and cause inflammation if stomach lining is weak. Damage of stomach lining is caused by –
Bacterial infection of the gastrointestinal system, commonly that of H. Pylori can also cause gastritis. H. pylori bacteria are the most common causes of gastritis. It accounts roughly to 90% of cases. This bacterium infects the stomach lining. The infection is also passed from one person to the other and also to the persons through contaminated food or water. If this occurs in childhood and continues to cause problems in adulthood, the bacterium becomes the chief cause of chronic gastritis also.
Major injury or illness
Injury to stomach may predispose one to get gastritis. In fact, injury anywhere in the body or any illness that affects blood flow to the stomach may increase acid in the stomach and cause stress gastritis.
Read – Effect of Stress, Anxiety on Stomach And Intestines: Remedies
Gastritis may be caused due to autoimmune diseases. In this your immune system attacks the healthy tissues in the stomach lining.
Eosinophilic gastro-enteritis is a rare type of gastrointestinal inflammation which may eventually lead to symptoms of gastritis. This condition is caused by food allergies. Identification of food allergies is very essential to have gastritis under control or even to get rid of it.
Symptoms specific for erosive gastritis –
These are the reasons to consult a doctor and know about the status of stomach especially when you have gastritis for a longer time period i.e. in chronic gastritis conditions.
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Fate of Gastritis
Acute conditions quickly resolve with prompt diagnosis and treatment. H. pylori infections can be treated with appropriate courses of antibiotics.
Diagnose of gastritis done after thorough examination and taking case history and family history. For confirmation, your doctor may recommend you to take a breath, blood or stool test to check for H. Pylori involvement.
An endoscopy will help in checking and confirming inflammation in your stomach lining. The biopsy of the stomach lining too will be helpful. Barium X-rays will further help in looking at areas of concern and clinch the diagnosis.
Eating certain foods like fried, spicy or highly acidic foods may worsen symptoms of gastritis.
Below mentioned foods and drinks might ease the gastritis symptoms. They may vary from person to person and one needs to choose stomach friendly foods specific for them.
Good foods and drinks in gastritis are –
Losing weight, managing stress, eating small and frequent meals will also help patients of gastritis.
Foods rich in antioxidants like flavonoids –
High fat foods – may worsen inflammation of stomach lining.
Food allergies – can trigger symptoms of gastritis, one needs to identify and avoid these foods.
Avoiding alcohol – frequency and quantity
Avoiding foods which irritate the stomach –
Patients should also avoid things that trigger their gastritis – like alcohol, aspirin or pain medicines.
Peptic or gastric ulcers are complications of untreated or badly managed gastritis. Follow the same dietetic restrictions as those of gastritis if you have an ulcer in your stomach. You should also take food with rich nutrients.
You may take –
Avoid these –
Anti-inflammatory foods – Diet to cure inflammation or to prevent it
Avoid foods which tends to cause inflammation –
Foods that relieve gastritis symptoms
Foods that may stop H. pylori growth and relieve gastritis symptoms –
Food diary – It is a good habit to write a food diary. This will help one to list down the foods which trigger the symptoms and foods which are good for the stomach. This will also help to reduce the intake of trigger foods or avoid some foods altogether.
Effective inclusions in home remedies
We are back with a home remedy today and probably the simplest of all the home remedies that we have discussed so far. This is a churnam home remedy, meaning it is just a simple mixture of herbal powders. It involves only two herbal ingredients that are quite easily available.
Home remedy video – Watch on youtube here
Pippalimoola – Root of long pepper – Piper longum – fine powder – half teaspoonful
Usheera – Cus Cus grass / Vetiver – Vetiveria zizanioides – fine powder – half teaspoonful.
How to take?
The fine powder of above two are mixed and half to one teaspoon of this powder mixture is traditionally administered along with little bit of ghee to relieve heartburn and gastritis.
After administration, a small quantity of lukewarm water can be given for easy swallowing.
Helps to relieve Gastritis, Heartburn, Indigestion
How it works?
This is one of the best home remedies for heartburn.
Long pepper root is a powerful digestive. It boosts digestive enzymes and promotes easy absorption of digested food.
Usheera / Vetiver / cus cus grass is a natural coolant. It has calming and soothing effect over gastric mucosa. It balances out increased Pitta during heartburn and gastritis. It also relieves vomiting sensation.
Ghee is again helpful in calming Pitta and is good to soothe the stomach mucosa.
Ginger – Chew a small piece of ginger for a few minutes and gulp it with water. You can take a pinch each of ginger powder, rock salt and asafetida mixed in a cup of warm water. This can be taken every morning. It has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.
Turmeric – Mix turmeric powder (1 teaspoon) with water, make it into paste and take it mixing with yoghurt or banana. Curcumin in turmeric is anti-inflammatory, antifungal and antibacterial properties. It soothes gastric mucosa and reduces irritation in the gastrointestinal tract.
Licorice – Add 1 teaspoon of licorice root powder to a glass of hot water and leave it to steep for 10-15 minutes, strain it and drink at least once a day. It protects your stomach’s lining and reduces chances of ulcer formation from gastritis since it stabilizes the stomach acids.
Garlic – Studies suggest that garlic helps to reduce gastritis symptoms.
Yoghurt – Take yoghurt with meals or as a snack. Have 1-2 cups daily. It is an excellent probiotic and accelerates healing of gastric ulcers and eradicates H. pylori.
Honey – Mix 2 tablespoons honey in a glass of warm water and drink it on an empty stomach. You may drink it every morning. It kills harmful bacteria, is anti-inflammatory and has antioxidants which can heal the stomach lining in gastritis.
Cumin water – Mix 1 tablespoon of ground roasted cumin seeds in a glass of warm water and drink it with meals, twice or thrice in a day. It has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties which helps alleviate gastritis symptoms.
Coconut water – 1 glass of coconut water can be consumed in between meals. You can take up to 3-4 glasses a day. This is anti-inflammatory and soothes your inflamed stomach lining. It is antiseptic and may also kill bacteria.
Aloe vera – Mix 2 teaspoons of fresh aloe vera gel in a glass of water and drink it once or twice daily. Aloe vera soothes the stomach, reduces inflammation therein, is antiseptic and inhibits infection causing bacteria.
Green Tea – Steep 1 teaspoon green tea herb in a cup of hot water fora few minutes, strain and add honey, mix well and sip it. You may have 2 cups of green tea in a day. It contains antioxidants which protects stomach lining and alleviate gastritis symptoms. This tea also relieves symptoms of chronic gastritis. Green tea taken with honey helps soothe your stomach. Studies have shown that prevalence of H. pylori in the gut significantly reduces when green or black tea is taken at least once in a week.
Apple Cider Vinegar – reduces acid production, kills the microorganisms damaging stomach lining and soothes the stomach lining. For further soothing the gastric lining you may add honey to ACV. Add 1 tablespoon each of honey and apple cider vinegar to a glass of water, mix them well and drink once or twice daily.
Broccoli – has many nutrients, can be used as food inclusion and relieves gastritis symptoms.
Papaya – contains antioxidants and an enzyme papain. They reduce formation of gases in the stomach and soothes your stomach.
Baking Soda – Mix 1 teaspoon of baking soda in a glass of water and drink it as and when required. It acts as an antacid, brings down acid levels in the stomach and relieves burning sensation associated with gastritis.
Cabbage juice – Drink fresh green cabbage juice 3-4 times a day. You may add carrots and celery stalks to it. It has ulcer healing factor – Vitamin U. this can heal your stomach lining and help your gastritis symptoms. This juice also cleanses your stomach and intestines.
Coconut oil – you can have 2-3 teaspoons of this oil for ingestion or as a part of your meals. This oil contains antioxidants which help to reduce oxidative stress exerted on stomach lining due to gastritis. It also possesses anti-inflammatory properties and relieves gastritis symptoms.
Oatmeal – Cook half cup oatmeal with half to one cup of water or milk and eat it. You may add non-acidic fruits like bananas, pears and apples to it. Oatmeal is rich in fiber and minerals and regulates digestion. It soothes the stomach lining due to its alkaline nature.
Pineapple – You may consume 1 cup of ripe pineapple as breakfast or snack. You may have 1 cup every day. It aids digestion. Pineapple contains digestive enzymes. It counteracts increased acids in your stomach. Avoid unripe pineapples since they may aggravate gastritis.
Potato Juice – Squeeze juice from 2-3 peeled and grated raw potatoes and drink half glass mixed with warm water before meals, at least twice daily. This juice is rich in alkaline salts which neutralizes stomach acids. It also reduces inflammation of the stomach.
Vitamin C – It enhances immunity, helps the body to fight infection, heals and protects the stomach and intestinal lining from damage and ulcers.
Probiotics – helps improve digestion and also in regular bowel movements. They introduce good bacteria into the digestive tract. This might help in stopping the spread of H. pylori. Yoghurt is one famous food inclusion which contains probiotics.
Essential Oils – resistance to H. pylori was found to increase by usage of essential oils like lemongrass oil. Peppermint, ginger and clove oils were found to have a positive effect on the digestive system. These oils are not for ingestion but can be applied to the skin after diluting them with carrier oil.
Lighter meals – Gastritis may be aggravated by taking large, carbohydrate rich meals. On the other hand, eating small meals regularly may help in easing the digestive process. Light foods also reduce gastritis symptoms.
Avoid smoking and painkillers – One should avoid smoking since it damages the stomach lining and also predisposes one to stomach cancer. Similarly taking too much painkillers can worsen your gastritis.
Keep your stress under control – Gastritis can flare up due to stress. It is important you keep your stress under control. Include meditation, Yoga, breathing exercises and soothing massages to control your stress.
Lifestyle changes – lose weight, stop smoking and taking alcohol and avoid OTC medicines.
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Treatment of gastritis depends on the cause of the disease.
One needs to avoid NSAIDs or other drugs if they are responsible for causation of the disease.
It is a sudden inflammation in your stomach lining. If your intestines are also involved with the stomach, it will be called gastroenteritis. Most common causes are intake of NSAIDs and corticosteroids.
Acute gastritis may present with severe pain which is often short lived. It comes suddenly. It may be caused one or more of –
Difference from chronic gastritis – On the other hand, chronic gastritis comes more slowly and stays for a longer time. It causes consistent dull ache in comparison to the more intense pain of acute gastritis. In developing countries the prevalence of chronic gastritis has decreased while that of acute gastritis is still common.
Difference from gastroenteritis – This condition includes inflammation of both stomach and intestines and may include diarrhea along with nausea or vomiting. Gastritis includes nausea and vomiting.
Read – Amlapitta – Meaning, Symptoms, Types, Prognosis
This condition occurs when your stomach lining is either damaged or weakened. This allows the acids to irritate your stomach.
Important causes include medications such as NSAIDs and corticosteroids (most common causes), infections from H. pylori and excessive consumption of alcohol. H. pylori infection is the most common cause of peptic ulcers also.
Other less common causes
Sometimes there may be no symptoms at all. At other times the symptoms may be mild or severe.
Common symptoms of acute gastritis are –
Persistence of symptoms for longer duration and vomiting of blood should alert you to take your doctor’s opinion immediately.
Diagnosis is usually done following thorough case taking and examination by your physician. Doctors may suggest some tests to confirm the diagnosis –
Lifestyle changes which can help reduce your symptoms –
Some herbs apart from improving digestive health also help to destroy H. pylori and are also used to treat acute gastritis –
If acute gastritis is not treated promptly or if the treatment fails, it can lead to the manifestation of chronic gastritis which further increases your risk of developing gastric cancer.
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Probiotics – helps in balancing the gut bacteria. It also helps in improving rate of eradication of H. pylori if taken before or after standard H. pylori treatment. They replenish the good bacteria which are destroyed by antibiotics and also reduce the risk of overgrowth of yeast. According to researches bacteria Lactobacillus acidophilus yields best results.
Green Tea – Green tea has shown to kill and slow the growth of Helicobacter bacteria as per some studies conducted on mice. If consumed before infection it helps in preventing inflammation of stomach. It reduces severity of the disease and symptoms if consumed during infection.
Honey – Studies have shown honey having antibacterial action against H. pylori.
Olive oil – has been shown to have strong antibacterial abilities against 8 of H. pylori strains as per studies.
Licorice – Root of Licorice is a natural remedy for stomach ulcers. In Ayurveda licorice is used effectively to treat gastritis and ulcers in stomach and duodenum. A study shows that licorice prevents the H. pylori from sticking to the cell walls in the stomach. Thus it helps in fighting the H. pylori infection.
Broccoli sprouts – Broccoli sprouts consist of sulphoraphane, a compound which may be effective against H. pylori. It has found to reduce gastric inflammation and lowers bacteria colonization in the stomach. Its antibacterial role has also been studied.
Phototherapy – UV light used in phototherapy helps in eliminating H. pylori in the stomach.
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In some cases of acute gastritis no treatment will be required. Treatment of acute gastritis depends on the causes. Bland diet sometimes helps in quick recovery. Foods low in fats, fiber and natural acids are best tolerated. Lean meats may be added to the diet seeing the suitability of the patient. H. pylori infections need antibiotic courses.
Medicines – include antacids to neutralize stomach acids, H2 antagonists to reduce the acid production in the stomach and Proton Pump Inhibitors which also inhibit the acid production. Antibiotics are needed only when there is bacterial infection such as from H. pylori. Antibiotics may be prescribed along with a PPI, antacid or H2 antagonist. You might be advised to stop NSAIDs or corticosteroids.
Ayurveda understanding of Gastritis
A condition called Amlapitta has often been compared to Gastritis explained in modern texts.