Gastritis is the term used to describe various conditions that lead to inflammation of the stomach lining. In most cases this inflammation occurs due to bacteria. The same bacteria are also involved in the development of stomach ulcers. There can be other triggers of gastritis as well such as intake of certain medications, excessive alcohol consumption and injury.
Gastritis may be acute, in which case there is a sudden onset, or it can be chronic and may develop gradually over a period of time. Some individuals may go on to develop stomach ulcers due to gastritis. In most cases though, gastritis is not very serious and can be treated easily.
Causes of Gastritis
The symptoms of gastritis occur when the lining that protects the stomach gets damaged. This lining is composed of a mucus membrane barrier that protects the stomach against damage from exposure to the digestive acids within. These gastric acids aid in the digestion of food, but when the barrier gets damaged or becomes weak, the digestive acids cause inflammation and damage to the stomach lining. This can occur on account of several conditions. Some factors that contribute to gastritis include:
- Intake of Certain Medications: Certain medications, especially pain relievers, may contribute to gastritis. Individuals who use these medications excessively are more likely to develop stomach problems.
- Bacteria: Chronic gastritis may occur due to infection by the bacteria known as helicobacter pylori, which is most common and known to pass from one individual to another. Many people who are infected with the bacteria do not experience any symptoms. But in some people, the bacteria may weaken and damage the stomach lining. This can lead to gastritis and stomach ulcers. The susceptibility to the bacteria may be due to genetic factors. Those who smoke or suffer from high stress levels may also be vulnerable to the bacterial infection.
- Parasitic Infections: Gastritis may be associated with parasitic infections.
- Stress: When the body is under stress due to injury, severe infection or surgery, the risk of acute gastritis is high.
- Age: The lining of the stomach becomes thinner and weaker with age and hence older individuals are more at risk for gastritis. Older people are also more vulnerable to infection by helicobacter pylori.
- Autoimmune disorders: There is a type of gastritis, known as autoimmune gastritis, which occurs when the immune system attacks the cells in the stomach lining. This can cause erosion of the lining. This disorder usually occurs in individuals affected by other autoimmune disorders. Deficiency of vitamin B12 may also be linked to this type of gastritis.
- Alcohol: A high consumption of alcohol can lead to symptoms of gastritis. This is because alcohol irritates the stomach lining and can also erode it in time.
- Bile Reflux Disease: Bile which is produced by the liver helps in the digestion of fats. It is stored in the gallbladder and when it is released, it passes into the small intestine. The bile is prevented from entering the stomach because of the pyloric valve. If this valve does not function properly or is removed, the bile can enter the stomach and erode the lining.
If gastritis is not treated properly, it can result in bleeding from the stomach and ulcers. Chronic gastritis can increase the risk of stomach cancer.
Symptoms of Gastritis
Surprisingly in many people, gastritis often produces no symptoms and is diagnosed only when samples of the stomach mucosa are examined for other suspected diseases. However, when gastritis symptoms occur, the most common symptoms include:
- Abdominal discomfort or pain
- Nausea, occasionally with vomiting, that may last 24 to 48 hours
- Distress that may appear as fatigue or restlessness
- Loss of appetite
- Vomiting blood or hematemesis
- Sweating or perspiration
- Irregular bowel movements
- Shortness of breath
- Internal bleeding
Stomach trouble and indigestion are common conditions that affect almost all of us from time to time. At most times, these conditions are mild and subside quickly. However if you experience gastritis symptoms for more than a week, it is advisable to consult your doctor. It is also essential to seek prompt medical care if you start vomiting blood or notice bloody discharge in the stools.
Home Remedies for Gastritis
Gastritis is common yet the problems that come with it can ruin your day. Gastritis can keep you awake the whole night with nausea, stomach pain, bloating, acid reflux etc. This irritating health condition can cause severe discomfort and swear you off of your favourite food. But do you need to suffer endlessly? Definitely not! Once you understand what this condition entails and make a few lifestyle changes, gastritis can be a thing of the past. But if you do become a victim of gastritis, this list of gastritis remedies can offer relief.
Affected by this problem or not, you should always drink at least eight glasses of water every day. Gastritis is not an irreversible condition, at least not in milder cases. It is easy to reduce concentration of acid in your stomach by drinking lots of water. Water keeps the pH value inside the stomach balanced. However, avoid drinking water during meals because this dilutes the digestive juices and inhibits easy digestion.
Also, carbonated drinks can never be a replacement for water and the dissolved carbon dioxide actually makes the water acidic and aggravates the condition. Even caffeine can irritate the stomach. Steer clear of caffeinated drinks and drink water and fruit juices instead.
Ginger can also effectively treat gastritis due to its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. It can reduce inflammation and treat the infection as well as alleviate symptoms like stomach pain, gas, indigestion, nausea and bloating.
- Add 1 teaspoon of freshly chopped ginger root to 1 cup of boiling water. Cover and steep for 10 minutes. Strain, add honey and sip this tea slowly. Drink it 2 or 3 times a day for about a week.
- Alternatively, mix together ½ tablespoon each of ginger juice and honey. Take it before eating your meal 2 times daily for a week.
- You can even chew a small piece of fresh ginger root or take ginger capsules to treat gastritis.
Note: Ginger may interfere with blood-thinning and high blood pressure medications.
Pineapple can also be one of the effective home remedies for gastritis. Pineapple is good for many conditions such as high blood pressure and gastritis. It has many digestive enzymes which assist your stomach in breaking down and digesting food.
This is another spice that works wonders on gastritis patients. You can simply chew the cloves to get relief from nausea, heartburn and acid reflux. You can have a mix clove powder and honey or drink it with water to relieve nausea and vomiting.
Yogurt is a good addition to your diet, especially when suffering from gastritis. Yogurt with active live cultures is particularly beneficial in this regard.
The probiotics present in yogurt help protect your stomach lining from H. pylori bacteria that causes gastritis. Also, yogurt boosts the immune system to fight off infection more quickly.
- Eat 2 to 3 cups of plain probiotic yogurt daily until you get relief.
- You can also try a yogurt, banana and honey smoothie. Drink it 2 or 3 times a day for quick recovery.
6. Coconut Water
While water may be good for you, it is not the only home remedy that you need to follow in order to get rid of gastritis. Many people believe that they can substitute juices and carbonated drinks for water, but that is something that actually does them more harm than good. Water cannot be substituted. Nevertheless, it is always good to drink tender coconut water side by side to make sure your body gets rid of gastritis.
Turmeric contains curcumin, an anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal and anti-bacterial polyphenol, which soothes the gastric mucosa and reduces irritation in the gastro-intestinal tract. You can make a paste of turmeric and have a tablespoon with banana and yogurt every day.
If your stomach is churning acidic secretions overtime, you can benefit from the Peppermint. The menthol present in this herb can reduce nausea, indigestion and acid reflux. You can chew a couple of peppermint leaves or crush a few green leaves into your tea, steep them and drink away.
9. Holy Basil
Holy basil has also been found to be very effective for treating acute gastritis. Its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties help decrease inflammation and reduce infection caused by the H. pylori bacteria. It can help treat symptoms like stomach pain, indigestion, vomiting and nausea.
- Chew 4 to 5 leaves of holy basil slowly to treat stomach pain. Do this daily for at least a few weeks.
- Another option is to mix 1 teaspoon each of basil juice and ginger juice and drink it 2 or 3 times a day for a week.
- You can also drink basil tea with honey 3 times a day for a few weeks. To prepare basil tea steep 1 teaspoon of basil leaves in hot water for about 5 minutes and then strain it.
Papaya has many healing qualities and it can even help with cancer. It is full of beta carotene and helps with digestive disorders. It can help your body regenerate the lining of the stomach which has been stripped away by the bacteria. It can also help you break down your food easily.
11. Chamomile Tea
The fragrant Chamomile has a chemical named chamazulene, which is anti-inflammatory in nature. So, if your gastritis is triggered by an infection or allergy, chamomile tea will mitigate it. You can steep chamomile tea in warm water and drink it, but never boil the teabags because they will destroy the active substances present in it.
Rosemary is bursting with analgesic, anti-inflammatory, anti-viral and anti-septic properties all of which worls together to manage the symptoms of gastritis. It can be infused in tea or consumed in the form of capsules or tincture and essential oils.
13. Potato Juice
Another effective remedy for gastritis is raw potato juice, thanks to its antacid and healing properties. The alkaline properties of potatoes help reduce bloating, cramping, excess gas and other symptoms of gastritis.
- Peel 1 to 2 raw potatoes and grate them.
- Put the grated potatoes on a strainer and press with a spoon to extract the juice.
- Dilute 1/2 glass of potato juice with a little warm water.
- Drink it 3 times a day, 30 minutes before each meal, for at least 1 to 2 weeks.
14. Fennel Seeds
The best thing for you to do would be to roast some fennel seeds and then chew them whenever you have a heavy meal. You can also add a small teaspoon of them in water and boil them, as if you are making fennel seed tea. However, only drink it when it has cooled down.
If you suffer from repeated bouts of gastritis, it maybe because of allowed digestion. With our increasingly protein based diet and the vanishing vegetables from our menu, the digestion process has taken a trip to the south. Lack of fiber has led to a slower digestion process, which in turn leads to over secretion of acidic juices in the stomach. Artichokes are rich in fiber and also are a good alkaline dietary source. Not only does it help in mobilizing food in your stomach, but also keeps the pH level of your pyloric juices balanced.
A popular Ayurvedic remedy for gastritis is licorice. Its anti-inflammatory and soothing properties can reduce inflammation and relieve symptoms like heartburn, indigestion and more.
Also, it can protect the stomach’s inner lining from infection and reduce the risk of ulcers from gastritis.
Strawberries can also help heal gastritis due to their antioxidant property and high content of phenolic compounds. It can help prevent the start of inflammation in the stomach lining.
In a 2011 study, European researchers concluded that regular consumption of strawberries can help reduce the harm that alcohol causes to the stomach mucous membrane.
- Add 1 tablespoon of dried strawberry leaves to a cup of hot water. Let it steep for 5 minutes, then strain. Drink it 2 or 3 times daily until the gastritis symptoms subside.
- To prevent gastritis, eat a few strawberries.
There are some Yoga poses that you can practice every morning for relieving gastrointestinal stress.
The Pavanamuktasana helps in releasing gases that are trapped in your body.
The Viparita Karani yoga pose strengthens the back and abdominal muscles and helps pass accumulated gases.
Diet for Gastritis
A diet for gastritis must be balanced and healthy. You can consult a dietician if you find it difficult to regulate your diet by yourself. The important point to remember is that foods which that irritate or cause pain in the stomach should be avoided.
To avoid putting strain on the stomach, consume only those foods which can be easily digested. Here are some helpful diet tips for controlling gastritis:
Foods that should be included in a gastritis diet are:
- Green leafy vegetables.
- Fresh fruits and vegetables.
- Wheat bran.
- Low fat or fat free dairy products.
- Carrot juice.
- Coconut water.
Foods to be excluded from a gastritis diet include:
- Red meat.
- Orange juice.
- Spicy foods.
Other Suggestion for Gastritis
Your eating habits may also contribute to symptoms of gastritis. Adopt the following tips to protect against gastric trouble:
- Eat frequent, small meals. This may help reduce any excessive acid buildup in the stomach.
- Keep a food diary. Certain spicy, fatty, or fried foods may trigger your gastritis. Cut back or eliminate them from your diet.
- Try to minimize stress. If stress is a cause of your gastritis, try to figure out what is causing the stress in your life and what changes you can make to reduce it.
- Quit smoking; reduce or eliminate alcohol intake. These are two common causes of both acute and chronic gastritis.
- Know your medications. If you must take a medication that ends up irritating your stomach, ask your physician about taking an enteric form. Enteric pills have a special coating that allows them to pass undissolved directly from your stomach to your small intestine. In some instances this may help prevent gastritis symptoms.