Edmonds Medical Clinic Articles

What is Gastritis?


Gastritis is inflammation of stomach. Inflammation is the reaction of the body to protect itself when certain substances or bacteria enter or contact with the body. Gastritis refers to a disease, causing inflammation of the gastric mucosa that protects the stomach. There are many ways to divide gastritis, but it can be broadly divided into acute gastritis and chronic gastritis.

Acute Gastritis

This can be caused by medications (anti-inflammatory analgesics, such as Advil, Ibuprofen, Aleve, Naproxen), alcohol, internal or external stress, viruses, bacteria, and radiation. (So, when taking anti-inflammatory analgesics, it is recommended to take them after meals.)

This can be happened occasionally to seriously ill patients (trauma, burns, low blood pressure, sepsis, coagulation disorder, liver disease or kidney failure). It is often asymptomatic. Or it causes stomach pain, nausea, and vomiting. Sometimes, they vomit blood. This can be diagnosed by gastroscopy.

What is the treatment for Acute Gastritis?

For a period, you need to do fasting and resting the stomach, stopping the causative agent. If vomiting persists, dehydration may occur. To prevent this, supply sufficient water. Antacid medications include Pepcid, Tagamet, Prilosec, Omeprazole, Pantoprazole, etc.

Chronic Gastritis

It may be caused by exogenous factors such as coffee, cigarettes, alcohol, drugs, excessive food additives, and psychological stress. The bile may flow back into the stomach and affect it. And there is gastritis caused by Helicobacter bacteria.

Endoscopic Classification of Chronic Gastritis

  1. Superficial Gastritis: Irregular red, nail-scratched red streaks in inner surface of stomach.
  2. Atrophic Gastritis: A process in which the gastric mucosa is thin enough to show blood vessels due to a long-lasting superficial gastritis.
  3. Metaplastic Gastritis: When the gastric mucosa is irritated for a long time, lost its original shape, and changes to the shape of the mucous membrane of the small and large intestine. In this case, many ridges can be seen on the gastric mucosa, and the gastric wall is not red and has a grayish white hue.

What are the symptoms of Gastritis?

Stomach pain, indigestion, abdominal bloating, loss of appetite, nausea, and vomiting may appear. However, sensory nerves are not developed in the gastrointestinal mucosa, so even if severe inflammation occurs, you often do not notice any direct symptoms.

What is the of treatment of Gastritis?

Antacid medications include Pepcid, Tagamet, Prilosec, Omeprazole, Pantoprazole, etc. Helicobacter bacteria can be cured after taking antibiotics for about 2 weeks. Gastritis in the early stages usually recovers without any sequela if the cause is treated. On the other hand, in the case of atrophic gastritis and metaplastic gastritis, even if the cause is removed, it may not return to normal. In this case, you should have a gastroscopy on a regular basis.

What are the lifestyle habits to prevent gastritis?

It is important to avoid excessive drinking, smoking, and coffee, and to maintain proper eating habits. Eat regular meals and avoid overeating. Fresh fruits and vegetables are good for stomach health. Food that is too salty or burnt should be avoided. Stabilizing therapy promotes mental and physical stability, sufficient rest, sleep, light exercise, and walks are also helpful. Chronic gastritis is a long-lived disease, so diet and lifestyle control must be continued over a long period of time and patiently.

What is psychogenic gastritis?

Different from the gastritis mentioned above, ‘functional dyspepsia’ is commonly referred to as ‘psychogenic gastritis’ to make it easier for the general public to understand. People complain “I have frequent stomach upset. I cannot digest it. I have excessive stomach gas. My stomach is sore and painful.” These symptoms can also occur when the actual gastritis or gastric ulcer occurs, but in the case of psychogenic gastritis, there is no abnormality in the gastroscopy. Psychogenic gastritis occurs because stimuli such as anxiety, depression, mental stress, and excessive tension stimulate the autonomic nervous system and interfere with the movement of the stomach. There is no specific causative disease, and it is often difficult to treat because it appears as a combination of various factors.

Any relationship between gastritis and stomach cancer?

In the medical world, it is believed that atrophic gastritis develops, becomes metaplastic gastritis, and finally gastric cancer. Since the risk of gastric cancer gradually increases as you progress to metaplastic gastritis, it is important to manage gastritis as early as possible. So, in the case of metaplastic gastritis, you must have a gastroscopy regularly.

Steven Koh, MD
Family Medicine
Edmonds Medical Clinic