Gastritis is a common digestive disorder that affects millions of people in the world.
Gastritis is an inflammation of the inner stomach lining or oesophagus (esophagitis) which results in painful and irritable lesions. Gastritis is a digestive disorder caused due to depletion of mucosa, the protective layer inside stomach which absorbs and protects the stomach from digestive acid attack. It is characterized by pain in abdomen, heart, poor digestion and frequent belching.
Gastritis may be acute (sudden) or chronic (long lasting with slow deterioration).
Gastritis is diagnosed through ultrasound and gastroscopy (gastrointestinal endoscopy ). Endoscopy involves passing of capsule sized optical camera tube through the mouth into the digestive tract for a direct visual examination of inner linings of the entire digestive tract ( esophagus, stomach, duodenum ) for any possible inflammation.
Biopsy is additionally used to determine the cause of gastritis.
Gastritis can be categorised into three types, they are:
1. Erosive and hemorrhagic gastritis
2. Non-erosive and non-specific gastritis
3. Specific gastritis which indicates a disorder.
Dietetic indiscretion, habitual overeating, eating improperly cooked food or badly cooked food and eating nutritionally deficient food are the most common cause of acute gastritis. However, acute gastritis can be attributed to several other causes like:
- Irritation of mucosa caused by certain anti-inflammatory drugs
- Excessive intake of alcohol, strong tea or coffee
- Ingestion of acidic or corrosive food.
- Allergic reactions
- Dysfunction of kidney, liver or lung.
- Stress induced from some accident, surgery or burns.
- Gastritis may also be caused by bacterial infections.
Pain behind the breast bone (upper abdomen) and heart burn are the two most common symptoms of acute gastritis. The pain often aggravates after eating food.
Other symptoms of acute gastritis include:
- Loss of appetite
- Dark blood in stool or vomiting of blood (caused due to gastrointestinal bleeding)
Normal ageing often results in depletion of mucosa and is a common cause of chronic gastritis in elder people.
Chronic gastritis is also caused due to prolonged intake of alcohol, tobacco, tea, coffee, anti-inflammatory drugs and other irritants.
It can also be caused due to bacterial infection (generally helicobacter pylori) or result from other underlying diseases like peptic ulcer, gastroesophageal reflux and some auto immune disease.
Chronic gastritis shows similar symptoms to acute gastritis (heartburn and pain in abdomen). In addition it has the following allied symptoms:
- Loss of appetite
- Chronic blenching and bloating
- Nausea and vomiting
- Loss of weight due to loss of appetite and nausea
- Headache, Weakness and dizziness
- Foul breath, bad taste in mouth.
- Pale complexion,
- Constipation,(sometimes there may be diarrhoea due to intestinal catarrah).
- Scanty urination
- Increased flow of saliva
- Mental depression
- Sometimes difficulty in breathing.