Chronic gastritis, like gastritis in general, is an inflammatory disease of the gastric mucosa. With weakened protection of the stomach, caustic acids damage its walls. The development of gastritis is accompanied by many factors, ranging from poor ecology to a state of stress. Gastritis can be called chronic when the inflammation of the stomach along with the symptoms regularly return and persist for a long time. This type of gastritis (chronic) is also accompanied by a noticeable decrease in immunity.
Treatment delayed for many months, or even years can be avoided if the acute form of the disease is caught, diagnosed, and treated in time. Therefore, it is strongly recommended to consult a specialist at the first signs.
Types of chronic gastritis
There are several types of chronic gastritis: catarrhal, fibrinous, corrosive, and phlegmonous gastritis.
- Type A gastritis
A disease that usually does not manifest itself clearly, so patients rarely immediately go to the doctor. It can be given out by periodic dull pain, heaviness after eating, flatulence, diarrhea, and an unusual taste in the mouth. Autoimmune gastritis (that’s what it’s called) refers to frequent diseases of the gastrointestinal tract. This type of gastritis provokes a deficiency of vitamin B12, wasting of the muscles of the stomach, reflux, and also violates the acidity of the stomach. All this leads to iron deficiency and its characteristic manifestations. If you find at least one of the symptoms, this is a signal for an immediate appeal to a gastroenterologist.
- Type B gastritis (antral gastritis)
Similar to symptoms of peptic ulcer (severe pain, especially at night, heartburn, vomiting). Antral gastritis is characterized by increased acidity. Often the cause of the disease is the bacterium Helicobacter pylori or any other infection that affects the gastric mucosa. In addition, with antral gastritis, the level of gastrin in the blood decreases, and the immune system functions as usual. This type of disease can occur in any age group, regardless of gender.
- Type C gastritis (reflux gastritis)
As a rule, it is manifested by pain after eating and during sleep. This type is found in 25% of chronic gastritis. Reflux gastritis is the reflux of contents from the duodenum into the stomach. This means that the walls of the stomach are not sufficiently protected and are exposed to the aggressive effects of bile acids, salts, and digestive enzymes. Therefore, damage and inflammation of the walls of the stomach occur.
See Also: What Is Superficial Gastritis?
Often the symptoms are mild, because of this, patients do not know about the existence of gastritis for a long time. The most effective way to prevent the disease is a regular examination by a gastroenterologist, even with minor symptoms.
- Menetrier’s disease (chronic hypertrophic polyp adenomatous gastritis, giant fold gastritis)
A disease characterized by a significant change in the gastric mucosa with the subsequent development of adenomas and cysts in it. This form of inflammation of the stomach is isolated in an independent disease. The mass and volume of the organ increase under the influence of various factors and the stomach lining are covered with a large amount of viscous mucus. The age of patients is usually 30-50 years, and men are 3 times more susceptible to the disease. The disease develops gradually and lasts for periods. In some patients, a gradual (over many years) decline in clinical manifestations is observed, after which the disease progresses to chronic atrophic gastritis.
Causes of chronic gastritis
Among the causes of chronic gastritis, external and internal factors of influence are distinguished.
- Disturbed diet and sleep (irregular eating, overeating, starvation)
- The use of “food garbage” (soda, packaged juices, fast food, sauces, etc.)
- Too hot/cold food can also develop a chronic form of gastritis, too hot tea is not good for the body
- Bad habits (alcohol, tobacco) also gradually destroy the health of the stomach
- Regular intake of medications often adversely affects the health of the digestive organ.
- The bacterium Helicobacter pylori strongly affect the gastric mucosa
- Nervous strains/stresses, etc. are not inferior in the cause of the disease.
- Diseases of the endocrine system, lungs
- Chronic infections in the throat
- Inflammatory diseases
- Allergic factors
- Genetic features
Symptoms of chronic gastritis
The symptoms are different for each type, but many of them are found in any gastritis. Almost every patient experiences pain in the stomach. Also, the symptoms are supplemented by heartburn, nausea, loss of appetite, vomiting, weight loss, discomfort, belching, the whiteness of the tongue, etc.
At least (often in more advanced forms), patients experience general ailments, such as: fever, weakness, dizziness, neuropsychiatric disorders, deficiency of B vitamins, and so on.
Therefore, when observing one of the above symptoms, you should immediately seek advice from a gastroenterologist.
Diagnosis of the disease
It is very important to correctly diagnose the disease in the early stages. It is equally important not to self-medicate and self-diagnose through symptoms on the Internet. You can harm yourself and make the condition worse.
First of all, the doctor examines the patient, takes an anamnesis, and, based on the first appointment, makes a preliminary diagnosis. Do not rush to be treated, because, for an accurate statement of the nature of the disease, careful laboratory tests are needed.
You need to take a blood test, urine, feces, and pass a breath test to detect the bacterium Helicobacter pylori.
Next, it is imperative to conduct a study of the stomach with the help of FGDS with a biopsy and cytological examination, as well as undergo an ultrasound scan of the liver, pancreas, and biliary tract.
Based on all of the above, the doctor gets a complete picture of the state of your gastrointestinal tract. Therefore, the correct treatment will be provided in the future.
Complications of chronic gastritis
Chronic gastritis can lead to significant damage to the mucous walls of the stomach, therefore, it will lead to serious diseases. Erosive lesions cause gastric ulcers and gastric bleeding. The chronic phase can lead to atrophy, death of healthy cells, and their replacement with cancerous ones.
All these are dangerous consequences of a neglectful attitude towards your body. They can occur with self-medication, no treatment, and non-compliance with the recommendations of the attending physician. Do not allow this and contact the specialists at the first signals.
Treatment of chronic gastritis
With an exacerbation of the chronic form of gastritis, inpatient treatment is carried out with further treatment at home. The duration of treatment will depend on the complexity and neglect of the disease.
One of the most important rules in treatment is adherence to a sufficiently strict diet regimen. Nutrition should be fractional (5-6 times a day), not irritating the gastric mucosa (diet No. 1 is often prescribed). Restrictions are prescribed by the attending physician, depending on the neglect of the disease. If the patient is in remission, then the diet should contain a sufficient amount of proteins, fats, carbohydrates, as well as vitamins, and minerals.
The next item, without which a full-fledged treatment cannot take place, is medicines. The most important step is to eliminate the bacterium Helicobacter pylori (if present). It is also necessary to remove the symptoms (to get rid of pain and discomfort), after which it is necessary to stimulate the healing of the mucosa.
Helicobacter pylori is a fairly “tenacious” bacterium that is resistant to antibiotics, so a combination of three to four drugs is prescribed to destroy it.
For prevention during the period of remission, it is recommended to undergo a course of physiotherapy, laser therapy, and mud therapy, which have a good effect on the mucous membrane.
To achieve a longer period of remission, patients have been prescribed complex treatment, the dosage, and duration of which depends on the type of gastritis, its stage, and neglect.
Is it possible to use traditional medicine? Yes, but keep in mind that these are only auxiliary tools, not a complete treatment. A complex of folk remedies should also be discussed with the attending physician, who will give approval, or explain that such methods will be useless.
Folk remedies will be good during the period of remission of chronic gastritis to maintain health. Some help heals, and some act as antiseptics.
- Potato juice. Half an hour before meals, you can take a tablespoon of potato juice. Juice must be fresh, not harvested. Trace elements and amino acids stop inflammatory processes, neutralize heartburn, normalize acidity, and restore damaged areas of the mucosa.
- Honey. In a glass, you need to dissolve 1-1.5 tablespoons of honey and drink in small sips an hour before meals. It improves the active activity of the stomach, normalizes the production of gastric juice, improves the digestibility of food, and reduces the activity of Helicobacter.
- A decoction of chamomile, dill, yarrow, and plantain. Pour boiling water over 1 tablespoon of herbs, insist, and take 100 ml. every 3 hours. Plants relieve inflammation, and pain and envelop the gastric mucosa.
- Aloe. Drink 10 mg. juice 3-4 times a day before meals. Aloe improves the production of choleretic juice, improves digestion, and also has a laxative effect, preventing and treating constipation.
- Sea buckthorn oil. Drink on an empty stomach 1 tablespoon three times a day.
- Flax seeds. Flax grains are oily, so the decoction is viscous and thick, almost like jelly. It envelops the walls of the stomach, reduces inflammation, and relieves spasms and pain. Do not eat raw grains can irritate the stomach.
The result of the treatment will depend, firstly, on the stage of the disease, and secondly, on how the person follows the doctor’s recommendations. With simpler forms, the complete removal of symptoms will take about a month, and further well-being will depend on how well you do what the specialist said.
If the disease has not become as serious as the development of tumors and large ulcers, the patient has a great chance to forget about unpleasant symptoms once and for all. If the disease goes too far, requiring surgery, then there is a need to fight harder for health.
Patients suffering from chronic gastritis should be monitored and tested at least 2 times a year, even if nothing bothers them. This needs to be done with any other chronic disease because all the organs of our body are connected.
Sanatorium treatment is recommended to improve the condition. But the most important rule of prevention is to maintain a healthy lifestyle. This means that you need to fight against wrong eating habits, with the consumption of alcohol, and tobacco. It is advisable to clean the food and improve digestion. Follow the rules of hygiene and do not forget about them, wherever you are. It is important to pay attention to the psychological state.
By following these rules, you will not know what gastritis is.
Pay due attention to your body, do not ignore even the slightest signals. Do not wait for him to “shout” for help with advanced forms of the disease and severe symptoms. Remember that health must be responsible for the consequences. Conduct body diagnostics conscientiously and promptly. And then your body will thank you!