Inflammation of the gastric mucosa (gastritis), also gastric catarrh, is a disease of the gastric mucosa. As the disease progresses, inflammation develops in the stomach. Older people in particular suffer from gastritis. Inflammation of the gastric mucosa can be both acute and chronic.
What is inflammation of the stomach lining (gastritis)?
According to Phonejust, inflammation of the gastric mucosa is also referred to as gastritis in medical jargon and describes an inflammation of the mucous membrane of the stomach. It can be an acute illness that subsides, but it can also be a chronic condition. The most common symptom is moderate to severe abdominal pain, which often leads to misdiagnosis.
In some cases, the pain extends below the breastbone, which is why the heart is often suspected as the trigger. It is typical that the symptoms improve for a short time after eating. Bloody vomiting, tarry stool and anemia are also typical symptoms. Watery diarrhea, nausea and loss of appetite indicate the chronic form.
Gastritis or inflammation of the gastric mucosa is divided into four types that describe the exact cause. Types A, B, C and R are known.
Type A gastritis is an autoimmune disease. The acid-producing parietal cells are attacked and the pH value in the stomach rises. This also increases the production of gastrin and there is a risk of carcinoma formation.
Type B gastritis results from bacterial infection and is the most common form. The bacteria cause chronic stomach ulcers, which can develop into stomach cancer. This form of gastritis is usually localized at the outlet of the stomach.
Type C gastritis is a chemical disease. It can be caused by bile in the stomach, for example. Various medications such as painkillers such as diclofenac, aspirin or ibuprofen, as well as antibiotics can also be identified as triggers for such gastritis. In some cases, heavy alcohol consumption or the use of tobacco can also be identified as a cause.
Type R gastritis is rarely found in standard medical works. She describes gastritis caused by frequent heartburn. This causes irritation of the mucous membrane and leads to the well-known symptoms or other complications.
Typical Symptoms & Signs
Inflammation of the gastric mucosa typically manifests itself as pain and a strong burning sensation in the upper abdomen. These symptoms are accompanied by nausea, vomiting and indigestion.
In acute gastritis, severe stomach and back pain occurs, which is usually accompanied by a sensitivity to pressure in the stomach. In addition, there is an increasing loss of appetite or a feeling of fullness. Bloating and belching may also occur. The signs of illness are strongest after meals and usually occur in phases. Chronic gastritis is often completely symptom-free.
The symptoms develop insidiously, often over months or even years, and are not noticed until late. Possible signs of chronic inflammation of the gastric mucosa are non-specific symptoms in the upper abdomen, such as burning and pain. A belching and feeling of fullness after eating is characteristic.
The symptoms appear especially after eating hard-to-digest food and subside after a few minutes. Externally, gastritis is initially not recognizable. Weight loss can occur as the disease progresses, and patients often appear sickly and emaciated. If left untreated, the symptoms become more severe and, over time, cause further diseases and disorders of the gastrointestinal tract.
course of the disease
Gastritis or inflammation of the gastric mucosa is initially accompanied by non-specific abdominal pain (stomach ache). These can extend below the breastbone.
If you stick to it, gastritis can go away on its own within a few days. In severe cases of the acute form, however, bloody vomiting, tarry stools or symptoms of anemia appear, which signal that a doctor’s visit is due.
In the chronic form of gastritis, the symptoms are somewhat more moderate or not noticeable at all.
It comes to watery diarrhea, nausea or loss of appetite, often also to anemia.
The course of the disease is different in that the symptoms keep coming back. The time between them varies from person to person.
The possible complications of gastritis differ depending on the trigger of the condition. Type A gastritis, for example, can lead to the formation of (mostly harmless and easy to control) carcinomas. Transitions to gastric carcinoma are, however, still possible.
In addition, the gastric mucosal cells are gradually depleted. The lack of parietal cells ensures a reduced absorption of vitamin B12, which can lead to a special form of anemia. The many subsequent symptoms (fatigue, digestive problems, tendency to collapse) increase the mortality rate tremendously if left untreated.
Type B gastritis can cause ulcers, with one percent affecting the stomach itself. Ulcers can also occur in the duodenum (five percent of cases). The risk of gastric cancer is considered to be increased. In a few cases, the resulting ulcers develop into tumors.
Blood disorders also occur. This can lead to a lack of platelets, which is particularly dangerous in the case of injuries. Iron deficiency and its consequences also occur.
Type C gastritis can lead to complications due to frequent and severe bleeding, which are mainly due to blood loss and inflammation that is difficult to control. All forms of gastritis can become chronic. In addition, the frequency of heartburn increases the risk of a pathological change in the esophagus (Barrett’s esophagus).
When should you go to the doctor?
If the person concerned suffers from persistent or increasing pain in the upper abdomen, he needs medical care. If you experience severe pain, cramps or a burning sensation in your stomach, you should see a doctor immediately. Nausea, vomiting and disturbances within the digestive tract are signs of an irregularity that needs to be investigated and treated. If you experience a loss of appetite, weight loss, a feeling of fullness, repeated belching or gas, you should see a doctor.
If the person concerned adopts a relieving attitude and can no longer fulfill everyday obligations as usual, a doctor’s visit is necessary. The cause must be determined so that treatment can be initiated. If the symptoms increase immediately after eating, this is an indication of a health impairment. There is a need for action, since inflammation of the gastric mucosa often leads to a further deterioration in the general state of health in the days that follow.
If you have pressure sensitivity in the upper abdomen or back problems, you need a doctor. If performance decreases, if you feel ill or if there is a feeling of inner weakness, you should see a doctor. Behavioral problems, irritability, an acute decrease in well-being are other symptoms that indicate an illness and should be examined by a doctor.
Treatment & Therapy
Acute inflammation of the gastric mucosa (gastritis) often resolves on its own within a few days or on the same day. If it lasts longer, drugs are prescribed that inhibit stomach acid production. If there is a bacterial infection, it is treated with antibiotics. Alcohol, cigarettes and caffeine should be avoided during gastritis – milk should also be avoided if antibiotics are given.
Chronic gastritis, such as type A, does not always need treatment. However, if bleeding occurs, it must be sealed as part of a gastroscopy or an operation. Medicines that slightly inhibit the production of gastric acid help against symptoms of gastritis.
Outlook & Forecast
The further development of gastric mucosal inflammation is linked to the present disease trigger of the cause. In the case of a bacterial infection, medical care usually leads to a significant reduction in symptoms within a few days or weeks. Recovery is usually achieved after about ten days. The patient can then be discharged from the treatment without any symptoms. In the course of life, a new bacterial infection can occur, for which the prognosis is also favorable.
If the bacterial infection was triggered by a stomach ulcer or cancer, this cause must be cured so that the inflammation of the gastric mucosa also recedes. The earlier the tissue change is diagnosed and treated, the better the future prospects. In an advanced stage, a life-threatening condition can develop.
If an autoimmune disease is present, the prospects worsen. In most cases, lifelong medical therapy is necessary to achieve improvement in health. However, the risk of developing carcinoma is increased in these patients. In the case of a chemically caused illness, the lifestyle has to be changed in most cases. Recovery is possible once the irritants are no longer consumed. It is therefore necessary to abstain from alcohol or tobacco in order to be free of symptoms.
The treatment and further course depend heavily on the time of diagnosis, so that a general prediction is not always possible. Depending on the physical condition of the person affected, an inflammation of the gastric mucosa can be life-threatening in the worst case. As a rule, regular visits are made to the treating doctor in the case of gastric mucosal inflammation in order to clarify the healing process. Aftercare is more like preventive care. Acidic and difficult-to-digest foods should be eliminated from the menu for the time of treatment, balanced meals and moderate exercise boost the recovery process. Any complications can be recognized and treated early. If the inflammation of the gastric mucosa persists and is not treated, this can lead to weight loss and permanent damage to the mucous membrane. In this case, the cause should be investigated in more detail.
You can do that yourself
In the case of gastritis, some self-help measures and home remedies can be used. The first thing to do is to change your eating habits. Patients should primarily eat basic foods such as steamed vegetables, whole grains, rice, low-acid fruit and nuts. Greasy foods and drinks should be avoided, as well as overly spicy, hot or cold foods. Very important: It is best to eat many small meals throughout the day and chew each bite well. In addition, you should drink a lot. However, no alcohol or caffeine, just soothing teas or still water.
In addition to these dietary measures, a stomach cure in the form of green tea, chamomile or ginger helps. An effective home remedy for gastritis is turmeric. Mallow leaves and natural yoghurt also have a positive effect on the stomach and intestines. One of the oldest home remedies for gastritis, however, is the rolling cure, in which the patient lies alternately on his stomach and back after eating a food that is gentle on the stomach.
Bed rest and rest are also recommended. Physically strenuous activities should initially be avoided. It is better to recover from the illness slowly and to take it easy on the stomach. If symptoms persist, you should go to the doctor with an inflammation of the gastric mucosa.