Gastritis simply means the inflammation of the gastric wall leading to symptoms such as dull aching abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting which is usually associated with meal intake. The cause of gastritis is due to an imbalance between the protective and aggressive factors towards gastritis. Protective factors of gastritis include, continuous mucus secretion, prostaglandin secretion, and increase in the blood flow around the gastric wall.
On the other hand, aggressive factors are like excessive secretion of hydrochloric acid and pepsin activity. Some risk factors towards this imbalance leading to gastritis are, excessive consumption of spicy food, steroids, infection by helicobacter pylori and food rich in potassium chloride. Here we will discuss some treatment options including the prevention of gastritis to help you get rid of this concerning problem of yours.
Prevention is Better Than Cure
Before moving to medical treatment options for gastritis, it is always possible to prevent the occurence of gastritis by following these simple methods. First make sure you are having your meals at the right time almost everyday, avoid skipping meals or taking meals at inappropriate times. This is because there is a regulation of hydrochloric acid secretion by your stomach according to hours. Any delay in taking meals can lead to effects of hydrochloric acid on the stomach wall although in normal circumstances your stomach wall is resistant to the acidity.
Other than that, avoid taking spicy food excessively, limit usage of steroids and painkillers. Your doctor might prescribe you with proton pump inhibitors together with your regular painkillers if you are about to take them for a prolonged duration. This proton pump inhibitor prevents secretion of hydrochloric acid unnecessarily.
Your doctor will most probably prescribe you with proton pump inhibitors if you are having symptoms of gastritis. Some examples of proton pump inhibitors are like omeprazole and pantoprazole. The act by inhibiting the action of proton channels in your gastric parietal cell which is responsible to secrete hydrochloric acid, thus reducing the effect to the gastric wall. Besides, another medication which is commonly used in clinical practice will be histamine receptor antagonists like ranitidine.
Ranitidine acts by reducing the gastric secretion by blocking the histamine action at the H2 receptor of the parietal cell on the gastric wall. The duration of this medication is about days to weeks and not for more than 6 weeks. Do take your medication according to your prescription duration and frequency to prevent any underdosing or overdosing.
Antacid as its name suggests antagonizes the action of the hydrochloric acid in the stomach. Common antacids used or prescribed to patients in clinical practice are sodium bicarbonate, calcium carbonate and absorbable antacids such as magnesium hydroxide and aluminium hydroxide. Gaviscon which contains sodium bicarbonate and calcium carbonate is usually sold over the counter.
This is rarely used in gastritis, however if your doctor diagnoses you with a helicobacter pylori infection causing peptic ulcer, you will be prescribed dual antibiotics for a period of time. It is taken together with your proton pump inhibitor for maximum effects. Common antibiotics used are such as metronidazole and amoxicillin, however this can vary according to the hospital or clinic guideline.
Helicobacter pylori can be detected through various tests conducted from a tissue sample via endoscope or a test called an urea breath test. You will be required to drink a tasteless and colourless liquid which contains a radioactive carbon. Next you will be asked to blow in a plastic bag which will be sealed after. Helicobacter pylori breaks down the radioactive carbon and if this is present in the sealed bag, it is an indication of infection.