Pain in the stomach can occur for various reasons. Sometimes it indicates a serious problem - the development of gastritis - an acute or chronic inflammatory process that affects the stomach mucous membrane and promotes its dystrophic changes.
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The most common risk factors of the disease:
- a bacterial species named Helicobacter pylori (H. Pylori), which also causes ulcerative lesions;
- non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (analgesic) drugs.
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Often, the causes of this condition also include overindulgence in alcohol and unhealthy food. Gastritis can be either acute or chronic. In some cases, it leads to a peptic ulcer that increases the risk of developing gastric cancer. It is often accompanied by other health problems, such as skin problems and kidney dysfunction.
Symptoms and additional factors
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In some cases, the disease can be asymptomatic. Its obvious manifestations include:
- stomach ache;
- abdominal discomfort.
Less apparent signs include bloating, belching, indigestion, and decreased appetite.
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Do not confuse it with a usual stomach upset, but also don’t delay a visit to the doctor any longer if these symptoms persist for a week or more. It is also necessary to pay attention to what makes the condition worse: consumption of some products, medications, etc. Particularly alarming signs include the appearance of blood in the vomit and stool, and the discoloration of the latter.
In addition to the two main causes of gastritis, there are several other risk factors that contribute to its development.
- Age. With years the gastric mucosa tends to degenerate by itself. Elderly people are also more prone to autoimmune diseases and a Helicobacter pylori infection.
- Stress. Suffered surgical interventions, injuries, burns or severe infections provoke the development of autoimmune gastritis, in which the body produces cells that attack the mucous membrane.
- Some diseases. Gastritis can become a complication of parasitic infections, HIV, AIDS, Crohn's disease.
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Revision of the diet
In the presence of gastritis, the diet should be healthy and based on high-fiber foods. It is recommended to include the following products in the diet:
- yogurts and other low-fat sour milk products;
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You should minimize the consumption of the following products, or eliminate them completely:
- carbonated drinks;
- fat, fried, and spicy food;
- allergenic products;
- fruits, vegetables, juices that contain citric acid.
Treatment and prevention
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When making this diagnosis, a doctor will examine the clinical evidence, the family history and, probably, prescribe additional examinations.
- Endoscopy is usually conducted to visualize the condition of the mucosa. In some cases, a biopsy is also prescribed.
- The blood test can reveal the presence of Helicobacter pylori and anemia, which requires adjustments in treatment.
- The stool test can show the presence of blood in its composition, which is a sign of gastritis.
When treating gastritis, anti-acidic drugs and diet are usually recommended. When the cause of the disease is Helicobacter pylori or anemia, the doctor can prescribe antibiotics in combination with heartburn-removing medications or vitamin B12, respectively.
To prevent gastritis it is recommended to:
- maintain personal hygiene- wash hands and food, use clean dishes;
- avoid intoxication, exposure to radiation and chemicals;
- adhere to the principles of healthy nutrition.
Even though stomach ache can be caused by other relatively harmless factors, it shouldn’t be ignored. In most cases, gastritis, acute and chronic, is well treatable in case of early detection. You just need to listen to the signals of your body.
This article is solely for informational purposes. Do not self-diagnose or self-medicate, and in all cases consult a certified healthcare professional before using any information presented in the article. The editorial board does not guarantee any results and does not bear any responsibility for any harm that may result from using the information provided in the article.