July 2015

What you need to know about chronic gastritis

Gastritis describes a group of conditions that have one thing in common:  inflammation of the lining of the stomach. Gastritis occurs when the digestive juices in your stomach inflame and irritate your stomach lining. Acute gastritis is sudden, severe inflammation, while chronic gastritis is long-term inflammation that can last for years if left untreated.

The condition is often associated with ulcers and may increase your risk of stomach cancer.

Symptoms of this condition include stomach pain, indigestion, nausea, heartburn, loss of appetite and feeling too full (or bloated) after eating.

You should consult your doctor immediately if you have black stools, vomit blood or your stomach pain does not go away, as this could be a sign of internal bleeding in your stomach.

Causes of gastritis

Gastritis could be caused by:

  • Bacterial infection.
  • Drinking too much alcohol.
  • Use of street drugs, such as cocaine.
  • Taking certain medicines, such as aspirin or ibuprofen, regularly – rather take paracetamol if you need to take something for pain and/or stress.
  • Severe stress.

If you suffer from this condition, you should change your eating habits and avoid certain foods, such as citrus fruits and juices (citrus fruits are oranges, lemons and grapefruits), fried food, coffee, alcohol, spicy food and fizzy drinks.

Your diet should consist of low fat dairy products, lean meat (no fat), wholegrain foods, fruits and vegetables (not citrus fruits).

Changing your diet to include these foods may help, however, you should remember that different foods cause problems for different people. The only way to find out which foods irritate your stomach is by taking them out of your diet one by one.

Consult your doctor

If changing your diet does not help then it is best to make an appointment with your doctor. When you make the appointment ask if there is anything you need or must not do before seeing the doctor.

Write down all of your symptoms and the dates and times they occur. Also make a list of any medicines and supplements you are taking.

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