Gastritis

Gastritis

Gastritis is the inflammation of the stomach lining. The condition may be acute, with symptoms of Nausea and vomiting and/or Diarrhoea lasting for a few days (for example due to food poisoning) or chronic (with symptoms that are less severe but more persistent).

Symptoms

Causes

  • Bacterial infection (e.g. Helicobacter pylori)
  • Irritation from excessive consumption of coffee, alcohol, acidic or spicy foods
  • Smoking
  • Anti-inflammatory medications (e.g. aspirin and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs)
  • Stress may also cause or contribute to gastritis due to its inhibitory effect on gastric acid production

Nutritional & Herbal Solutions

  • Taking a broad-spectrum digestive enzyme supplement works with your body's own gastric secretions to enhance your digestion of proteins, fats, carbohydrates and cellulose, and consequently may reduce symptoms of flatulence and bloating. Look for a formula that also contains herbs such as ginger and peppermint, which are traditionally taken to relieve symptoms of Nausea, Indigestionflatulence and gastrointestinal cramping (colic)
  • Peppermint is also sometimes taken in conjunction with activated charcoal to provide natural relief from gas, wind, flatulence and bloating. The peppermint oil has a calming and anti-spasmodic effect on the gastrointestinal tract, while charcoal relieves discomfort by acting as a natural adsorbent, absorbing unwanted toxins and accumulated wind
  • Slippery elm bark contains mucilage, which forms a gel-like substance during the digestive process, soothing the mucous membranes of the digestive tract
  • Taking probiotic supplements such as Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus plantarum and Bifidobacterium longum helps restore the balance of the digestive bacteria and normalise bowel habits, so may be beneficial after bouts of Diarrhoea or vomiting. Oligofructose (sometimes called fructo-oligosaccharides) can be taken at the same time as probiotics to encourage and support re-colonisation by the friendly bacteria

Diet & Lifestyle advice

  • Severe, recurrent or persistent gastrointestinal pain, Nausea and vomiting, or Diarrhoea may be indicative of underlying disease, and require medical investigation. Medical attention should be sought immediately if blood is present in the faeces or vomit, or if you experience alternating bouts of Constipation and Diarrhoea
  • Acute episodes of vomiting or Diarrhoea may have serious consequences for babies, children, the elderly, or those with serious health problems. Seek medical advice immediately
  • If you suspect that your stomach symptoms are caused by prescribed medicines, consult your doctor
  • Infection with the bacterium Helicobacter pylori increases the risk of developing gastric ulcer, and consequently requires professional treatment.
  • When Diarrhoea or vomiting are present, drink at least two litres of water every day, and even more if necessary to guard against dehydration. An electrolyte-replacement formula is highly recommended, especially for children
  • Don't smoke, and avoid caffeine, alcohol, carbonated beverages, acidic juices, spicy and fatty foods - all of these are irritating to the stomach lining
  • Avoid large, heavy meals, and instead eat smaller portions more frequently, aiming for 5-6 small meals each day
  • Taking the time to chew your meals slowly prepares the stomach for the imminent arrival of food, and triggers the release of gastric acids and enzymes that will enable optimal digestion
  • Learn and practice meditation or relaxation techniques in order to improve your ability to cope with Stress
  • Acute cases of gastritis with symptoms of vomiting and Diarrhoea may be infectious. Practicing good hygiene helps prevent the spread of infection

If symptoms persist consult your healthcare professional. Information provided is of a general nature and should not replace that of your healthcare professional.

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