Causes, Symptoms and Natural Remedies for Gastritis; Gastritis is inflammation or irritation of the lining of the stomach. It can occur suddenly (acute) lasting one to three days, or it can be chronic, lasting several days to weeks.
Types of gastritis
- Chronic gastritis develops gradually and causes long-term complications. Some people experience no noticeable symptoms for many years until other problems develop due to inflammation. Chronic gastritis causes a thinning of gastric mucosa and a gradual increase in inflammatory cells, which can also increase the chances of developing gastric cancer.
- Acute gastritis comes on suddenly and lasts for a shorter period of time — however it might still cause severe symptoms during an active episode. Symptoms might come and go depending on other lifestyle factors that affect the digestive system.
- Atrophic gastritis is a form of chronic gastritis that causes a gradual loss of gastric glandular cells, which are replaced with intestinal and fibrous tissues. As the gastric lining changes, the risk of malabsorption/nutrient deficiencies and autoimmune disorder reactions increases. Patients with chronic atrophic gastritis often develop low gastric acid output and hypergastrinemia, which can trigger anemia and tumor growth.
Causes, Symptoms and Natural Remedies for Gastritis
Signs and symptoms of gastritis
- Heartburn/indigestion (burning feeling in the stomach/chest)
- Nausea or vomiting (sometimes vomiting blood or “coffee” like material)
- Loss of appetite
- Abdominal pain and/or bloating
- Black, tarry stools
Major Causes of Gastritis
There are several reasons why a person could develop gastritis— chronic stress, for example, or an autoimmune disorder such as HIV, fungal infections, acid reflux disease, and more. But typically, gastritis symptoms start with one of four primary causes.
- Helicobacter pylori(H. pylori) bacteria. Up to 50 percent of the world’s population is infected with this bacteria, although most people do not experience symptoms or even know they have it. pylori can break down the lining of the stomach, causing gastritis and stomach ulcers.
- Conditions related to vitamin B12 deficiency. Vitamin B12 deficiency results when the gastrointestinal tract does not properly absorb vitamin B12, most likely due to chronic inflammation (gastritis). Therefore, the conditions that cause gastritis are the same as those that cause vitamin B12 deficiency: celiac disease (gluten sensitivity), Crohn’s disease, recent stomach surgery, recent infection, poor nutrition, thyroid disease, or pernicious anemia, a form of anemia that occurs when the stomach lacks a naturally-occurring substance called intrinsic factor needed to properly digest vitamin B12.
- Medication use. Sometimes, gastritis symptoms stem from taking medications that cause stomach problems or even stomach bleeding: aspirin, NSAIDs (ibuprofen or naproxen), prednisone, chemotherapy drugs, or others.
- Acidic drinks, spicy foods, and other food culprits. Drinks such as coffee, alcohol, juices with citric acids, and spicy foods such as hot peppers can cause exacerbation of gastritis symptoms. But the real “cause” of gastritis is a consistent diet of food “culprits” (listed below).
Gastritis vs. Ulcers: Their Differences
Stomach ulcers (also sometimes called peptic ulcers) and gastritis are caused by many of the same factors — however, symptoms and treatments can be somewhat different. One major difference between the two is that the inflammatory changes associated with gastritis are usually confined to the stomach and don’t spread to the small intestine, referred to as the duodenum. Ulcers, on the other hand, commonly affect more than just the stomach, including the duodenum and the esophagus.
Stomach ulcers/peptic ulcers are believed to be more common than gastritis, although there’s also some overlap between the two conditions. Estimates show that about 500,000 new cases of peptic ulcers are reported each year in the U.S. alone and that about one in every 10 adults will develop an ulcer in his or her lifetime. With both gastritis and stomach ulcers, the stomach lining may be “eaten away” and pain and burning can occur. This can lead to changes in appetite, weight and more.
Gastritis can sometimes cause stomach ulcer symptoms depending on if it’s erosive gastritis or nonerosive. Erosive gastritis can cause the stomach lining to wear away and ulcers or sores to form, while nonerosive gastritis causes inflammation but no ulcers. One thing that gastritis and ulcers have in common is that they are both sometimes triggered by infections caused by the bacteria Helicobacter pylori. Additionally, both are made worse by a poor diet, stress, autoimmune disorders and use of NSAIDs.
Natural Remedies for Gastritis
A Gastritis Diet Corrects the Root Causes of Gastritis
Rather than pop a purple pill to mask gastritis symptoms, a gastritis diet can heal the gut naturally. Adhering to a gastritis diet means eating a combination of healthy foods while simultaneously avoiding the food “culprits” on a daily basis; this is the key to alleviating gastritis symptoms permanently.
- Gastritis Diet: Eat foods that kill H. pyloribacteria.
- Broccoli. A nutrient in broccoli called sulphoraphane has been proven effective by medical research to kill H. pylori bacteria in the stomach lining. It even works at killing strains of H. pylori that have become resistant to antibiotic drugs. And, broccoli sprouts contain 20 to 50 times more sulphoraphane than the mature plant. If you do not like the taste of broccoli, you can purchase broccoli or sulphoraphane supplements online or at your local health food store. Since 50 percent of the world’s population has H. pylori–even though they may not know it –eating broccoli several times per week or taking supplements is recommended for everyone.
- Garlic. Garlic is a broad-spectrum antimicrobial and antifungal agent, and H. pylori bacteria are highly sensitive to it. However, some people with chronic heartburn do not react well to garlic. If this applies to you, try eating small amounts garlic first (or take garlic capsules) and gradually increase the amount to tolerance.
- Gastritis diet: Eat foods that heal the gut and help increase vitamin B12 absorption.
- Probiotics. Probiotics such as Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium species are beneficial bacteria that colonize the soft lining of the intestinal tract and thus heal the digestive system. Taking probiotics helps increase the gut’s ability to absorb and digest nutrients. For people who have gastritis and vitamin B12 deficiency (above), eating foods with probiotics (or taking probiotic supplements) with B vitamins can help tremendously. Foods that contain probiotics include organic yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, and sourdough bread.
- Gastritis diet: Eat foods that reverse damage from medication use and ease gastritis symptoms.
Again, probiotic-rich foods are the most beneficial to reverse any gut damage. In addition to probiotics, particular foods have been found to both heal the stomach and ease gastritis symptoms of nausea, stomach pain, burning, bloating, and heartburn:
- Apple cider vinegar
- Cranberry juice
- Pineapple (bromelain)
- Beet juice and/or carrot juice
- Green tea
Also, you’ll want to eat foods high in vitamin A: liver, carrots, greens, spinach, asparagus, sweet potatoes, peaches, and apricots. Vitamin A is essential for the healthy function of mucous membranes and tissue repair.
- Gastritis Diet: Avoid foods and beverages that exacerbate your gastritis symptoms.
Many people who suffer from gastritis know exactly which foods items exacerbate their symptoms, whether it’s coffee or chocolate, hot peppers or pasta.
If you don’t know which foods trigger your gastritis, then you need to find out. It’s easy to do—simply create a food diary. For two to four weeks, write down everything you eat or drink and note the exact date/time you eat it.
Simultaneously, write down anytime you experience gastritis symptoms. After your food diary has been completed, notice correlations between your food consumption and the symptoms you experienced. For example, do you develop nausea or heartburn an hour after eating pizza? Or, do you experience bloating and cramping the day after eating bread or sweets? Once you figure out your specific gastritis triggers, you’ll know exactly which foods or beverages you should avoid.
Follow a Healthy Gastritis Diet Permanently
Permanent gastritis relief and prevention will involve changing your lifestyle. While it’s not easy, with hard work, it can be accomplished!
On a daily basis, try following a gastritis diet that respects the integrity of the stomach lining. That is, eat whole foods with plenty of protein, natural fats, and fruits and vegetables, which provide your body with the needed nutrients to support healing.
And try to avoid the “food culprits” that can damage both your gut and your immune system:
- Dairy (other than organic yogurt)
- Processed foods
- Excessive coffee drinks
- Energy drinks
- Foods with trans fats