What is Gastritis?
Gastritis is an inflammation, irritation or erosion of the stomach mucosa. Gastritis is not one disease but a group of conditions, which are characterized by inflammation of the lining of the stomach. Gastritis can broadly be divided into acute gastritis and chronic gastritis.
Acute gastritis is a sudden inflammation of the lining of the stomach. Acute gastritis is a term covering a broad Spectrum of entities which include inflammatory changes in the gastric mucosa.
Inflammation of the whole stomach is called PANGASTRITIS and an inflammation of a part of stomach is called ANTRAL GASTRITIS.
Acute gastritis can divided into:
1. Erosive2. Non-erosive
Causes include medications, alcohol, eating or drinking corrosive substances, extreme physiological stress, and infections. Acute gastritis is often associated with a severe, acute illness, or trauma. The risk factors include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug use (NSAIDs), recent heavy alcohol use, and physiological stress such major surgery, head trauma, renal failure, liver failure, or respiratory failure.
Chronic gastritis is an inflammation of the lining of the stomach that occurs gradually and persists for a prolonged time. Chronic gastritis may be caused by prolonged irritation from the use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), infection with the bacteria Helicobacter pylori, pernicious anemia (an autoimmune disorder), degeneration of the lining of the stomach from age, or chronic bile reflux.
What are the Causes of Gastritis?
Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) that live deep in the mucosal layer, which coats the lining of the stomach. Although it’s not entirely clear how the bacteria are transmitted, it’s likely they spread from person to person through the oral-fecal route or are ingested in contaminated food or water. H. pylori infection frequently occurs in childhood and can last throughout life if untreated. It’s now known to be the primary cause of stomach ulcers and is a leading cause of gastritis. Long-term infection with the bacteria causes a widespread inflammatory response that leads to changes in the stomach lining. One of these changes is atrophic gastritis, a condition in which the acid-producing glands are slowly destroyed.
Bile reflux disease:
Bile helps in digestion of fat. The liver secrets bile and stores it in the gall bladder. After releasing from the gallbladder, the bile goes into the small intestine through biliary ducts; the pyloric valve prevents bile from flowing back into stomach from the small intestine. Dysfunction of the valve gives rise to back flow of bile into the stomach, leading to inflammation of the gastric mucosa.
Permicious anemia can result in atrophic gastritis. People with pernicious anemia may have gastric polyps and get gastric cancer and gastric carcinoid tumors twice as often than the normal population.
The immune system makes antibodies and other proteins that fight off infection and keep the body healthy. In some disorders, the body mistakenly targets one of its own organs as a foreign protein or infection. It makes antibodies against it and can severely damage or even destroy the organ. The stomach lining also may be attacked by the immune system leading to loss of the stomach cells. This causes acute and chronic inflammation which can result in a condition called pernicious anemia. The anemia occurs because the body no longer can absorb vitamin B12 due to a lack of a key stomach factor, destroyed by the chronic inflammation. A form of anemia that occurs when the stomach lacks a naturally occurring substance needed to properly absorb and digest vitamin B12. A lack of vitamin B12 may change the surface of the tongue and shrink or thin the stomach lining.
Regular use of pain relievers:
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) reduce prostaglandin which preserves the stomach mucosa thereby cause inflammation of stomach lining.
Severe stress due to major surgery, traumatic injury, burns or severe infections can cause gastritis as well as ulcers and stomach bleeding.
It can irritate and erode the gastric mucosa.
Cocaine damages the stomach lining and may lead to hemorrhage.
Radiation and chemotherapy:
Chemotherapy and radiation given for cancer can cause irreversible erosions of the stomach lining and destruction of acid-producing glands.
Gastritis may be associated with other medical conditions, including HIV/AIDS, parasitic infections, some connective tissue disorders, and liver or kidney failure.
What are the Signs and Symptoms of Gastritis?
The signs and symptoms of gastritis include:
- A gnawing or burning ache or pain in the upper abdomen that may become either worse or better after eating.
- Loss of appetite.
- Bloating: A feeling of fullness in upper abdomen after eating
- Weight loss.
- Belching: Belching either does not relieve the pain or relieves it only briefly.
- Nausea and vomiting: The vomit may be clear, green or yellow, blood-streaked, or completely bloody, depending on the severity of the stomach inflammation.
In more severe gastritis, bleeding may occur inside the stomach. Any of the following symptoms can be seen as well as those already mentioned.
- Pallor, sweating, and rapid (or “racing”) heart beat.
- Feeling faint or short of breath
- Chest pain or severe stomach pain
- Vomiting large amounts of blood
- Bloody bowel movements or dark, sticky, very foul-smelling bowel movements
How Gastritis is Diagnosed?
Gastritis is diagnosed on the basis of medical history and physical examinations of the patient and the following tests:
§ Blood tests. Blood test to detect presence of H. pylori antibodies. A positive test shows that you’ve come in contact with the bacteria at some time in your life, but it doesn’t necessarily indicate current infection. Blood tests can also check for anemia, which may result from stomach bleeding associated with gastritis.