Erosive Gastritis is a very discomforting stomach condition that affects many people around the world, especially alcoholics and long-time drug users. Read and find all about the causes, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of this condition.
What is Erosive Gastritis?
Gastritis is a disorder characterized by an inflammation of the inner lining of the stomach. Erosive Gastritis is a type of rare Gastritis marked by erosion or wearing out of the inner lining of the stomach which gives rise to lesions. Prolonged suffering from this disorder may lead to formation of ulcers and irritation of the upper lining of the stomach by gastric juices. In most cases, this condition develops slowly. Sometimes, however, it may occur drastically and can affect even the healthy population.
Erosive Gastritis Types
Know about the main types of Erosive Gastritis.
Antral Erosive Gastritis
In this type, certain abnormal stimulus gives rise to Metaplasia where the mucosal lining of the stomach is replaced by large intestinal tissues. Absorption of food starts taking place directly in the stomach and leads toheartburn.
Acute Erosive Gastritis
In this type, a wide range of factors or agents lead to severe damage of the mucosal or stomach lining.
Chronic Erosive Gastritis
In this type, the Gastritis prevails for a prolonged time and can be due to some other intestinal disorders.
Chronic Non erosive Gastritis
In this type normally no erosion or abrasion of the stomach lining takes place. It happens usually due to any abdominal bacterial infection.
Acute Stress Erosive Gastritis
In this type the Gastritis may occur due to any injury or surgery in the stomach which may often damage the internal lining of the stomach.
Erosive Gastritis Symptoms
In most cases of the condition, no symptoms are observed. Patients themselves have no clue about their disease and slowly become victims of this silent killer. However under severe conditions the patients undergo upper abdominal pain which may vary from feeble to needlelike.
Some the symptoms largely observed are:
Dyspepsia or Heartburn
Inflammation in the stomach lining makes sufferers experience a burning sensation in the upper abdomen or chest due to backward flow of stomach acid.
Patients always have uneasiness which often triggers vomiting sensation.
Patients undergo slight loss in their body weight due to improper digestion of the food consumed.
The color of the vomit may be clear, yellow, green or blood-laden based on the degree of the inflammation.
Sometimes the patients may pass blood-laden stools due to bleeding in the stomach.
Patients often suffer from a sensation of heaviness in the stomach even if they have little or no food. This normally happens due to presence of gas which fills up the stomach.
There is always a tendency to expel the excess air forming within the stomach. However, burping does not abate the pain completely.
Erosive Gastritis Causes
Know about the causes of various types of Erosive Gastritis.
Acute Erosive Gastritis Causes
This occurs when the mucosal lining of the stomach starts wearing out. This is usually related to the consumption or use of:
- Excessive alcohol
- Non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID)
NSAID’s inhibits the function of cyclooxygenase-1, an enzyme responsible for the formation of Eicosanoids (signaling molecules that immune the body against any inflammation) in the stomach. In the absence ofEicosanoids, peptic ulcers or lesions develop. Regular intake of aspirin often blocks the function of prostaglandin which is responsible for regulation of inflammatory mediation.
In some cases, localized and diffused Hemorrhage also takes place. This may sometimes penetrate other organs as well.
Chronic Erosive Gastritis Causes
Autoimmune disorders may lead to this condition. Normally the immune system protects the body from various diseases by preparing proteins and antibodies against the foreign elements entering the body. But sometimes the same system attacks the tissues of the stomach lining by treating it as a foreign body and destroys it.
Bile juice which is secreted by the liver into the small intestine to carry out the digestion process may sometimes enter the stomach instead. This results in erosion of the stomach lining causing Gastritis.
Digestive disorders like Crohn’s disease or pernicious anemia may give rise to Erosive Gastritis. These disorders affect the digestive tract which starts from the mouth to the anus (opening of the digestive tract for expulsion of bowel/stool).
HIV/AIDS, liver/kidney failure are also responsible for Gastritis.
Chronic Non erosive Gastritis Causes
Helicobacter pylori infection is the root cause of Chronic Non erosive Gastritis. Here Helicobacter pylori are bacteria that infect the stomach lining and destroy it. It is a transmittable disease and spreads from person to person. Contaminated food or water may also affect the people especially in poor hygienic places.
Acute Stress Erosive Gastritis Causes
Choleric illness, internal injuries, burns or extensive surgery may cause acute wearing out of the stomach lining and often denoted as Stress Gastritis.
Erosive Gastritis Diagnosis
Patients are always diagnosed based on the symptoms, medical history and diagnostic tests like:
Upper Gastrointestinal Endoscopy
Here a thin tube with a small camera fixed at the end, called as endoscope is infused into the stomach through the mouse or nose. The endoscope examines the esophagus (food pipe), stomach and upper region of the small intestine for any kind of inflammation, lesions/ulcers or erosions.
This is often done alongside endoscopy where small samples of damaged stomach tissues are sent to the laboratory. The tissues are minutely examined for any kind of lesions or erosion.
This can be done to check the presence of Helicobacter pylori bacteria or blood cell count. Presence of low level of Hemoglobin may indicate pernicious anemia caused due to excessive bleeding in the stomach lining. Sometimes disorders in the liver, kidney, gall bladder or pancreas can also be detected as these are also related to Gastritis.
Many methods are included under urinalysis like:
Urine test strip
A test strip is used to measure or detect leukocytes, proteins or blood as in this case.
This helps in detecting presence of blood cells which is directly linked to abnormality in the abdominal or intestinal region.
A microbiological culture of urine sample is done to detect the presence of Helicobacter pylori bacteria.
This is done to detect the damaged red blood cells in the urine.
This is done in order to detect presence of blood in the stool as result of bleeding in the stomach.
This is usually done to detect any ulcers or gaps in the stomach lining.
Upper Gastrointestinal Series
In this test, barium is given to the patient orally which is a contrasting liquid. The digestive tract becomes visible when subjected to an X-ray in order to detect any erosions or ulcers.
Erosive Gastritis Treatment
Treatment consists of plain medication depending on the severity of the disease, such as:
Antacids neutralize the stomach acids and give quick relief from mild gastritis. They are normally taken to abate heartburn in the stomach. Antacids like aspirin, sodium bicarbonate, Maalox and Rolaids are commonly used. Some of its side effects include Diarrhea and constipation.
Histamine 2 (H2) blockers
Famotidine and Rantidine are used to diminish the acid production in the stomach.
Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs)
They are more effective than H2 blockers to decrease the acid production in the stomach. Omeprazole, Lansoprazole, Pantoprazole, Rabeprazole, Esomeprazole and Dexlansoprazole are generally used drugs.
Additional treatments include complete stoppage or reduction of usage of NSAID’s in order to prevent further damage to the mucous lining of the stomach. Doctors may advice to replace the NSAID’s with another set of different medication like PPI’s. Helicobacter pylori infection should be completely eradicated even if the affect is mild in the patients. If left untreated, chances of development of cancer or ulcers may happen. Triple therapy which is a combination of a PPI and two antibiotics (amoxicillin and clarithromycin) is a very common treatment followed by a stool test to confirm the eradication.
Erosive Gastritis Diet
Apart from the medication a well balanced diet is a must in order to handle Erosive Gastritis and ulcers.
High fat content foods takes longer time to digest and can breed mucous irritation in the stomach. High fat red meat and fried food should be replaced with leaner foods like baked, roasted or boiled meat and fish. The meat should be chewed properly to make the digestion process easier.
Low fat dairy products
Dairy products like milk, cheese, butter are good for the stomach but low saturated fat should be opted.
Caffeinated drinks like tea, coffee, soda should not be taken so often and if possible should be completely eliminated from the diet. Citrus fruits like tomato, orange and lemon should also not be consumed as it speeds up the damage of the stomach lining. Bland foods like rice, breads must be eaten instead.
Foods like grains and beans should be consumed as they are rich in fiber. Whole grains are preferred over refined grains.
Fruits and Vegetables
Apples, bananas, pears, green vegetables, carrots are very good for the stomach and inhibit the bacterial infections.
A strict timetable for the meals should be followed everyday and fillers (small snacks) are always advisable as it keeps the stomach full between two meals. Patients should also make some changes in their lifestyle.They should avoid stressful conditions as much as possible. They should also minimize or completely stop smoking and excessive consumption of alcohol which are considered to be potential factors for giving rise to Erosive Gastritis.