Gastritis is an inflammation of the gastric mucosa and has many possible causes. The most common symptom is epigastric discomfort. Other symptoms include nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite and bloating.
The most common symptom of gastritis is epigastric pain which is often described as burning by patients. Sometimes, this burning pain extends up to the sternum. There may also be nausea and vomiting, feeling of fullness, easy satiety, hiccups and flatulence. Symptoms like bleeding occur when complications set in and they could be accompanied by symptoms of anemia. They usually manifest as blood in stool or coffee stained vomitus .
The treatment of gastritis can either be medical or surgical. Medical treatment involves identifying the root cause of gastritis and eradicating it as well as instituting supportive treatment. Supportive treatment involves setting up an IV line to replace lost fluid and electrolytes for patients who are vomiting and blood transfusion for anemic patients .
Drugs treatments are targeted at reducing acid secretion, increasing mucosal resistance and eradicating infectious organisms. They include:
Surgical intervention is rare and mostly involves resection and it is limited to cases of phlegmonous gastritis .
The cause could be infective or non-infective. The infective causes could be bacteria, Helicobacter pylori is the commonest of this group. It is also the commonest cause of gastritis. Others infective causes include viruses, fungi, mycobacteria and parasites.
Non-infective causes include drugs, the most implicated drugs here are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen. Other non-infective causes are stress, food poison, food allergy, radiation, bile, autoimmune diseases, ischemia, uremia and trauma. It could also be autoimmune .
Gastritis is a curable condition and it is treatable as soon as the cause can be determined. The incidence ad prevalence as well as distribution among age, race and gender is largely dependent on the cause of gastritis. The acute form affects both sexes equally and affects all age groups. It is has a slightly higher prevalence in blacks and Hispanics.
The chronic form also has no sexual predilection and affects all age groups although it usually begins to manifest after childhood.
It is important to note that about half of the world’s population is infected with Helicobacter pylori which is the number one cause of gastritis with the underdeveloped world contributing a large percentage. Not all of them are however symptomatic .
The gastric mucosa is usually kept intact by an equilibrium of the aggressive stomach acid forces and the forces of the protective gastric mucosal barrier. As a rule, anything that increases the force of the acid or reduces the defenses of the barrier such that the acid overwhelms the protective barrier would lead to gastritis and this could happen suddenly or over time.
Examples of substances that increase the acidic contents are bile and pancreatic acids. Occasionally, they reflux into the stomach overwhelming the stomach mucus. NSAIDs act by inhibiting prostaglandin synthesis. Prostaglandin is necessary for formation of the gastric mucosal lining. Effects like radiation and ischemia affect the mucus producing cells in the stomach wall by killing them thereby reducing the capacity of the stomach to defend itself against acids.
Helicobacter pylori has a different pathway however. When a person is infected, the bacteria finds its way to the stomach wall where it colonizes and begins to form a substance known as urease. Urease is an enzyme that protects the bacteria from stomach acids by breaking urea down to the more alkaline ammonia while it causes a severe inflammatory reaction in the stomach wall .
Gastritis is a fairly common condition and is usually classified as acute or chronic and erosive or non-erosive. It can either affect the whole stomach or part of it. However, all cases present with the same set of symptoms, regardless of the underlying etiology .
Gastritis is a condition that result when the walls of the stomach are either partially or wholly inflamed.
It could be acute (occurring suddenly) or chronic (occurring over time) and causes of this include infections from bacteria, the commonest one being Helicobacter pylori. Other infective agents could be viruses, fungi, parasites and mycobacterium. Other causes are prolonged used of the pain relieving NSAIDs like ibuprofen, exposure to radiation, injuries, stress and food allergy and food poison. Sometimes the body cells attacking itself can lead to gastritis .
Signs and symptoms
The most common symptom is a burning pain at the upper part of the abdomen, it can also be felt in the middle of the chest. This pain is usually worse after eating. Other symptoms are nausea, vomiting, feeling of full abdomen, inability to eat normally, and passing of gas. Sometimes, vomitus or stool might be blood stained and this is a sign of internal bleeding.
Many tests would be carried out. They include blood tests, urine tests and stool tests to test for bacteria and blood. Imaging tests like X-ray (including special x-rays) and CT scan might be carried out. A live view of the stomach wall might also be done using an endoscope.
Treatment is usually with drugs and often requires a combination of drugs. Surgery is required only in rare types and when complication arises .