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Gastritis: Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment Tips

Gastritis is a common gastrointestinal disease that affects millions of people. In this article, the SABEResPODER team will give you tips on prevention and home remedies to reduce the pain and discomfort caused by this disease. If you experience any of these symptoms, it’s always best to see a doctor or medical professional immediately.

What is Gastritis? 

Gastritis is a gastrointestinal condition that occurs when the stomach lining becomes inflamed. It is a common condition with a wide range of causes that can vary from psychological to a bad reaction to food or infection. For most people, gastritis isn’t serious and improves quickly when treated (acute gastritis.) In some cases, it can last despite receiving treatment (chronic gastritis).

Symptoms and Diagnosis

Gastritis doesn't always have symptoms. The most commonly reported symptoms are: 

  • Pain or burning in the upper abdomen that’s made worse or relieved by eating 
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • The sensation of “fullness” in the upper abdomen. 

There are three types of tests your doctor can perform to diagnose gastritis.

  • Tests to detect Helicobacter pylori bacteria. Your doctor may run tests to determine if your digestive tract contains H. pylori bacteria. This bacterium can be detected in a blood, stool, or breath test that involves having the patient drink a clear, tasteless liquid with radioactive carbon. H. pylori bacteria react to this fluid in your stomach, creating gas that can be detected on your breath.
  • Gastric endoscopy. To perform an endoscopy, your doctor inserts a flexible tube equipped with a miniature camera (called an endoscope) down your throat and into your esophagus, stomach, and small intestine. If a swollen area is found, a small sample of tissue can be removed for analysis.
  • X-ray of your upper digestive system. Sometimes called a barium swallow, this test involves drinking a barium contrast fluid that coats the digestive tract, making soft organs visible on an x-ray. This procedure is safe, noninvasive, and can be used to diagnose ulcers and inflammation in the stomach lining.

9 Home Remedies for Alleviating Gastritis

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If you suffer from gastritis and have persistent symptoms, it’s always best to seek advice from your doctor. Keep in mind that with telemedicine and programs like PODERsalud, you can consult a health professional from the comfort of your home for an affordable price. However, if the discomfort is recent or if you’re already being treated for gastritis, the following home remedies can help relieve your symptoms.

Ginger

Ginger’s anti-inflammatory properties are well-documented. It also contains compounds called gingerols and shogaols that help regulate bowel movements. To relieve gastritis, you can make an infusion by dunking a few slices of ginger in a cup of boiling water for three minutes. Then strain the infusion and drink it hot or cold twice a day. If you like, you can also add a little honey to sweeten it.

Licorice

Licorice is another root with beneficial properties for the digestive system. The way the infusion is prepared is similar to ginger: you let a teaspoon of powder or pieces of licorice rest in a cup of boiling water for ten minutes, remove the leftover material with a strainer and drink the infusion.

Pink peppercorn

Pink peppercorn, also known as Schinus terebinthifolius, has analgesic, anti-inflammatory, purifying, and antacid properties. They fight gastritis and ulcers by reducing stomach acidity and helping combat H. pylori bacteria. A scientific study found that consuming pink peppercorn is as effective as omeprazole for treating gastritis.

Chamomile

Chamomile is another excellent infusion to reduce gastritis symptoms. This plant has been traditionally used by many cultures to treat various types of inflammation, especially digestive-related symptoms.

Ginseng

The ginseng plant has shown to have positive effects in alleviating H. pylori bacteria-associated gastritis. In the U.S., this ingredient is typically found in capsules or extracts of various strengths, so we recommend taking it according to the instructions on the package. If you find fresh or dried ginseng, you can brew it in the same way as licorice, ginger, or other infusions. 

Milk with olive oil

Drinking a cup of warm milk with two tablespoons of olive oil (article in Spanish only) can help reduce gastritis symptoms. If you are lactose intolerant, however, this remedy can cause more harm than good, so we only recommended for people who don’t have problems digesting dairy.

Honey

In addition to being a sweetener, honey can be consumed on its own to treat gastritis due to its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. You can take three tablespoons of honey throughout the day or drink it with milk or warm water, preferably on an empty stomach.

Oatmeal

Oats contain beta-glucans—compounds that help the body fight pathogens like H. pylori bacteria. Eating oats is recommended for maintaining the stomach and intestine’s good bacteria balance, helping relieve gastritis. You can eat it by mixing a few tablespoons of oatmeal flakes with milk or hot water. Its effects are enhanced when they’re eaten on an empty stomach for breakfast.

Carrots

With its high fiber content, carrots help prevent constipation and regulate bowel movements. Due to its content of minerals such as sodium, chlorine, potassium, and B-complex vitamins, this veggie is great for relieving conditions like heartburn. Eating carrots in any form is highly recommended for people suffering from gastritis.

Which Over-the-Counter Medicines Can I Take to Alleviate Gastritis?

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Gastritis is a common condition that affects many people, and it’s generally not serious. There are several over-the-counter medicines that can be used to treat it. Here are the most common ones.

  • Antacids:
    • Calcium carbonate
    • Milk of magnesia
    • Baking soda 
  • H2 blockers:
    • Ranitidine
    • Famotidine
    • Cimetidine
    • Nizatidine
  • Proton-pump inhibitors:
    • Omeprazole
    • Esomeprazole
    • Lansoprazole

All these medications can help reduce gastritis symptoms, and you can get them without a prescription. We recommend that you see your doctor immediately if you have the following symptoms: 

  • Abdominal pain that lasts more than four weeks
  • Pain that keeps you from sleeping or wakes you up in the middle of the night
  • Weight loss
  • Anemia
  • Vomiting blood
  • Persistent vomiting
  • Black stools
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Fever
  • Loss of appetite 

Which Foods Should I Avoid if I Have Gastritis?

People with gastritis should avoid eating foods that are high in fat, highly acidic, or irritating. Some ingredients that can be harmful to those with gastritis are:

  • Mayonnaise
  • Mustard
  • Ketchup
  • Butter
  • Margerine
  • Vinegar 
  • Soda
  • Chocolate
  • Coffee
  • Fried foods
  • Canned foods
  • Sausages
  • Alcohol
  • Tobacco

You Can Beat Gastritis! 

Although gastritis isn’t life-threatening, living with this disease is challenging and can affect your quality of life. We hope this information and advice will help you prevent and combat gastritis. Remember, early detection and prevention is important. The best way to be prepared is to inform and educate yourself. If you have any questions about this topic, feel free to contact us, and we’ll be happy to answer your questions.