Gastritis

Gastritis: Overview

Gastritis is defined as inflammation of the lining of the stomach.  This inflammation occurs when H.  pylori or one of several other organisms infect the stomach.  This is often associated with low levels of stomach acid.  When stomach acid levels are very low, or chronically neutralized by antacids, H. pylori is less likely to be the cause and the overgrowth of others becomes more likely.

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Causes and Development

Other causes, some of which act through low stomach acid, include medications, alcohol, ingestion of corrosive substances and extreme physiological stress.  Acute gastritis is often associated with a sudden and severe illness or trauma.  The incidence is about 8 out of every 1,000 people.

Signs and Symptoms

Some people do not have symptoms, but if present then they usually include one or more of:

Diagnosis and Tests

Sometimes the inflammation of the stomach lining can become so serious that an ulcer develops.  Gastritis can be diagnosed by biopsy and specimen examination under a microscope, where the presence of increased white blood cells is seen.

Laboratory Findings:

  • Occult blood in stool due to gastric mucosal erosions
  • Hypochromic, microcytic anemia due to chronic blood loss
  • Macrocytic anaemia due to pernicious anemia following atrophic gastritis of long duration
  • Early decrease in gastric acid due to increased acid formation by injured and atrophic gastric parietal cells
  • Late absence of gastric acid which is unresponsive to Histalog or pentagastrin stimulation
  • Increased serum gastrin due to lack of gastric acid and loss of acid inhibition of gastrin secretion
  • Parietal-cell antibodies frequently occur in atrophic gastritis
  • Intrinsic-factor antibodies occur in many cases of autoimmune chronic gastritis that result in pernicious anaemia
  • Decreased serum vitamin B12 due to decreased formation of intrinsic factor by atrophic gastric parietal cells

Signs, symptoms & indicators of Gastritis:

Symptoms - Abdomen

Meals worsen top-left abdomen pain

The pain starts in the upper left part of your body and radiates through your back.

Abdominal pain reduced by eating

The pain is usually worse on an empty stomach, and reduced after eating.

Burning/dull/stabbing epigastric pain after meals or epigastric pressure after meals

The stomach pain caused by gastritis can vary from a dull gnawing ache to a persistent sharp stabbing pain that seems to go right through your body from front to back.

Meal-induced pain for 1-4 weeks or meal-induced pain for under a week

If symptoms come on suddenly and severely, it is classed as acute gastritis.  If it has lasted a long time (usually because of bacterial infection), it is chronic gastritis.

Counter-indicators

Symptoms - Bowel Movements

Symptoms - Food - General

Symptoms - Gas-Int - General

Conditions that suggest Gastritis:

Digestion

Gastric/Peptic/Duodenal Ulcers

Severe inflammation of the stomach lining (gastritis) can result in ulceration.

Symptoms - Gas-Int - General

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Risk factors for Gastritis:

Supplements and Medications

Recommendations for Gastritis:

Botanical

Neem

Neem extracts reduce the concentration of acid in the stomach and have anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that can provide relief from the effects of gastritis.  Drink neem tea or ingest neem leaf powder as needed to protect the stomach and reduce discomfort.

Mastic Gum

For peptic ulcers and gastritis, 500mg to 1gm twice per day for 2 weeks causes structural changes in H.  Pylori (of which there are at least 7 strains) resulting in its weakening and death.  [Mastic Gum kills H. pylori, NEJM 1998 Dec 24;339(26): p.1946]

Robert's Formula

See the link between Gastritis and Slippery Elm.

Slippery Elm

Slippery elm's soothing mucilage effect has been used for disorders of the gastrointestinal tract.  It is part of the herbal combination called "Robert's Formula", which is widely prized by naturopathic physicians for such intestinal inflammations as gastritis, Crohn's disease, and ulcerative colitis.  For digestive disorders, taking 500-1,000mg of powder tid is often recommended.  It may be used in lozenge form as well.

Digestion

Hydrochloric Acid (Trial)

Once the stomach lining has been healed by the use of other agents, a hydrochloric acid (HCl) trial is often useful since it may have been an HCl deficiency that contributed to bacterial overgrowth and subsequent inflammation in the first place.  Do not take HCl until the stomach lining has fully recovered, which usually takes at least a month.

Drug

Antibiotics

Antibiotics are used to treat H.  pylori and should be used to treat other bacterial overgrowths in the stomach as well.  Since these overgrowths are usually responsible for the inflammation, eradication allows the stomach to heal and normal acid-control mechanisms to be restored.

Lab Tests/Rule-Outs

Mineral

Oxygen / Oxidative Therapies

Ozone / Oxidative Therapy

Cubans are using capsules filled with ozonated oil to treat gastroduodenal ulcers, gastritis, giardia and peptic ulcers.

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