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Gastritis
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Gastritis

Diseases & Conditions A-Z

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DIGESTIVE SYSTEM
Diseases & Conditions  

Gastritis, Chronic - Chronic gastritis, by definition, is a histopathological entity characterized by chronic inflammation of the stomach mucosa. Gastritis's can be classified based on the underlying etiologic agent (eg, Helicobacter pylori, bile reflux, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs [NSAIDs], autoimmunity, allergic response) and the histopathological pattern, which may suggest the etiologic agent and clinical course (eg, H pylori;associated multifocal atrophic gastritis). Other classifications are based on the endoscopic appearance of the gastric mucosa (eg, varioliform gastritis).

Prevention

Preventing gastritis depends on the specific cause of the inflammation. To help prevent gastritis, and digestive problems in general:

  • Eat smart. If you experience frequent indigestion, eat smaller, more frequent meals to buffer stomach acid secretion. In addition, avoid irritating foods such as spicy, citrus or highly seasoned items if you have gastritis or stomach ulcers.

  • Limit or avoid alcohol. Excessive use of alcohol can irritate and erode the mucous lining of your stomach, causing inflammation and bleeding.

  • Don't smoke. Smoking interferes with the protective lining of the stomach, making your stomach perhaps more susceptible to the development of gastritis as well as ulcers. Smoking also increases stomach acid and delays stomach healing.

  • Switch pain relievers. If possible, avoid taking NSAIDs — aspirin, ibuprofen, ketoprofen and naproxen. These over-the-counter medications can cause or worsen gastritis. Instead, switch to pain relievers that contain acetaminophen.

  • Follow your doctor's recommendations. Your doctor may recommend that you take an over-the-counter antacid or acid blocker to help prevent recurring gastritis.

Self-care

Digestive problems — from simple stomach upset to gastritis — can occur for many reasons, including possibly lifestyle choices you can control. In general, to keep your digestive system healthy, doctors recommend that you:

  • Practice good eating habits. Just as important as what you eat is the manner in which you eat. Eat moderate proportions, eat at regular times, and relax while you eat.

  • Maintain a healthy weight. Digestive problems can occur no matter what your weight. But heartburn, bloating and constipation tend to be more common in people who are overweight. Maintaining a healthy weight can often help prevent or reduce these symptoms.

  • Get plenty of exercise. Aerobic exercise — exercise that increases your breathing and heart rate — is the most beneficial activity you can do for healthy digestion. Aerobic exercise stimulates the activity of intestinal muscles, helping to move food waste through your intestines more quickly. Try to do at least 30 minutes of aerobic activity — walking is one example — most, if not all, days of the week.

  • Limit stress. Stress increases stomach acid production and slows digestion, promoting an upset stomach. So, take steps to limit stress in your life or practice relaxation techniques when under stress.

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This information is provided for general medical education purposes only and is not meant to substitute for the independent medical judgment of a physician relative to diagnostic and treatment options of a specific patient's medical condition.
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