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Inflammation of the stomach - these are the therapies and causes
Inflammation of the stomach, medically gastritis, is generally inflammation of the gastric mucosa. This can be acute or chronic and can have various causes. Below, you will find therapy options, causes and symptoms of gastric inflammation.
The gastric mucosa
The gastric mucosa is a necessary protective layer in the inner wall of the stomach. It keeps pathogens around even small foreign bodies and produces enzymes and stomach acid, which are necessary for digestion. Stomach acid is always a double-edged sword. It has to be aggressive to digest food. However, if the inner lining of the stomach is damaged, the acid hits the body with force. The gastric mucosa becomes inflamed.
Type A gastritis
Type A gastritis is a disease of the autoimmune system, the cause of which has not yet been fully researched. Here, antibodies from your own body attack the cells in your stomach that produce the acid. Such an inflammation is rare, only every 20th inflammation of the gastric mucosa counts.
Excess stomach acid
As the cells die, the pH in the stomach increases, and the amount of gastrin increases. This peptide hormone of the gastrointestinal tract promotes the production of stomach acid and stimulates the stomach to empty itself. It drives the production of histamine, which in turn triggers the production of hydrochloric acid. In the pancreas, gastrin stimulates the release of insulin, glucagon and somatostatin.
The peptide hormone originates in the G cells in the antrum of the stomach and reaches its “place of use” via the blood. Sometimes tumors also produce gastrin. These are called gastrinomas, they increase the production of stomach acid and lead to stomach ulcers. This so-called Zollinger-Ellison syndrome does not, however, fall under the narrow sense of stomach inflammation.
An increased output of gastrin can lead to a lack of vitamin B12 and thus cause anemia. It is promoted by stretching the stomach, by proteins, peptides and amino acids, by an irritation to the vagus nerve, by alcohol, nicotine and acetylcholine, but also by tumors of the parathyroid gland, which are often associated with gastrinomas.
Type B gastritis
Type B gastritis is far more common. This is an infection with bacteria. The bacterium Helicobacter pylori is responsible. Humans ingest these bacteria through the mouth, and when they arrive in the stomach, they spread from the entrance to the exit of the stomach. It triggers ulcers in the stomach, which in turn often develop into stomach cancer.
If patients suffer from frequent or chronic gastric complaints, gastroscopy is the order of the day, combined with mirroring of the duodenum. The bacteria can be identified in a tissue sample. Helicobacter can now also be detected by a breath test, which means that many people no longer experience unpleasant reflections. Antigens against the bacteria in the feces are also an indication.
Type C gastritis
These inflammations are caused by chemical influences. For example, an excess of bile after a reduction in the size of the stomach is possible. Medications such as dicloflenac, aspirin and ibuprofen can cause the layer of mucus in the stomach to disappear. Every tenth person who suffers from an inflammation of the stomach belongs to these type C patients.
In a broader sense, chemically induced gastric mucosal infections include poisoning from food, smoking, caustic substances, but especially alcohol abuse. Alcoholism can cause stomach ulcers.
Inflammation of the stomach lining due to alcoholism
Massive intake of alcohol in the stomach injures the gastric mucous membranes, the stomach can no longer carry out its functions, the food neither absorbs nor utilizes it; he rejects food and the people affected vomit.
The acidified stomach contents can cause cracks in the mucous membrane, especially in the stomach entrance. This leads to heavy bleeding with vomiting. Gastric acid that gets into the mouth attacks the enamel, which leads to loss of potassium.
Symptoms of acute inflammation of the stomach
Acute gastritis is usually manifested by sudden, severe stomach pain, stomach pressure and / or upper abdominal pain. However, these are non-specific symptoms that can also have a lot of other causes, especially because the pain is also felt behind the breastbone. But this is typical of heart problems.
However, other symptoms are added and narrow the "circle of suspects": black bowel movements, vomiting blood and anemia. There are also other non-specific symptoms such as loss of appetite, nausea, watery diarrhea and bloodless vomiting.
The excess stomach acid can lead to heartburn, acid regurgitation or an acid taste in the mouth.
Inflammation of the stomach is bad enough, but it can have even worse consequences. In type A, the most problematic development is the gastric tumor. Less dramatic, but also serious, is iron deficiency and the associated anemia in type B, which can also develop into gastric cancer. Type C leads to complications from gastric bleeding and discomfort.
Acute inflammation of the gastric mucosa usually regenerates itself if we eat gently and avoid stimuli such as alcohol, coffee or cigarettes. These stimulants promote the production of stomach acid.
Home remedies for stomach inflammation
In the case of an inflammation of the stomach, i.e. an inflammation of the hollow organ that uses the food, home remedies help with stomach pain. This includes teas with caraway, lemon balm, chamomile, fennel or anise. Light food like oatmeal is the order of the day.
Chronic Stomach Inflammation - The Hidden Suffering
Chronic inflammation of the gastric mucosa is one of the most common diseases among older people in Germany. Estimates assume that up to 50% of all people over 50 in this country are affected.
The disease often runs undetected. For a long time there are no symptoms. If they then appear, abdominal pain in the upper abdomen can also indicate other complaints. Add to that unwanted belching, a general feeling of discomfort, uncontrolled flatulence, a feeling of fullness after eating and heartburn.
Treatment for inflammation in the stomach
The doctor first treats type A gastritis with antacids that neutralize stomach acid and with proton pump inhibitors that block the production of stomach acid. Chronically ill people have to take vitamin B12.
Helicobacter pylori can be destroyed by antibiotics and proton pump inhibitors to over 90% in a week. However, it has recently been recommended that the therapy be extended to two weeks.
The best way to get a grip on type C is if the people affected no longer consume the harmful substances. Acid blockers also help.
Prevent stomach inflammation
Gastritis can be prevented very well. Reduce luxury foods like coffee, cigarettes and alcohol and use heavy, fat-rich food sparingly. Eat less salt. Vitamin C should be part of the daily meals, the easiest way is through all citrus fruits, apples, currants, blackberries, raspberries and blueberries as well as apples or kale. (Dr. Utz Anhalt)
Author and source information
This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.
Dr. phil. Utz Anhalt, Barbara Schindewolf-Lensch
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ICD codes for this disease: K29, K52ICD codes are internationally valid encryption codes for medical diagnoses. You can find yourself e.g. in doctor's letters or on disability certificates.