Gastritis is actually a consequence of inflammation affecting the stomach lining. The inflammation can be attributed by a multitude of different factors. It affects people of all ages, especially adults and older adults. It can cause symptoms which some could be very bothersome – therefore you may wonder how long it lasts and will it relieve without leaving serious complications!
Again, a number of different factors can cause the condition. These include:
- Bacterial infection. In most cases, gastritis may be the result of H-pylori infection, the same bacteria that cause many cases of peptic ulcers.
- The next common culprit is regular use of NSAIDs or other pain relievers that irritate stomach lining. Frequent use of NSAIDs is also a risk factor of stomach and duodenal ulcers.
- Sometimes dietary factors have an effect to trigger the condition, such as; excessive alcohol use, caffeine consumption, vitamin B12 deficiency, or ingestion of certain chemicals.
- Stressful events, for examples; after major surgeries, critical illness, or bad injuries.
- Particular health conditions, such as; Chron’s disease, HIV, and autoimmune conditions.
Symptoms of the disease vary among adults, even sometimes there are no symptoms. But in many cases, common symptoms include abdominal pain (typically in the upper center of the stomach or sometimes in the upper left area of the stomach), feeling of fullness, bloating, indigestion, belching, nausea, and vomiting.
Gastritis in adults can occur suddenly (also called acute) or develop gradually (chronic). So how long does it take to clear up! The answer is dependent on the type of your gastritis and what causes the condition.
If it’s acute, it usually takes a brief amount of time (within several days or a few weeks) to go away. But for chronic gastritis, the symptoms usually come and go which can last for many weeks or months – and even years if left untreated.
Though it’s usually temporary – it often causes more intense stomach pain which could be painful enough to interfere with your daily activities. Typically the symptoms occur abruptly. However sometimes it may not cause any symptoms.
Treatments depend on how severe it is. If it’s mild, it may relieve without treatment and a few diet changes are enough to cope with. Diet loaded with foods low in fat and acids, for example, is usually tolerated best. If vomiting doesn’t relieve, chicken soup might also help. And avoid alcohol or other things that can trigger upset stomach!
But in some cases, treatment is required. What kind of treatment you need is dependent on the underlying cause. For instance – if it is caused by H-pylori infection, 1-2 rounds of antibiotics are prescribed to heal the infection. You may take these antibiotics for about 10 days or more.
The prognosis is good for most cases. Acute gastritis rarely turns into serious, especially if it’s promptly treated. Even as mentioned earlier, sometimes it relieves over time without treatment (depending on the underlying cause of the condition).
But in a few cases, the disease could also be more difficult to treat. Treatments might fail to heal the disease. As a result it might turn into a long-term, chronic gastritis. If your gastritis symptoms persist despite treatment for the disease, tell your doctor!
Unlike acute gastritis, chronic gastritis usually develops over a long period of time and can be caused by more variety of factors and conditions. That’s why it’s not always easy to understand.
And if left untreated, it could be dangerous and fatal. Treatment is necessary to prevent it from worsening and causing serious complications. Some possible complications of the condition are as follows:
- Chronic inflammation of stomach lining can make stomach ulcers more likely to form, especially if you have some risk factors of peptic ulcers such as H-pylori infection and regular use of NSAIDs.
- Stomach lining may gradually wear away over time, causing metaplasia or dysplasia (precancerous changes). In rare cases some types of chronic gastritis increase the risk of stomach cancer, which is particularly true for people with extensive thinning of their stomach lining.
Though it takes more time to heal, it can be cured in most cases, especially if what causes the disease is identified and curable. But it could be harder to treat if it’s associated certain medical conditions such as autoimmune diseases – even though it improves and gets better with treatment, it may require ongoing monitoring.
What you can do to help your healing?
We know that H-pylori infection is one of top common causes of gastritis. But many people with this infection don’t develop the disease. This suggests that other factors (including lifestyle choices like poor diet and smoking) may make people with the infection become more susceptible to have the disease.
It’s also thought that a few changes in diet and other lifestyle measures may help boost the recovery, making the disease heal more quickly. Here are a few changes that may help:
Pay attention on what and how to eat! In general, it’s recommended to go with diet low in fats and salt. Also, avoid other foods that can cause irritation like acidic, fried, and spicy foods!
And choose smaller meals than larger ones! Because eating smaller, more-frequent meals throughout the day can help control your stomach acid. Excessive stomach acid may make your gastritis symptoms get worse. But make sure to eat you meals regularly!
Switching pain relievers
If you’re taking NSAIDs, corticosteroids, or other medication that can worsen the disease – consider switching. Ask a doctor whether you need to take other pain relievers that don’t hurt your stomach lining. For example, your doctor may prescribe alternative pain killers that don’t provoke gastritis such as acetaminophen. But if you cannot stop using NSAIDs, the dose should be dropped to the lowest possible.
Eliminate any other factors that can interfere with your stomach’s healing such as excessive alcohol consumption, cigarette smoking, and stress. Alcohol and tobacco smoke can hurt the mucous lining of your stomach. Uncontrolled stress is bad for the strength of your body’s immune system and weakens your stomach’s ability to protect itself.