Gastritis refers to inflammation of the stomach lining, which can be caused by a number of factors.
The treatment approach to gastritis depends on the specific cause of the condition. For example, acute onset gastritis caused by the use of anti-inflammatory drugs or by excessive alcohol consumption may resolve once intake of those substances stops. On the other hand, chronic gastritis caused by Helicobaceter pylori will require antibiotic therapy. In either case, medication can be taken to neutralize the stomach acid and relieve symptoms.
Some examples of the approaches to treating gastritis are described below:
- Drugs called antacids neutralize the stomach acid and provide pain relief. Neutralization of the acid also reduces inflammation. However, side effects can include diarrhea or constipation, depending on the type of antacid used.
- Two types of medication can be used to reduce the stomach acid:
- Acid blockers or histamine (H-2) blockers such as ranitidine and famotidine reduce the amount of gastric acid that is secreted into the digestive tract.
- Proton pump inhibitors such as omeprazole, esomeprazole, lansoprazole, rabeprazole and pantoprazole block parts of the cells that produce acid. Proton pump inhibitors also inhibit the activity of H. pylori, one of the major causes of gastritis.
- Cytoprotective drugs protect the stomach lining from being eroded by stomach acid. Examples include sucralfate, misoprostol and bismuth subsalicylate.
- Antibiotics are used in combination with a proton pump inhibitor and bismuth subsalicylate to treat H. pylori infection. Examples of antibiotics that may be prescribed include clarithromycin, amoxicillin and metronidazole.
Aside from medication, certain lifestyle changes may also be recommended to aid healing of the stomach lining and prevent recurrence of the condition.
- Quitting smoking
- Drinking alcohol in moderation and preferably with food
- Avoiding long-term use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
- Avoiding hot and spicy foods
- Avoiding long periods of fasting
- Exercising regularly and eating a healthy, balanced diet
- Maintaining an ideal body weight
- Avoiding stress
Reviewed by Sally Robertson, BSc