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Everything you need to know about gastritis

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In April 2020, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requested that all forms of prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) ranitidine (Zantac) be removed from the U.S. market. They made this recommendation because unacceptable levels of NDMA, a probable carcinogen (or cancer-causing chemical), were present in some ranitidine products. People taking prescription ranitidine should talk with their doctor about safe alternative options before stopping the drug. People taking OTC ranitidine should stop taking the drug and talk with their healthcare provider about alternative options. Instead of taking unused ranitidine products to a drug take-back site, a person should dispose of them according to the product’s instructions or by following the FDA’s guidance.

Gastritis is an inflammation on the lining of the stomach. We may have a variety of triggers. The disease can be an acute or chronic issue that raises the risk of certain problems, such as ulcers in the stomach, bleeding or cancer.

The acute type normally gives rise to visible symptoms which resolve after a few days without treatment. Nevertheless, persistent gastritis can remain unnoticed in the body but may complicate later.

The bacteria Helicobacter pylori (H. Pylori) is one of the major causes of gastritis, and is estimated to be present in 50% of the global population.

The article will discuss the symptoms, causes, and treatments of gastritis, as well as include advice about what to eat when this disorder occurs and what to remove from diets.

Fast facts on gastritis

  • Gastritis can increase the risk of other gastrointestinal conditions, such as stomach ulcers and cancer.
  • People with gastritis typically report sharp, stabbing, or burning pains in the upper-center or upper-left part of the abdomen.
  • The two main types of gastritis are erosive and nonerosive. Erosive gastritis wears down the stomach lining, and nonerosive gastritis causes change to the stomach lining.
  • Smokers and people who regularly use pain medications are at risk of gastritis.
  • People with gastritis should eat celery, apples, and honey. Herbal teas are also safe to drink. Avoid caffeinated beverages, dairy produce, and spicy foods.
  • A range of medications is available to treat gastritis, including antibiotics and antacids.


H. pylori bacteria are a common cause of gastritis.
H. pylori bacteria are a common cause of gastritis.

Gastritis is characterized by a variety of symptoms.

Gastritis sufferers also feel abdominal pain. Pressure is often in the upper-center portion of the abdomen, or in the upper-left part of the abdomen. Pain also radiates to the back.

Other common signs include nausea and bloating. In cases of vomiting gastritis the vomit can appear red, yellow, or green. The vomit will contain blood, too.

Blood bleeding is a sign of more serious gastritis. Some signs of extreme gastritis include shortness of breath, chest pain, severe stomach pain, and bowel movements which are foul-smelling.

Seek urgent medical evaluation if any of the following symptoms occur:

  • vomiting blood
  • bringing up excessive amounts of yellow or green vomit
  • black or bloody bowel movements
  • abdominal pain with fever
  • dizziness and fainting
  • rapid heartbeat
  • excessive sweating
  • shortness of breath

Gastritis may occur without any symptoms at all.


Symptoms of gastritis will sometimes worsen into more serious conditions.

Bleeding from the stomach and ulcers may occur in people with gastritis who are yet to be treated. Chronic gastritis may sometimes increase the risk of developing tumors and stomach growths.

Other forms of gastritis include atrophic autoimmune gastritis and H. Pylori gastritis, can decrease the body’s ability to absorb iron from the blood. This can also affect the absorption of vitamin B12 in autoimmune atrophic gastritis. Both forms of anaemia may develop.

Causes and types

There are different causes and types of gastritis.

Gastritis happens after a weakening of the protective mucus lining of the stomach. Digestive juices can then damage and inflame the walls of the stomach.

There are two main types of gastritis.

  • Erosive gastritis: This form of gastritis is severe, and involves both inflammation and the gradual wearing down of the stomach lining. An example is acute stress gastritis, which follows changes due to critical illness. Erosive gastritis usually has a quick onset, but this may take longer with chronic gastritis.
  • Nonerosive gastritis: The nonerosive form of gastritis involves changes in the stomach lining

The most frequent cause of the gastritis is H. Infection of pylori in the stomach lining. Many types arise however when the immune system mistakenly attacks the lining of the stomach, such as autoimmune atrophic gastritis.

Other forms result from trauma, or damage to the lining of the stomach. Another cause is postgastrectomy gastritis, where the lining of the stomach degenerates after a portion of the stomach is removed.

Why this happens isn’t understood. Gastrectomy is thought to induce increased reflux, vagal nerve reactions or reduction in the number of hormone-triggered acids.

Others types include:

  • Infectious gastritis not caused by H. pylori: Viruses or fungi can cause gastritis in people with immune difficulties or long-term illnesses.
  • Radiation gastritis: Exposure of the abdominal area to radiation can irritate the stomach lining.
  • Eosinophilic gastritis: This form of gastritis can occur due to an allergic reaction. The cause of the allergic reaction is not known.
  • Ménétrier disease: This disorder is rare and involves the development of thick folds and cysts on the stomach wall.

How gastritis spreads isn’t understood at the moment. Contaminated food, water, or cutlery are known to play a part in the transfer of H. Pylori from person till child.

The broad variety of triggers, however, makes this difficult to prove.

Risk factors

Some individuals are at a greater risk of developing gastritis. There are several conditions and factors related to lifestyle that may raise the chances of inflammation in the stomach lining.

Risk factors for gastritis include:

  • bacterial infections, especially H. pylori infection
  • viral, fungal, or parasitic infections
  • smoking
  • caffeine intake
  • excessive alcohol intake
  • cocaine use
  • stress
  • routine use of pain medications, such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs)
  • regularly taking medications such as prescription steroids, chemotherapypotassium supplements, and iron
  • being an older adult
  • swallowing corrosives or foreign objects
  • having an autoimmune disorder such as Hashimoto’s disease or type 1 diabetes
  • vitamin B12 deficiency
  • HIV
  • Crohn’s disease
  • bile reflux after undergoing stomach surgery
  • a history of chronic vomiting
  • exposure to radiation, either by radioactive treatment or contamination
  • food allergies

Other infections that can increase the risk of gastritis include tuberculosis and syphilis.

Tests and diagnosis

A gastrologist may examine the stomach lining with an endoscope.
A gastrologist may examine the stomach lining with an endoscope.

Gastritis may be diagnosed using the following:

  • physical examination
  • the medical history of an individual and their current symptoms
  • evaluation for H. pylori by way of blood, breath, or stool testing
  • endoscopy
  • electrocardiogram

For certain cases gastritis is diagnosed with esophagus, liver, and small intestine X-rays. Such X-rays are often referred to as the upper or barium swallow series of gastrointestinals.

Barium is a white, metallic substance that is often swallowed to help show any irregularities before a scan.

A doctor may also request:

  • blood tests
  • urine tests
  • evaluations of kidney and liver function
  • checks for anemia
  • gallbladder and pancreas function tests
  • pregnancy tests
  • stool evaluation

Through using this set of tests a doctor should be able to diagnose gastritis.

When such tests are inconclusive, an upper endoscopy can be performed by a doctor. It includes inserting a small, transparent, luminous viewing tube through the mouth into the abdomen to look at the stomach.


Gastritis dietary options can help control the severity of the symptoms and allow the body to rid itself of H. The genus Pylori.

While such steps alone are unlikely to cure the disease, they may provide important help for the successful treatment of gastritis.

Foods to eat

Probiotic yogurt is safe to eat
Probiotic yogurt is safe to eat during gastritis and can also help to clear out the H. pylori infection.

Both broccoli sprouts and probiotic yogurt have shown useful effects which counteract H. pylori. No conclusive evidence remains, however, that broccoli sprouts consistently hold gastritis at bay.

For a supportive treatment alongside antibiotics, probiotic yogurt has shown great promise but further work is needed to validate this. Some studies have shown that probiotics help flush out infection.

Certain foods which are healthy to eat in a gastritis case include:

  • celery
  • apples
  • berries
  • olive oil
  • honey
  • herbal teas

Rather than looking for foods to resolve the infection, it is best to eat foods that do not further inflame the infection.

Foods to avoid

Some foods and beverages can aggravate the symptoms of gastritis, and should not be eaten while the disease is active. These include:

  • caffeinated drinks
  • regular and decaffeinated coffee
  • mint, green, and black teas
  • orange and grapefruit juices
  • alcohol beverages
  • spicy foods, such as chili powder, hot peppers, nutmeg, and black pepper
  • dairy foods made from whole milk and strong or spicy cheeses
  • tomato products
  • chocolate

When adjusting the diet during a case of gastritis, be sure of the following:

  • Eat 5 to 6 small meals a day, as this can reduce the impact of stomach acids.
  • Hydrate often by frequently consuming water.
  • Add omega-3 supplements to the diet, as they may play a role in resolving gastritis.

There is no single diet intended to treat gastritis. However, adopting lifestyle modifications that can complement a medication regimen will soothe the inflammation. The foods eaten form an important part of the treatment of gastritis.


Gastritis diagnosis is dependent upon a variety of factors. Those include the cause of the disease, and whether it is acute or chronic to current gastritis.

Gastritis care options include a variety of pharmaceutical products, such as:

  • Antibiotic medications: A 10-to-14-day course of antibiotics can directly attack H. pylori. Regimens may include clarithromycin and metronidazole.
  • Proton pump inhibitors: These include omeprazole and lansoprazole. Proton pump inhibitors block the production of acid and aid healing.
  • Histamine (H-2) blockers: Histamine blockers, such as famotidine, can decrease acid production.
  • Antacids: These can neutralize stomach acid.
  • Coating agents: Sucralfate or misoprostol can coat and protect the stomach lining.
  • Anti-nausea medications: This type of medication can reduce sickness symptoms.

The treatment is causal based. For instance, if the gastritis cause isn’t bacterial, antibiotics would have no effect.

The most effective way to handle gastritis is to incorporate these therapies with the prescribed dietary changes.


A person can reduce the risk of developing gastritis by following these steps:

  • Practice good hand-washing hygiene and eat well-cooked food. This reduces the risk of contracting H. pylori.
  • Avoid certain medications, smoking, caffeine, and alcohol.

As some causes are unknown, there is no way to fully prevent gastritis.

Chukwuebuka Martins

Chukwuebuka Martins is a writer, researcher, and health enthusiast who specializes in human physiology. He takes great pleasure in penning informative articles on many aspects of physical wellness, which he then thoroughly enjoys sharing to the general public.