What is the healing time for Gastritis?
This is a question many Gastritis sufferers want an answer to, especially if you have been struggling with the pain and discomfort for a while and just want to know there is an end in sight.
Unfortunately it’s a tricky one as it varies greatly from one person to another depending on how long you have had it and what caused it.
If you have Acute Gastritis, healing should be fairly quick,( between 2-10 days) if you remove the cause and treat it effectively.
Chronic Gastritis can be more of an issue and can be more difficult to treat, often involving a change in diet and lifestyle. For me, it took 6 months of hard work to heal.
How do I know if I have Acute or Chronic Gastritis?
Acute Gastritis is inflammation of the stomach lining, which is usually a result of taking NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) such as Aspirin and Ibuprofen, having an infection like H.Pylori or drinking too much alcohol.
It can be very painful, but it does not tend to continue for a long period of time. As above, gastritis is unlikely to last longer than 10 days, once the cause is removed and the symptoms are treated.
Causes of Acute Gastritis
- Stomach upset
When the problem persists over a long period of time or keeps returning it’s known as Chronic Gastritis. Symptoms will often appear gradually over time.
Causes of Chronic Gastritis
- Taking NSAIDS too often – (painkillers such as Aspirin and ibuprofen).
- Age – The stomach lining naturally thins with age
- Helicobacter H.Pylori infection – about 40% of the UK population have this bacteria in their stomach, many with no symptoms, but for many, it will go on to cause gastritis or ulcers. It is thought to be spread by bodily fluids, water, and food.
How long it took me to heal my Chronic Gastritis?
My own experience spans years not months, and involved going on and off of PPIs (proton pump inhibitors) and H2 blockers in an endless cycle. But it wasn’t until I weaned off medication, started following a strict Gastritis diet and took various supplements that I really started to heal.
Once I made the decision to get serious about healing once and for all, I would say it took roughly 6 months to feel 90% healed. I never say I am 100% healed as I know that if I overdo things, I could be back to having an issue.
Not going back!
I can now eat and drink what I want within reason. I enjoy a glass or two of wine but I make sure I don’t overindulge. I tend to avoid coffee as I know this is a trigger for me, and to be honest I have come to love my camomile and ginger tea so I am happy to stick with this. I know many of you would disagree and would want your coffee back.
I also can eat spicy and rich food, but if I have this one day I will make sure my meal the next day is something blander, as I think if I eat spicy food everyday I am setting myself up for a fail.
I know after many years that my stomach is sensitive and I don’t think I will ever change that. But I feel I have definitely made my stomach stronger and calmer and now do not have the pain and discomfort that I once did.
So there is no quick fix but if you are serious about healing, you could feel much better after 6 months of medications, supplements and a strict diet. Although of course, everyone has different reasons they have Gastritis and recovery times will vary.
Healing from Gastritis
Sometimes all that is needed to recover from Acute gastritis is to eat a bland diet for a few days and avoid the cause of your issue. i.e you needed to take a NSAID for a few days for a toothache, once you stop taking the pills your stomach can heal and return to normal.
For cases that are more severe you may need extra help from your pharmacy or GP. Below are some of the treatments that may be offered to you.
Treatments for Gastritis
Removing the irritant – The first thing your GP may advise, is to remove the cause of your Gastritis. It might be a certain medication or maybe you are drinking too much alcohol.
Antacids – These are often the first thing your GP will suggest taking to settle things down. These are a mild form of medication that comes in tablets or liquid form and will work by neutralising the acid in your stomach, giving your stomach time to calm down and heal. This group of medication includes such things as Gaviscon, Rennies and tums.
PPIs (Proton pump inhibitors) – These are powerful and are often prescribed by doctors to reduce the amount of acid in your stomach, or to treat ulcers. There are various types that can be prescribed. If one doesn’t suit you and you are having side effects, then your doctor can swap you to another one. Some common types are Lansoprazole, Omeprazole and Nexium.
H2 antagonists – These work in a similar way to PPIs and work by reducing the acid in your stomach. Cimetidine and nizatidine are often prescribed. Ranitidine (zantac) was very popular but was recalled due to it containing carcinogenic properties.
Antibiotics – these will generally be given If your Gastritis is caused by H-Pylori. The course will often last for 2 weeks, but it maybe longer if the infection is not fully cleared with the first course.
Natural ways to treat Gastritis
These supplements are prescribed in Japan for Stomach Ulcers and I found them to be brilliant. Within days my stomach felt stronger. I would take them first thing in the morning before my breakfast and then again at bedtime. I took them for 3 months, and feel these were one of the main things that helped me heal from Gastritis. I use these ones – Doctor’s Best, PepZin GI, Zinc-L-Carnosine Complex.
Chicken bone broth – When I have a mild Gastritis flare up I will often make a batch of bone broth. I tend to sip it throughout the day, and it has amazing calming properties. It contains Collagen and gelatine which are released from the bones as you cook them. These contain anti-inflammatory properties. Here is my step-by-step guide to making it – Chicken bone broth
Slippery elm powder – This is definitely one of my main go-to supplements. I always keep a pouch of it in the cupboard and if my stomach feels a little off I will mix myself a small cup of the powder with water. Its coats the stomach lining and is very soothing. This is my absolute favourite – Indigo herbs Slippery elm powder
Celery juice – I have been amazed at how much celery juice has helped my stomach. Sometimes just having it for a couple of days will be enough to reset my stomach and improve my digestion. For details on making Celery juice and my experience with it, see this post – Celery juice benefits
Ginger – Ginger is fantastic for nausea and has proven anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties. If I have any sign of nausea I will make myself a hot cup of ginger tea, sometimes with camomile. It really stops me from feeling sick, plus its classed as an anti-inflammatory, so will help calm your stomach down.
Camomile tea – Camomile is well known for its calming properties. It contains chemical compounds that may reduce inflammation. I used to drink coffee or black tea with milk until I got gastritis and then that all had to change, as I could no longer tolerate them. It takes a bit of getting used to but I love Camomile tea now, especially with a slice of ginger in it.
Gastritis healing book
The book I always recommend to others is The Gastritis Healing Book: A Comprehensive Guide to Heal Gastritis and Restore Your Stomach Health Paperback by L. G. Capellan
It’s a brilliant book with so much useful information. There are diet plans, recipes and just some great advice on healing gastritis naturally. It’s just great to have a book to refer to when you aren’t sure about something. I feel it really helped me on my healing journey.
When you should see a doctor
There are certain warning signs that should never be ignored. Some conditions and illnesses can have similar symptoms to Gastritis, so you should never put off seeking help if you are concerned about something.
- Blood in your poo (stool)
- Blood in your vomit
- Weight loss that is unexplained
- Extreme tiredness (it could be anaemia)
Healing times will really vary from one person to another, but to give yourself the best possible chance of recovering quickly, you do need to be prepared to change your lifestyle. That means no cheating with alcohol or your favourite chocolate bar at the weekend. The harder you work on sticking to a diet and avoiding triggers the quicker you will see results and be able to return to a more normal lifestyle, without the pain and discomfort.
It may take much longer than mine did to go or perhaps you will be lucky and you will recover much quicker, but don’t give up, your body wants to heal you just need to help it on its journey.
For more information on supplements see my post here:- 5 supplements that healed my Gastritis
For more information on weaning off PPIs see my post here:- Should I be worried about taking PPIs?