Top 5 Causes of Gastritis

Figuring out what caused your Gastritis in the first place is an important part of treating your Gastritis and ultimately healing from it. Some Gastritis can be healed quite quickly if the cause is removed, especially Acute Gastritis.

It can be a very painful and uncomfortable condition, which can be tricky to heal, so knowing what was responsible for giving you the issues, will help you know what to avoid and what treatment will help you heal.

Here we look at the top 5 reasons people get Gastritis.

H.Pylori (Helicobacter pylori)

The leading cause of Gastritis is Helicobacter pylori, it is a bacteria that is often caught from contaminated food and water, but it’s also possible to contract it with human contact through saliva and other bodily fluids. The bacteria infects your stomach and may then damage the lining, causing gastritis or stomach ulcers.

it’s estimated that 50-75% of the world’s population has H. Pylori present in their bodies but only about 20% of people are aware of it or go onto have an issue such as Gastritis.

If you go to the doctor with Gastritis type symptoms, he will quite often do a test to rule out H. Pylori. There are various ways of doing this

  • Blood test – A blood test may also be used to test for H. Pylori
  • Breath test – This test will test for H. Pylori. You will be asked to swallow a liquid or capsule and then will need to blow into a bag. The breath test will show an increase in carbon dioxide.
  • Endoscopy – If the Doctor sends you to have an Endoscopy, then they may ask for a Biopsy to be taken to check for H. Pylori at the same time. This is a procedure when a flexible thin tube in inserted down your throat and into your stomach, there is a small camera on the end of the tube so the doctor can see what is happening inside.

Treatment for H. Pylori is usually with a combination of antibiotics and PPIs. For many people, this is enough to eradicate the bacteria but for some it can involve several courses of antibiotics and further treatments.

Alcohol and Gastritis

Alcohol can irritate the stomach lining if it’s taken excessively over time. On the Facebook group, I belong to, one of the main reasons people believe they got Gastritis in the first place is either excessive Alcohol consumption or NSAIDS overuse.

It’s not something that happens overnight, but generally, it will worsen over time. Sometimes a vicious circle can develop where heavy drinking results in a hangover, so the person will take painkillers (NSAIDS) for their headache. The double whammy of heavy alcohol use and then followed by taking these tablets can be a recipe for disaster.

Therefore, it’s certainly a good idea to avoid alcohol if you are suffering from any digestive issues until you have healed. It will give your stomach a rest and time to recover.

When your stomach is healed, to discover what alcohol is best to avoid and what ones can be tolerated by Gastritis sufferers, have a look at this post – Missing alcohol, what’s ok to drink with Gastritis?

NSAIDs (Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs)

These commonly prescribed and over the counter painkillers and anti-inflammatories such as Aspirin and ibuprofen are widely used but a high percentage of people cannot tolerate regular use of them, and they can aggravate the stomach lining.

Some people need to take NSAIDs, i.e., for arthritis and other conditions. If this is the case, there are things your doctor can do to help protect your stomach. They may prescribe H2 blockers or PPI’s (proton pump inhibitors) to be taken with the medication or you could be given an NSAID that’s less harsh on the stomach lining.

If you only need a short course, make sure you always have them with a meal rather than on an empty stomach.

Smoking

Apart from the obvious health risks associated with smoking like Lung cancer and heart disease. Smoking can also have a detrimental effect on your stomach. Studies have shown that smokers get more Peptic ulcers and Heartburn than non-smokers and it increases the chance of getting gallstones and Crohn’s disease.

So, if you suffer from digestive issues like Gastritis and still smoke, now’s the time to think about giving up. Your stomach will thank you for it.

Stress

Stress-induced gastritis is something that I am personally all too familiar with. The brain and gut are more connected than we realise and so having a stressful period or stressful life can have a major impact on the digestive system.

When your stressed, stress hormones are released by the body, this can decrease the amount of oxygen and blood that is flowing to the stomach. These can prevent the digestive system from working properly.

Some stress-related stomach issues

  • Gastritis
  • Loss of appetite
  • Constipation
  • Stomach cramps
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhoea
  • IBS

Worrying about your stomach issues can be stressful in itself. Sometimes you end up thinking about it so much and worrying about what each symptom means that you end up making yourself feel worse.

There are lots of ways of trying to De-stress or trying to remove some of the stress from your life. For some tips, see my blog post here – Is Stress causing your Gastritis? 10 Tips for a Relaxed Gut

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