Gastritis is of several types depending upon the nature of the inflammation, the condition of the mucous membrane and glands. Hydrochloric acid and some other digestive enzymes are secreted by the glands of the stomach. Inflammation of the stomach thus results in the impairment of these secretions leading to indigestion.
Types of Gastritis
- Gradual development
- Source of long-term complications
- Might not manifest noticeable symptoms till years and until other problems develop
- Causes the gastric mucosa to thin out and gradually increase inflammatory cells
- Contributes to the development of gastric cancer
- Sudden occurrence
- Only lasts for a short time
- During an episode, it may manifest severe symptoms
- Based on other lifestyle factors the symptoms could appear and reappear
- This type is chronic
- Gastric glandular cells are gradually lost, and are replaced by intestinal and fibrous tissues
- Ups risk of malabsorption/nutritional deficiencies and autoimmune imbalances
- Low gastric output and hypergastrinemia
- Can lead to anemia and growth of tumors
Ayurveda and Gastritis
In Ayurveda, this condition is known as Urdhva Amlapitta where ‘amla’ means sour and ‘pitta’ refers to the dosha of the same name. In this condition, the Pitta dosha (biohumor representing Fire and Water elements) whose seat is in the stomach and the digestive fire tends to over-secrete leading to acidity in the body.
This acidity (which is a byproduct of Pitta’s sharp, hot and acrid qualities) causes many symptoms like a burning sensation, loss of appetite, queasiness, indigestion, bloating, etc.
Symptoms of Gastritis
- Loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, headache and dizziness
- Pain and discomfort in the region of the stomach
- Coated tongue, foul breath, bad taste in the mouth and increased flow of saliva
- Scanty urination
- A general feeling of uneasiness and depression
- In chronic cases, the patient complains of heartburn and a feeling of fullness in the abdomen, especially after meals
- Hiccups and burping
- Possible changes in weight
- Changes in consistency and frequency of bowel movements (black, tar-like stools)
It is difficult to predict how long gastritis symptoms will last. This is because gastritis presents itself uniquely in everyone, with some cases being mild and acute to others being chronic and severe. Yet others may not experience any symptoms of gastritis at all, but a physical exam and tests (like endoscopy, stool or blood test) will reveal that their stomach lining is getting eroded and dim functioning of the immune system.
Gastroenterologists usually diagnose gastritis with an endoscopy (biopsy of the stomach lining) and looking for signs of inflammation – including an increase in WBCs (leucocytes), reddening, inflammation, bleeding or tiny openings in the surface lining.
Root Causes of Gastritis
- Dietetic indiscretion
- Habitual overeating of badly combined or improperly cooked foods
- Excessive intake of strong tea, coffee or alcoholic drinks
- Habitual use of large quantities of condiments and sauces
- Other causes include worry, anxiety, grief and prolonged tension
- Use of certain drugs, strong acids and caustic substances
- Infection caused by the bacteria known as Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori)
- Nutrition deficiencies (including being deficient in Vitamin B12, magnesium, calcium, zinc and selenium)
- Eating disorders like bulimia nervosa, which are characterized by vomiting or taking purgatives
- Pernicious anemia, which inhibits the correct absorption of Vitamin B12 and affects the stomach lining
- Other issues affecting the digestive system, like bile reflux, food allergies, autoimmune disorders or viral infections like HIV and herpes
- Bile reflux – when bile flows back into the stomach from the valve that connects the liver and the gall bladder
Natural Treatment for Gastritis
- Amla (Emblica Officanalis): Amla or Indian gooseberry is one of the best herbs for gastritis just as it is useful in many other digestive complaints like chronic acidity, indigestion, vomiting and bleeding. Drink 30-40 ml of amla juice every morning on an empty can be very beneficial in the case of gastritis.
- Mulethi (Glycyrrhiza Glabra): Licorice or mulethi is one of the natural remedies for gastritis since ancient times. This herb is used to soothe inflammation, repair damage to the stomach lining and also inhibit the growth of H. pylori. Take one teaspoon of mulethi powder + half a teaspoon of ghee + one teaspoon of honey. Mix and consume twice daily as one of the best home remedies for gastritis pain relief.
- Ginger (Zingiber Officinale): Ginger contains a compound known as gingerol which has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. This, and the fact that it is easily available makes it one of the top Ayurvedic remedies for gastritis. In case of chronic gastritis, one can take a glass of buttermilk with 1/8 teaspoon each of roasted cumin seed powder and dried ginger powder in the mornings and afternoons. Alternatively, one can mix one teaspoon each of ginger juice and honey. This can be taken before meals twice daily. Add ginger root to a cup of hot water and steep it. Strain and drink this delicious drink with some honey.
- Kumari (Aloe Barbadensis): 30-40 ml of aloe vera juice had daily can help reduce inflammation and pacify Pitta dosha. Aloe vera or Kumari can be an excellent for relieving gastritis and heartburn symptoms like burning sensation in the chest, sour taste in the mouth and gastroesophageal reflux. Aloe combined with amla is used as a powerful Ayurvedic treatment of chronic gastritis.
- Cardamom (Elattaria Cardamomum): Cardamom is very soothing and great as best natural remedies for gastritis and acid reflux. One can simply chew on cardamom pods after a meal to benefit from this healing herb.
- Fennel (Fenneliculum Vulgare): A popular after-digestive, saunf or fennel is one of the popular gastritis herbal remedies which cures indigestion and relieves acidity. One can take some fennel following a meal or soak the seeds in water overnight and drink the infusion the next morning for chronic gastritis relief.
- Ajwain (Trachyspermum Ammi): Carom seeds or ajwain is a time-tested natural remedy for digestive problems such as gastritis. Mix 1 teaspoon each of carom seeds and dried ginger with a little rock salt (saindhav namak). Take 1 teaspoon of this mixture with a glass of warm water or buttermilk twice a day. You could also prepare a decoction by boiling 2 cups of water with 4 teaspoons of carom seeds until the water reduces by half. Strain and drink half a cup of this mixture twice daily for effective home remedies for gastritis pain relief.
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- Gastritis Diet: The patient should undertake a fast for two or three days or more, depending on the severity of the condition. He should be given only warm water to drink during this period. This will give rest to the stomach and allow the toxic condition causing the inflammation to subside. After the acute symptoms subside the patients should adopt an all fruit diet for the next three days and take juicy fruits like apples, pears, grapes, grapefruit, oranges, pineapple, peaches and melons. He may, thereafter, gradually embark upon a balanced diet consisting of seeds, nuts, grains, vegetables and fruit.
- The patient should avoid the use of alcohol, tobacco, spices and condiments, meat, red pepper, sour foods, pickles, strong tea and coffee. He should also avoid sweets, pastries, rich cakes and aerated waters. Curds and cottage cheese can be taken freely.
- Track your “trigger” foods – usually they will be Pitta-provoking foods such as alcohol, caffeinated beverages, tomatoes, citrus fruits, dairy, peppermint and peppers. But in reality, it could be any food culprit that could exacerbate your gastritis symptoms. For example, if you notice that you experience bloating and cramping following dessert, that’s your cue to skip sweets. If certain foods make digestion painful for you, skip them.
- The patient should not expose himself to hard mental or physical work.
- One should avoid anxiety, worry and anger.
- One should be given complete rest.
- A walk in the early morning for about a mile is very useful.
- A dry friction bath and a sponge daily along with application of heat with a hot compress or hot water bottle, twice a day, either on an empty stomach or two hours after meals will also be beneficial.
- Lotus Pose (Padmasana)
- Raised Legs Pose (Utthanpadasana)
- Wind-Relieving Pose (Pawanmuktasana)
- Thunderbolt Pose (Vajrasana)
- Locust Pose (Shalabhasana)