The cause of gastritis – inflammation of the gastric mucosa – can be a viral infection, but also a side effect of some medications, e.g. aspirin and other antireumatics. However, in most cases, this disorder is the direct consequence of excessive drinks, smoking, or meals (or meals that does not “match” to a particular person).
The symptoms of viral gastritis resemble symptoms of gastroenteritis. If gastritis is the result of excessive drinking, smoking or eating, or irritation with some medication, the symptoms are similar to those with poor digestion.
Mild gastritis occurs in almost every person. Pain and/or vomiting, which are the only consequence of gastritis, are very rare. The likelihood of gastritis is greater if you smoke or drink a lot.
Occasional gastritis attacks do not pose a permanent danger to health. If the attacks are severe and frequent – with vomiting and pain lasting more than 24 hours – the risk of gastric mucosa damaging and appearing of gastric erosion may increase.
What to do?
If you have problems with gastritis quite often, think about your lifestyle. You will probably realise that you smoke, eat or drink too much. After you have found a probable cause, try to be moderate and careful to avoid further attacks. If you continue to feel the symptoms of digestive tract disease, talk to your doctor. To relieve the symptoms, apply the self-help measures described below; however, if you start vomiting blood or if you have gastric pain for more than 24 hours, contact your doctor immediately. After examining your general health condition and possible side effects of the medication you are taking, your doctor will send you to a diagnostic scan (in the hospital) to determine if you have just gastritis or maybe someting else, too. Examinations are usually the same as with people with possible gastric ulcer.
Self-help: when you experience gastritis, do not eat anything 24 hours. Instead, drink non-alcoholic liquids – often in small quantities – preferably milk or water. Start eating after 24 hours, but only meals that “suit” you and in very small quantities. If your stomach pain persists, take antacid (a gastric acid drug). If you find that gastritis in your case is related to alcohol or smoking, try not to use/consume them for at least one month: if the attacks stop, the decision depends only on you.
Professional help: if the diagnosis clearly points to gastritis, your doctor will probably prescribe sedative antacids (a cure for gingivitis that is at the same time a gastric acid drug). If you feel strong nausea and vomit, you will get an antiemetics injection. If the presumed cause of gastritis is some kind of a medicine, your doctor will advise a different type of medication and explain to you exactly what dose and time intervals you will take.