How long does Gastritis Last?

Statistics reveal that about 10% of all those who went into the hospital emergency room with complaints of abdominal pain have gastritis. Gastritis is the inflammation of the stomach lining. There are many causes of gastritis. Some of these are due to alcohol ingestion, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs (like aspirin), burns, injuries, major surgeries, Helicobacter pylori, autoimmune diseases, and severe infection. The question lies on how long does gastritis last?

The span of time gastritis would last depend on the nature of the condition. Acute gastritis usually lasts less than six months. Causes of acute gastritis are alcohol ingestion, NSAIDs, iron tablets, steroids, potassium supplements, cancer chemotherapy medications, swallowing of poison (like corrosives). Acute causes of gastritis leads to stomach lining erosion, which in turn could lead to chronic gastritis when not intervened. Chronic gastritis lasts more than 6 months and the most common cause of chronic gastritis is the Helicobacter pylori. Other causes are bacteria, stress, chronic bile reflux, and autoimmune diseases. Here, erosion could occur or severe destruction of the stomach lining could be seen.

The symptoms of gastritis are as follows: nausea, vomiting (some clear vomitus while some are yellowish or greenish), pain at the upper and central portion of the abdomen (most common), bloating, belching, loss of appetite, feeling of fullness after taking just a bit, pernicious anemia (stomach plays a big role in the absorption of vitamin B12), and unexplained weight loss. To diagnose the said condition, series of tests can be prescribed in order to know the main cause of gastritis such as blood cell count, presence of H. pylori, urinalysis, stool exam with occult blood, endoscopy, and stomach biopsy.

Treatment of gastritis includes antacids (Maalox), proton pump inhibitor (omeprazole, esomeprazole, lansiprazole, and rabeprazole), and cytoprotective agents like sucralfate and misoprostol. Proton pump inhibitors and bismuth subsalicylate are found to inhibit the activities of Helicobacter pylori thus limiting its negative affectation to the body. Antibacteria drug could also be used to kill any microbes that cause gastritis. Over-the-counter drugs could easily be purchases so that gastritis could be treated right away.

What happens when gastritis is not intervened? The risk of the person in acquiring gastric polyps, peptic ulcer disease, and malignant gastric tumors is high. There are some with chronic H.pylori gastritis who develops atrophic gastritis. Atrophic gastritis, in short description, could lead to gastric cancer and MALT- mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue lymphoma.

Prevention is always better than cure so avoid stuffs that could cause gastritis such as alcohol, hot and spicy foods, and other medications. Be wise in taking care of the body.

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