What do you need to know about Gastric Ulcer?
- Are you having issues with the digestion of your food?
- Do you complain of gastric burning pain after heavy meals?
- You ever rushed to emergency center suspecting you are having a heart attack?
If your answer to any of the above questions is YES, then you may be suffering from gastritis or gastric ulcer.
What is Gastritis or Gastric ulcer?
Gastritis is a health issue in which internal lining of stomach gets irritated due to increased acid production by the stomach cells. Human body need stomach acids for a number of functions like digestion of food, killing bacteria that gain access to human body with food and many others. However, if the natural balance between acid producing factors and protecting factors from acid gets disturbed, gastric ulcer may result.
Risk factors for Gastritis/Gastric ulcer:
Increased acid production is the main cause of gastritis and any condition that increase acid production aggravates the risk of gastritis, like:
- Smoking and alcohol consumption
- Stress or Type A personality (people who work long hours, have stressful lifestyle and are anxious by nature)
- Patient of burns
- High caffeine intake is associated with increasing acid production. Caffeinated beverages, chocolates and coca containing products also causes gastric ulcer for similar reasons.
- Intake of spicy meals.
Impaired body defenses against acid produced from stomach is equally responsible for causing gastric ulcer, like:
- Aspirin intake (especially associated with heart patients. Aspirin reduces the secretion of substances which protect the stomach. Short term usage of aspirin is not harmful but using in long term can severely damage the stomach.
- Pain-killers for chronic joint issues.
- HIV/AIDS, Crohn disease or disorders related to liver and kidney failure.
Sign and symptoms of Gastric ulcer:
Most commonly the symptoms of gastritis are related to having a general upset stomach or pain. In addition to this:
- Abdominal pain and bloating, pain is burning in nature and mostly mimics heart attack
- In severe cases nausea and vomiting is also observed
- Anemia due to loss of appetite and damage to cells of stomach as a result of acid production.
- Feeling of fullness or heartburn right after having meals.
How to avoid Gastric ulcer?
- Usually antacids and antibiotics are prescribed to the patients of gastritis.
- In case of existence of pernicious anemia the patients are also administered with injections of B12.
- Along with medication, the patients are also advised to avoid hot and spicy foods.
- Drinking plenty of water and consumption of fat free diet also help the symptoms.
Some misconceptions regarding symptomatic relief of Gastritis:
Drinking low fat milk or skimmed milk provide symptomatic relief in some, but it overall increases the acid production even more as milk has alkali (base like) properties that induce stomach cells to release even more acid.
Most people think that it is their food intake that is increasing acid production and by starvation they may get rid of their stomach pain. This is not true as more acid will be produced and as no food is there to neutralize, acid will directly harm stomach cells and causes more stomach pain.