male laying on couch holding stomachChronic gastritis occurs when the stomach lining becomes inflamed. People may experience no symptoms or a dull, persistent stomachache. Knowing the root cause of your gastritis helps identify treatment options.

Upon examination that includes a medical history and possible tests, your doctor will diagnose you with one of three types of gastritis:

Type A occurs when your immune system destroys stomach cells and increases the risk of vitamin deficiencies, anemia and cancer.

Type B is caused by the Helicobacter pylori bacteria and is the most common type of chronic gastritis. It can lead to stomach or intestinal ulcers and cancer.

Type C chronic gastritis is caused when chemicals irritate the lining. Common sources of the irritants include alcohol, bile or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDSs) like ibuprofen.

Possible symptoms of any of the above chronic gastritis include:

  • Upper abdominal pain
  • Indigestion
  • Bloating
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Belching
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss

If you do experience symptoms and they last consistently for a week or more, contact your doctor. If you are diagnosed with Type A, you’ll likely discuss making dietary changes to address nutrient deficiencies. Patients diagnosed with Type B will be advised to take antibiotics to destroy the bacteria. Patients with Type C will be recommended to stop taking NSAIDS or drinking alcohol to avoid further damage.

Medications that block or reduce stomach acid production may also be recommended. Antacids that neutralize stomach acid also provide rapid pain relief.

Monitoring your diet and stress levels can help prevent chronic gastritis. Focus on foods that include lean meats, whole grains, fruits and vegetables and foods high in probiotics.

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