Radiation can cause stomach pain

Gastritis: what helps with stomach pain?

Status: 04/15/2019 3:12 p.m. | archive
A common cause of stomach pain is inflamed stomach lining.

Almost everyone has had something on the stomach at one point or another: Stress and diet play a key role in the widespread disease gastritis. While the creeping chronic forms often go unnoticed for a long time, an acute gastric mucosa manifests itself very unpleasantly with sudden violent stomach pain, a feeling of fullness, nausea and belching. These complaints can become chronic.

The stomach as a high-performance organ

In the stomach, the eaten food makes the first long stopover. Here it is further crushed, kneaded and soaked in corrosive stomach acid: 35 million glands in the gastric mucosa produce three liters of gastric juice a day in order to digest the food and kill the germs in it. So that the stomach does not "digest itself" straight away, specialized cells produce a thick mucus that covers the gastric mucosa with a thin protective film. If this protective layer is damaged or if there is too much acid in the stomach, the lining of the stomach can be damaged and become inflamed.

Possible triggers for acute gastritis

  • too much nicotine, alcohol, coffee, spicy food
  • Food poisoning
  • psychological or physical stress (fear, stress, accidents)
  • Infections with bacteria, viruses, molds
  • Medicines (especially pain relievers such as acetylsalicylic acid, diclofenac, ibuprofen, especially in combination with cortisone, also non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, immunosuppressants)
  • radiotherapy

Causes of chronic gastric mucosal inflammation

The causes of chronic gastritis are of various kinds. Accordingly, doctors differentiate between gastritis types A, B or C.

Type A gastritis: autoimmune disease. In this rather rare form, the body forms defense substances against certain cells of the gastric mucosa for reasons that have not yet been understood. The so-called parietal cells actually produce stomach acid - they gradually perish as a result of the autoimmune attack. Since the parietal cells also produce the so-called intrinsic factor, which controls the absorption of vitamin B 12 in the intestine, the absorption of vitamins from food is also disturbed in this form of gastritis. The result is anemia (pernicious anemia).

Type B gastritis: bacterial infection. Type B is the most common form, here is mostly the bacterium Helicobacter pylori fault. Around half of adults are infected with it, often without knowing it. The transmission routes have not yet been fully clarified, but the infection occurs more frequently among people in close contact (e.g. in families). The germ has specially adapted to the rough living conditions in the stomach and can nestle there without causing discomfort. But it is considered a risk factor for stomach ulcers and malignant tumors.

Type C gastritis: chemically toxic irritation. About every third to fourth inflammation of the stomach lining is triggered by pain medication or other chemical stimuli. Those who take pain pills or certain other medications frequently should consult their doctor about milder alternatives. Other triggers for type C gastritis are excessive alcohol consumption or - very rarely - what is known as gall reflux: bile juice enters the stomach from the duodenum.

Symptoms often only occur in acute gastritis

Acute gastritis usually begins with a burning sensation or a feeling of pressure in the stomach area. Acid belching, a bloated stomach, stomach or back pain can also occur, as well as nausea and vomiting. The upper abdomen is often sensitive to pressure.

The chronic inflammation of the gastric mucosa remains asymptomatic or causes only slight discomfort after meals such as belching or bloating. In severe type A gastritis, the accompanying anemia can lead to tiredness, shortness of breath and weakness.

Diagnosis is made by the specialist

The doctor will inquire about diet and lifestyle habits, possible previous illnesses and medications. An ultrasound scan of the upper abdomen can be useful to rule out gallstones.

The diagnosis is confirmed by a gastroscopy performed by a specialist (gastroenterologist). For the examination, he pushes a thin, flexible tube (endoscope) through the esophagus and into the stomach. It doesn't hurt, but it's a little uncomfortable. The doctor can now view the inside of the stomach using a built-in camera. He takes small tissue samples from conspicuous places for fine tissue examination in the laboratory.

A Helicobacter infection can possibly be detected in the tissue sample. Other detection methods are stool samples or breath tests.

If type A gastritis is suspected, a blood test is indicated to detect any antibodies.

When should I see a doctor?

Symptoms such as abdominal pain, nausea or bloating can be caused by harmless digestive disorders, but also by an irritable stomach or serious illnesses. Therefore you should consult a doctor if stomach problems last longer than 14 days.

Treatment depends on the cause and shape of the gastritis.

Diet for gastritis: Eat gently

Acute gastritis usually disappears quickly if you take care of your stomach. Everything that fuels inflammation has to be reduced: especially stress and poor nutrition.

Too much, too fatty, too spicy, but also too sweet food means hard work for the stomach. He reacts irritably, produces more acid, his muscles cramp painfully. Coffee and alcohol also boost gastric acid production, as do fried, breaded and smoked foods, sausages, delicatessen salads and other ready-made products.

Diet for gastritis

Little sweet things, no irritating food, but enough protein and plenty of fluids - that protects the stomach. It is also better to eat several small portions and, above all, in peace. more

Recipes for gastritis

Mild foods for the irritated stomach lining: Eat yourself healthy with these tasty, quick dishes. more

reduce stress

It is also important in a figurative sense not to "eat everything into yourself", but to be careful with yourself. The stomach and the autonomic nervous system are closely related. In the case of recurring stomach problems, it is important to create quiet areas and identify sources of stress in order to find ways out of the stress trap. Relaxing rituals are also helpful:

  • Do an upper abdominal wrap with wood sorrel essence two to three times a week: put one tablespoon of wood sorrel essence on a quarter of a liter of water, apply the wrap for 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Incorporate relaxation exercises such as autogenic training, meditation or massages into everyday life.

Be careful with acid blockers and other drugs

In the long run - longer than two to four weeks - you should not use acid blockers (PPIs) without medical advice, even if side effects rarely occur. But there are milder, naturopathic alternatives that can calm the stomach, such as teas and herbs with extracts from chamomile and deadly nightshade.

Experts on the subject

Priv.-Doz. Dr. Viola Andresen, MSc, head of the nutrition team
Israelite hospital
Orchideenstieg 14, 22297 Hamburg
(040) 511 25-5001

Prof. Dr. Andreas de Weerth, chief physician
Internal Medicine Clinic
Agaplesion Diakonieklinikum Hamburg gGmbH
Hohe Weide 17, 20259 Hamburg

additional Information
German society for combating diseases of the stomach, intestines and liver as well as disorders of metabolism and nutrition (Gastro-Liga) e. V.
Friedrich-List-Strasse 13, 35398 Giessen
(0641) 97 48 10

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