GASTRITIS SOLICITORS - MEDICAL NEGLIGENCE COMPENSATION CLAIM
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Gastritis is a condition where the lining of the stomach is inflamed, irritated and swollen. It interferes with the ability of the stomach to digest food and it can be made worse by the fact that the stomach contains a great deal of acid and an inflamed stomach lining cannot protect itself from the acid production. It causes indigestion, belching, pain in the stomach and can cause nausea and vomiting.
There are several causes of gastritis that need to be explored any time a person develops symptoms related to gastritis. Alcohol is a common cause of chronic gastritis and is the reason why chronic alcoholics have bleeding from the stomach and chronic stomach pain. Gastritis can be caused by an erosion into the stomach lining from acidic foods or other irritant to the stomach lining. You can become infected with Helicobacter pylori, a bacterium that irritates the lining of the stomach. It can be gotten by anyone but the incidence of H. pylori infection goes up with age. Certain medications are irritating to the stomach and can cause gastritis. This includes aspirin and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications such as Aleve (naproxen) and Advil (ibuprofen). Those who smoke are at higher than average risk for getting gastritis.
Other less common causes of gastritis are bile reflux from the gallbladder, pernicious anemia or other autoimmune disorders, certain caustic poisons, excess stress (which releases too much gastric acid) and having a viral infection while being immunosuppressed.
Gastritis can be acute and can last just a short period of time. It can also last for many weeks or months and be termed chronic gastritis. Chronic gastritis is common with H. pylori infections and with alcoholic gastritis.
Symptoms of gastritis include upper abdominal pain, indigestion, dark or tarry stools from bleeding in the stomach, nausea, vomiting, poor appetite and the vomiting of coffee ground appearing material, which is partially digested blood. The symptoms can be worse on an empty stomach because the acid has nothing to buffer it with. It can also be made worse by eating, which irritates the stomach lining. This is especially true if you eat acidic foods like tomatoes and citrus products.
You can test for gastritis by using an x-ray of the stomach, which may show the irritated lining of the stomach. You can also have an endoscopy which looks at the stomach and oesophagus. The endoscopy can see the lining of the stomach. Biopsies can be obtained of the stomach lining and these can be looked at under the microscope. H. pylori bacteria can be seen in the biopsy as well as the inflammation of the lining of the stomach. There are blood tests for Helicobacter pylori. If positive, the infection can be treated.
The treatment of gastritis includes treating the Helicobacter pylori infection (if present). This means taking antibiotics that heal H. pylori infections. The treatment is taken for two weeks to a month and the stomach gradually heals itself. You can't drink alcohol if you have gastritis and you need to stay away from acidic foods. Medications to reduce stomach acid, such as H2 blockers and proton pump inhibitors, reduce the stomach acid and allow for healing of the stomach. H2 blockers include Tagamet and Axid. Proton pump inhibitors include medications like Prilosec. Both help reduce the degree of stomach acid in the stomach so the lining of the stomach can gradually heal. Antacid medication like TUMS or Maalox will provide temporary relief of symptoms of stomach gastritis but are not all that successful at healing the disease.
The prognosis of gastritis is usually good unless you have alcoholic gastritis and cannot stop drinking. In such cases, medications should be used to reduce stomach acid so the stomach lining is not exposed chronically to stomach acid.
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