Gastritis is the main name used for any condition that involves inflammation of the stomach lining. Gastritis can be either acute (happens all of a sudden) or chronic (happens over time). There are different types of gastritis that are caused by different factors.
For most people, gastritis is minor and will go away quickly after treatment. There are some forms of gastritis that can produce ulcers or cause a higher risk for cancer.
Your diet is important for your digestive and overall health. What you put in your stomach can make a difference in the health of your digestive system. For instance, some forms of gastritis are caused by drinking alcohol too often or too much at one time. Avoiding some foods and beverages and eating others can help manage the condition.
There are some foods that may help manage your gastritis and lessen the symptoms. These include:
- high-fiber foods such as apples, oatmeal, broccoli, carrots, and beans
- low-fat foods such as fish, chicken, and turkey breast
- foods with low acidity, or are more alkaline, like vegetables
- drinks that are not carbonated
- drinks without caffeine
- probiotics such as kombucha, yogurt, kimchi, and sauerkraut
Some studies show that probiotics may help with Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori). H. pylori is bacteria that causes an infection in the digestive system which can lead to gastritis or stomach ulcers.
Foods that are high in fat may worsen inflammation in the lining of the stomach. Some other foods to avoid because they can irritate the stomach are:
- acidic foods like tomatoes and some fruits
- fruit juice
- fatty foods
- fried foods
- carbonated drinks
- spicy foods
- allergenic or symptomatic foods
Some types of gastritis can eventually cause an ulcer. If you have an ulcer, the types of foods that you should eat or avoid are similar to those for gastritis. With an ulcer, you should make sure you are getting foods that are full of vitamins. A healthy diet with foods full of vitamins make it easier for the ulcer to heal.
You may also talk with your doctor about eliminating milk from your diet even if it seems to reduce your ulcer pain. It may actually make the pain worse later.
The types of gastritis have different causes. Some of these include:
Major injury or illness
Major illness or injury can cause acute stress gastritis. An injury to your body (not necessarily to the stomach) or an illness that affects blood flow to your stomach, increases acid in your stomach.
Stomach lining damage
This damage can be caused by some of the following:
- consuming alcohol and various drugs
- aspirin and pain relievers like NSAIDS
- swallowing a corrosive substance
- bacterial or viral infections
- radioactive treatments to the upper abdomen or lower part of the chest
- surgery to remove part of your stomach
An infection caused by Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori)
This bacteria is one that causes infection. H. pylori is the most common cause of gastritis. And it’s most common in less developed countries. It usually starts when you are a child even though symptoms may not appear until you become an adult.
Autoimmune diseases may also contribute to gastritis. This may occur when the immune system goes after your body’s own healthy tissue in the stomach lining.
Evidence suggests in those who have eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE) (a gastrointestinal disorder) that ingesting allergenic foods can be a trigger for gastritis. It is important to work with your doctor or board-certified allergist to determine any food allergies.
Gastritis is treated with medications that include antacids. For gastritis caused by H. pylori, your doctor will also prescribe antibiotics. You will also need to avoid taking anything that caused your gastritis, like alcohol, aspirin, or pain relievers. Supplemental probiotics may also be helpful in managing your gastritis and preventing future episodes.
The length of time your gastritis will last once you begin treatment depends on the type, cause, and severity. Most of the time it will improve in a short time after beginning treatment. Be sure to talk with your doctor before changing your diet or before stopping or starting new medications, including those that are over-the-counter.