Gastritis is a condition of the digestive tract in which the mucosa (the lining of the stomach) is inflamed. There are two primary types of gastritis: acute gastritis and chronic gastritis. Acute gastritis is sudden, short-term inflammation, while chronic gastritis is long-term inflammation.
Pangastritis is the most common type of chronic gastritis. It affects the entire stomach lining, including both the antral and oxyntic mucosa of the antrum (lower portion of the stomach) and fundus (upper portion of the stomach), respectively.
Pangastritis is different from regular gastritis because it involves the entirety of the stomach, rather than just one area.
Let’s take a closer look at the symptoms, causes, diagnosis, and treatment of pangastritis, as well as the outlook for this condition.
The symptoms of pangastritis are similar to those found in regular gastritis. They may include:
Pangastritis may not be the only cause of these symptoms, so it’s important to see a doctor if you’re experiencing them frequently.
A number of factors can damage your stomach lining and increase your risk of developing pangastritis.
1. Stomach infections
Helicobacter pylori is a type of bacteria that’s known for causing infections of the digestive tract. It’s one of the most common causes of pangastritis and stomach ulcers. It’s also thought to be linked to gastric cancer.
2. Pain relieving medications
Frequent use of pain-relieving medications, especially nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), is a risk factor for developing pangastritis. Taking NSAIDs too often causes injury to the mucosal lining and can affect gastric secretions. Both of these things can lead to inflammation.
3. Excessive alcohol use
Excessive alcohol use can have many adverse effects on your body, especially when it comes to the digestive tract. Alcohol abuse can lead to acute gastritis and for chronic drinkers, may lead to pangastritis as well.
4. Chronic stress
Stress can affect your body in a number of ways. Hormonal changes occur during stressful periods, including an increase in the levels of the acetylcholine and histamine. This can cause a change in gastric secretions and lead to stress-induced pangastritis.
5. Autoimmune conditions
Autoimmune gastritis occurs when the body attacks the parietal cells of the stomach. Autoimmune gastritis is not the same as pangastritis, because the parietal cells are only located in the corpus (main part, between the upper and lower parts) and fundus (upper part) of the stomach. However, the progression of autoimmune gastritis can result in pangastritis if the mucosa becomes more damaged over time.
There are several tests your doctor can use to diagnose pangastritis. These may include:
- Blood, breath, or stool tests for h. pylori. Your doctor may use any of these three tests to determine if you have an h. pyloriinfection:
- A blood test can allow the doctor to see if you’re actively or have previously been infected.
- A urea breath test can indicate if you have an active infection.
- A stool test will allow the doctor to see if there are any h. pyloriantigens present in your body.
- Stool test for gastric bleeding. Pangastritis and other inflammatory stomach conditions can cause blood to be present in the stool. Similar to checking the stool for an h. pyloriinfection, the doctor can check your stool for blood caused by gastritis.
- Blood test for anemia. Pangastritis is one of the risk factors for developing anemia. As the mucosa of the digestive tract becomes more damaged, it becomes more difficult to absorb nutrients from food. This can result in B-12 deficient (pernicious) anemia or iron-deficiency anemia. Your doctor may order a complete blood count (CBC) test to check for red blood cell, white blood cell, and hemoglobin levels.
- Upper GI series or endoscopy for damage. An upper GI series is a test in which a doctor views the lining of your stomach with imaging equipment. An endoscopy is a more invasive procedure in which a doctor can view the inside of the digestive tract with a small camera-tipped tube. Both tests can help determine if the mucosa has been damaged from pangastritis.
If you’ve been diagnosed with pangastritis, there are various treatment approaches that your doctor may want to take with you.
Treating any initial infection
If your pangastritis has been caused by an infection with h. pylori, it’s important to treat the infection first. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the regimen for treating an h. pylori infection can take anywhere from 10 to 14 days.
Your doctor may prescribe one or more medications, including:
- antibiotics (such as amoxicillin or tetracycline)
- ranitidine bismuth citrate
- proton pump inhibitor (PPI)
It’s important to note that despite this treatment approach, there may be a link between PPI use and mucosal damage.
In a meta-analysis from 2017, researchers investigated 13 studies in which individuals were placed under long-term PPI therapy. They found that the PPI therapy group had a higher likelihood of developing gastritis than the control group.
Restoring deficient nutrients
If your pangastritis has caused any nutrient deficiencies, your doctor will want to restore your nutrient levels as quickly as possible.
Reducing stomach acid with medications
People with pangastritis have fewer secretions in the digestive tract to help protect the lining from stomach acid. Treating pangastritis often involves the use of medications that can help to lower your stomach acid levels.
Acid-lowering medications that your doctor may prescribe include:
- Antacids. The role of an antacid is to neutralize stomach acid. The three basic types of antacids differ according to their active ingredient — magnesium, calcium, or aluminum. Common brand-name antacids are Alka-Seltzer, Rolaids, Mylanta, and Tums.
- H2 blockers. H2 blockers work in a slightly different manner than antacids. Rather than neutralizing stomach acid, H2 blockers prevent the cells in the digestive tract from producing as much stomach acid. This can help to prevent further damage to the sensitive mucosa.
- Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs).Similar to the way that H2 blockers work, proton pump inhibitors also reduce the secretion of stomach acid. However, PPIs are considered more of a long-term option as they can take longer to become effective.
The most common PPIs prescribed are Prilosec and Prevacid. Because long-term usage of PPIs may be a risk factor for pangastritis, your doctor may approach their use with caution.
Making dietary changes is important for people who have pangastritis to help reduce further irritation to the lining of the stomach. It’s important to focus on:
- foods high in fiber, such as grains and vegetables
- foods low in fat, such as lean protein
- foods that are less likely to raise stomach acid levels
- drinks without carbonation or caffeine
It’s also important to avoid the following foods as much as possible:
- alcoholic, caffeinated, and carbonated drinks
- overly acidic foods
- fatty or deep-fried foods
- spicy foods
There are also alternative, at-home remedies that you may want to incorporate into your treatment approach. These include:
- Probiotics. Probiotics are beneficial organisms found in the gut that can help keep your digestive tract healthy. Research has suggested that probiotic therapy might be a good option for those with gastritis. In one animal study, researchers tested the use of a BIFICO probiotic (containing Enterococcus faecalis, Bifidobacterium longum, and Lactobacillus acidophilus) on h. pylori-induced gastritis in mice. They found that treatment with the probiotic cocktail reduced gastric inflammation. However, the research is still limited on the use of probiotics as a treatment for gastritis in humans.
- Glutamine. Glutamine is an important amino acid. One of the roles of glutamine is as a precursor to one of the most potent antioxidants in the body, glutathione.Research has suggested that glutamine may play a protective role against mucosal damage however, further research in clinical trials is still needed.
- Antioxidants. Some of the most important compounds in the human body are antioxidants. Antioxidants help to protect the body from DNA-damaging oxidative stress. In people with pangastritis, inflammation of the mucosal lining can lead to oxidative stress in the cells of the stomach.
In one study, researchers found that treatment with the antioxidant resveratrol reduced H. pylori-induced gastric inflammation in mice. Still, further human trials are needed to determine the exact role of antioxidant supplementation for pangastritis.
- Omega-3 fatty acids. Polyunsaturated fatty acids have been used in dietary therapy throughout history due to their anti-inflammatory effects, among other benefits. A recent review of the research in 2015 found that n-3 PUFA supplementation may be able to alleviate the inflammation and damage caused by gastritis. In addition, it may also reduce the risk of developing more serious diseases, such as stomach cancer.
- Additional food ingredients.Garlic, ginger, and turmeric are all foods that can be incorporated into the diet to block the growth of bad bacteria in the stomach.
Pangastritis is a type of chronic gastritis, meaning that treatment and management will likely be necessary in the long-term.
Chronic, untreated gastritis is a risk factor for the development of many diseases. These include:
Treating the underlying conditions and healing the stomach are important first steps in reducing the risk of these related conditions.
For these reasons, it’s important to get a diagnosis from your doctor and discuss a treatment plan.
The prevention of pangastritis starts with healthy lifestyle habits. Here are some steps you can take:
- Be sure to wash your hands often to prevent the spread of h. pylorito yourself and others.
- Avoid excessive alcohol consumption, as this can irritate the lining of your stomach.
- Limit NSAID and pain medication use to prevent inflammation of the stomach lining.