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Gastritis

Digestion | October 24, 2018 | Author: Naturopath

Digestion

Gastritis

Gastritis is inflammation of the lining of the stomach which causes abdominal pain, indigestion, nausea and loss of appetite. It can be either acute (short-term) or chronic and persist for many months. There are many causes of gastritis including infection, alcohol abuse, autoimmune conditions and overuse of certain medications. Getting relief from gastritis involves finding out what the trigger is and treating that. Natural therapies such as slippery elm, turmeric, licorice and aloe vera can help to provide symptomatic relief and heal the damaged stomach lining.

The stomach lining

gastitisThe upper most layer of the stomach is called the epithelium which is coated with mucous secreted by special glands. This is referred to as the gastric mucosa and it helps to protect the stomach lining from infection and irritation from ingested foods and acid. In gastritis there is irritation and inflammation of the upper most layer of the stomach because foods and digestive juices irritate an unprotected part of lining in the stomach.

In some cases, gastritis can cause the stomach lining to wear away and ulcers or sores to form (erosive gastritis), while nonerosive gastritis causes inflammation but no ulcers.

Symptoms of gastritis

The most common symptoms of gastritis include:

  • Gnawing or burning ache in the upper abdomen that improves or worsens when eating
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting (with or without blood)
  • Indigestion
  • Weight loss
  • Loss of appetite

Some people with gastritis are asymptomatic (have no symptoms). They can either appear suddenly or develop over time. For most people the symptoms aren’t serious and improve quickly without treatment.

Causes of gastritis

Infection—the most common cause of gastritis is infection with helicobacter pylori. This bacterium also causes stomach and duodenal ulcers. Less frequently, infection with another virus, bacteria, parasite or fungus can cause gastritis.

Regular use of pain relievers—over the counter pain relievers such as paracetamol, aspirin and ibuprofen that are used regularly can lead to gastritis. They reduce a key substance that helps to preserve the protective lining of the stomach.

Alcohol abuse—excessive alcohol use can irritate and erode the lining of your stomach leading to acute gastritis.

Autoimmunity—autoimmune gastritis is where you body starts attacking the cells in the stomach. Autoimmune gastritis is associated with vitamin B12 deficiency and is more common in people with other autoimmune disorders, including Hashimoto's disease and type 1 diabetes.

Stress—severe stress due to injury, burns, infection and surgery can cause acute gastritis. Emotional stress can lead to an overproduction of gastric juices in some people.

Other causes include radiation, protracted vomiting, food allergies and backflow of bile from the small intestine. As we age the lining of the stomach becomes thinner—making a person more susceptible to helicobacter pylori infection and gastritis.

Lifestyle and home remedies

You may find relief from signs and symptoms of gastritis if you:

  • Avoid spicy, acidic, fatty and large meals
  • Eat small frequent meals
  • Try soft, steamed and cooked foods
  • Avoid known food allergens
  • Fresh cabbage juice can heal stomach inflammation
  • Avoid alcohol and cigarette smoke
  • Talk to your doctor or naturopath for alternatives to over the counter pain relievers

Natural therapy options

Aloe vera

Aloe veraThe inner gel from the aloe vera plant has antimicrobial, healing and cooling properties.

It can help to heal and soothe inflammation in the stomach.

A recent clinical trial found that aloe vera alleviated alcohol induced gastric ulcers in mice.

Slippery elm

Slippery elm is traditionally used to treat irritation and inflammation in the digestive tract. It can also help to neutralise acid in the stomach by forming a protective coating on the stomach lining. The best way to take slippery elm powder is to mix 1 tablespoon with manuka honey and water to form a paste and consume before each meal.

Marshmallow

Extracts of marshmallow root are widely used for the treatment of irritated mucosa. A 2010 clinical trial proved the traditional use of Marshmallow preparations for treatment of irritated mucous membranes. It found that the herb is high in mucilaginous polysaccharides which leads to a mucin-like layer over inflamed tissues. It also found marshmallow promoted tissue regeneration leading to the healing of the damaged gastric mucosa.

Licorice

Licorice is high in polysaccharides which exhibits antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory actions on the lining of the stomach. Studies have proven that licorice has an antimicrobial action against helicobacter pylori by inhibiting this bacteria from adhering to the lining of the stomach.

Curcumin

curcumenCurcumin is a component of turmeric which exhibits strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant actions in the body. In animal studies it has been found to exert a significant anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial effect in helicobacter pylori-infected gastric mucosa, pointing to the promising role of a nutritional approach in the prevention of helicobacter pylori induced inflammation.

The bottom line

Gastritis is inflammation and irritation of the stomach lining. It can be caused by food allergies, infection, over the counter pain relievers and alcohol overuse. Finding the cause of the gastritis will result in a more targeted treatment approach. Natural therapies such as aloe vera, licorice, curcumin, slippery elm and marshmallow can help to heal the inflamed tissues and provide relief from symptoms.

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References

https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/gastritis

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/gastritis/symptoms-causes/syc-20355807

Park CH, et al. Low molecular-weight gel fraction of Aloe vera exhibits gastroprotection by inducing matrix metalloproteinase-9 inhibitory activity in alcohol-induced acute gastric lesion tissues. Pharm Biol. 2017 Dec;55(1):2110-2115

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28874080

Deters A, et al. Aqueous extracts and polysaccharides from Marshmallow roots (Althea officinalis L.): cellular internalisation and stimulation of cell physiology of human epithelial cells in vitro. J Ethnopharmacol. 2010 Jan 8;127(1):62-9

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19799989

Wittschier N, et al. Aqueous extracts and polysaccharides from liquorice roots (Glycyrrhiza glabra L.) inhibit adhesion of Helicobacter pylori to human gastric mucosa. J Ethnopharmacol. 2009 Sep 7;125(2):218-23

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19607905

Santos AM, et al. Curcumin inhibits gastric inflammation induced by Helicobacter pylori infection in a mouse model. Nutrients. 2015 Jan 6;7(1):306-20

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25569625

De R, et al. Antimicrobial activity of curcumin against Helicobacter pylori isolates from India and during infections in mice. Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2009 Apr;53(4):1592-7

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19204190

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