Stomach Diseases & Treatment
Gastritis is an inflammation of the stomach lining. Weaknesses or injury to the mucus-lined barrier that protects your stomach wall allows your digestive juices to damage and inflame your stomach lining. A number of diseases and conditions can increase your risk of gastritis.
Risk factors for gastritis:
Factors that increase your risk of gastritis include:
• Bacterial infection: Although infection with Helicobacter pylori is among the most common worldwide human infections, only some people with the infection develop gastritis or other upper gastrointestinal disorders. Doctors believe vulnerability to the bacterium could be inherited or could be caused by lifestyle choices, such as smoking and diet.
• Regular use of pain relievers: Common pain relievers — such as aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxe — can cause both acute gastritis and chronic gastritis. Using these pain relievers regularly or taking too much of these drugs may reduce a key substance that helps preserve the protective lining of your stomach.
• Older age: Older adults have an increased risk of gastritis because the stomach lining tends to thin with age and because older adults are more likely to have Hpylori infection or autoimmune disorders than younger people are.
• Excessive alcohol use: Alcohol can irritate and erode your stomach lining, which makes your stomach more vulnerable to digestive juices. Excessive alcohol use is more likely to cause acute gastritis.
• Stress: Severe stress due to major surgery, injury, burns or severe infections can cause acute gastritis.
• Your own body attacking cells in your stomach: Called autoimmune gastritis, this type of gastritis occurs when your body attacks the cells that make up your stomach lining. This reaction can wear away at your stomach’s protective barrier.
• Other diseases and conditions: Gastritis may be associated with other medical conditions, including HIV/AIDS, Crohn’s disease and parasitic infections.
The signs and symptoms of gastritis include:
• Burning ache or pain (indigestion) in your upper abdomen that may become either worse or better with eating.
• A feeling of fullness in your upper abdomen after eating
Gastritis doesn’t always cause signs and symptoms.
When to see a doctor:
Most cases of indigestion are short-lived and don’t require medical care. See your doctor if you have signs and symptoms of gastritis for a week or longer. If you are vomiting blood, have blood in your stools or have stools that appear black, see your doctor right away to determine the cause.
Left untreated, gastritis may lead to stomach ulcers and stomach bleeding. Rarely, some forms of chronic gastritis may increase your risk of stomach cancer, especially if you have extensive thinning of the stomach lining and changes in the lining’s cells.
Cancer starts off when the structure of DNA changes. When this happens, it can disrupt the instructions that control cell growth.Cells that should die may not do so, and cells that should be newly created may be produced too rapidly, or in an uncontrollable way.
There are several symptoms associated with stomach cancer. Early symptoms of stomach cancer may include:
• A sensation of being very full (or rapidly full) during meals.
• Dysphagia (swallowing difficulties and Feeling bloated after meals.
• Frequent burping and heartburn.
• Indigestion that does not go away, stomachache, or pain in the sternum.
• Trapped wind and vomiting ( may contain blood).
Individuals who develop indigestion and have at least one of the following in their medical history should see a doctor:
• A close relative who has/had stomach cancer
• Barret’s esophagus
• Dysplasia – these are typically a precancerous form of cells
• Gastritis – inflammation of the lining of the stomach
• Pernicious anemia- the stomach does not absorb vitamin B12 properly from food.
• History of stomach ulcers.
When the stomach cancer becomes more advanced, the following signs and symptoms typically become more apparent:
• Accumulation of fluid in the stomach – stomach feels “lumpy”
• Black stools, or blood in stools
• Loss of appetite, fatigue and weight loss.
Risk factors linked to stomach cancer include:
• Certain medical conditions – including oesophagitis, GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease), peptic stomach ulcer, Barrett’s esophagus.
• Helicobacter pylori infection.
• Family history – having a close relative who has/had stomach cancer.
• Diet – people who regularly eat salted fish, salty foods, smoked meats, and pickled vegetables have a higher risk of developing gastric cancer.
• Age – the risk increases significantly after the age of 55.
• Previous or existing cancers – patients who have/had esophagus cancer are more likely to develop stomach cancer.
• Some surgical procedures – especially surgery to the stomach.
Diagnosis of stomach cancer:
Diagnostic tests may include a gastroscope.The specialist looks at the inside of the patient’s stomach with a fiber optic camera. Some tissue samples may be taken if the doctor suspects cancer.
Treatments for stomach cancer:
This depends on several factors, including the severity of the cancer and the patient’s overall health and preferences.Treatments may include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, medications, and taking part in clinical trials.
Peptic ulcers occur when acid in the digestive tract eats away at the inner surface of the stomach. The acid can create a painful open sore that may bleed. Your digestive tract is coated with a mucous layer that normally protects against acid. But if the amount of acid is increased or the amount of mucus is decreased, you could develop an ulcer. Common causes include:
• A bacterium: Helicobacter pylori bacteria commonly live in the mucous layer that covers and protects tissues that line the stomach. Often, the H. pylori bacterium causes no problems, but it can cause inflammation of the stomach’s inner layer, producing an ulcer. It’s not clear how H. pylori infection spreads.
• Regular use of certain pain relievers: Taking aspirin, as well as certain over-the-counter and prescription pain medications called nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can irritate or inflame the lining of your stomach. These medications include ibuprofen and naproxen. Peptic ulcers are more common in older adults who take these pain medications frequently.
• Other medications: Taking certain other medications along with NSAIDs, such as steroids, anticoagulants, low-dose aspirin can greatly increase the chance of developing ulcers.
You may have an increased risk of peptic ulcers if you:
• Drink alcohol.
• Have untreated stress.
• Eat spicy foods.
• Burning stomach pain.
• Feeling of fullness, bloating or belching.
• Fatty food intolerance.
• Heartburn and nausea.
The most common peptic ulcer symptom is burning stomach pain. Stomach acid makes the pain worse, as does having an empty stomach. The pain may be worse between meals and at night.Nearly three-quarters of people with peptic ulcers don’t have symptoms. Less often, ulcers may cause severe signs or symptoms such as:
• Vomiting or vomiting blood — which may appear red or black.
• Dark blood in stools, or stools that are black or tarry.
• Trouble breathing.
• Feeling faint, Nausea or vomiting, unexplained weight loss and appetite change.
Left untreated, peptic ulcers can result in:
• Internal bleeding: Bleeding can occur as slow blood loss that leads to anemia or as severe blood loss that may require hospitalization or a blood transfusion. Severe blood loss may cause black or bloody vomit or black or bloody stools.
• Infection: Peptic ulcers can eat a hole through (perforate) the wall of your stomach or small intestine, putting you at risk of serious infection of your abdominal cavity.
• Obstruction: Peptic ulcers can lead to swelling, inflammation or scarring that may block passage of food through the digestive tract. A blockage may make you become full easily, vomit and lose weight.