Gastritis describes a variety of conditions relating to inflammation of the stomach lining. Various factors, including injuries, H.pylori infection, excessive use of certain painkillers, and high alcohol consumption, can lead to gastritis. In most cases, the conditions are easy to treat. Sometimes, however, gastritis causes ulcers and increase one's risk of developing cancer. Early diagnosis is important for a full recovery.
The most common and widely reported of all gastric-related symptoms, abdominal pain associated with this condition can vary from moderate to severe. The pain is usually located in the upper central portion of the abdomen and is described as a dull, aching discomfort. In severe cases, people complain of sharp, shooting pains that seem to gnaw at their insides.
Those with gastritis complain of a feeling of fullness that does not ease. It is particularly strong after a meal, and as such, it can take time for people to recognize the issue as more than just overeating, especially when the symptom remains quite mild.
It is common for people with gastritis to feel nauseous. In some cases, nausea may occur even on an empty stomach. This feeling can lead to vomiting, but this will not always be the case. Some people may take over-the-counter anti-nauseants, but this is a short-term measure. The feeling may return after another meal or whatever triggers the sensation.
Vomiting is not a common symptom of gastritis and generally occurs only in severe cases, after the consumption of large, heavy meals. In that context, many people pass off the vomiting spell as a consequence of overeating. As with nausea, they may choose OTC medications to quell the symptom but unfortunately, these can further aggravate an already over-sensitive stomach.
Gastritis also tends to kill the appetite. Physiological factors can produce this tendency because food can irritate the already inflamed stomach. In addition, people with gastritis are more sensitive to some foods, especially spicy foods, coffee, and alcohol. These tend to aggravate the symptoms. Loss of appetite is generally temporary and eases once treatment begins.
Sometimes, people with gastritis also observe abnormalities in their stool. Feces may be black, gritty, and tar-like, which can be an indication of bleeding in the upper digestive tract. In rare cases, perceivable blood may also be present. Bloody stools suggest stomach ulcers, which are complications of gastritis. People who experience changes in stool that do not correct quickly should schedule an appointment with a doctor.
Those with gastritis may find themselves uncharacteristically prone to belching. They will burp loudly, with or without odor, but with much frequency after meals. With regular indigestion, belching tends to relieve some of the abdominal pain, a consequence of excessive gas in the digestive tract. Belching doesn't tend to relieve pain for people with gastritis.
In many instances, gastritis patients also complain of heartburn or a burning sensation in the upper abdomen. Heartburn develops when a person's body creates excess stomach acid due to indigestion. Taking an antacid may or may not relieve the symptoms when gastritis is to blame.
When the lining of the stomach is inflamed and sensitive, its digestive capacity is compromised. In more severe cases of gastritis, this prevents food breakdown in the stomach, thus impacting the entire digestive process, often leading to diarrhea.
A combination of loss of appetite and poor digestion may lead to weight loss in some individuals. Treatment and recovery for gastritis or other underlying issues should correct this symptom, and weight should return to normal.
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