Gastritis – The inflammation of the stomach lining

Do you suffer from loss of appetite, combined with nausea and now and then an uncomfortable pressure in the upper abdomen? It could be gastritis – an inflammation of the stomach lining.

Do you also feel a burning pain in your stomach? Coupled with heartburn? Gastritis may also be the culprit here. But what are the causes of gastritis? And how can you soothe gastritis – a really unpleasant stomach ailment – ​​with natural measures?

Gastritis – Symptoms of inflammation of the gastric mucosa

Gastritis is an inflammatory change in the gastric mucosa that can range from general stomach problems to severe pain in the upper abdomen. The most common symptoms of gastritis are:

  • stomach pressure
  • burning pain in the stomach
  • heartburn
  • nausea
  • loss of appetite

Gastritis: acute or chronic?

A distinction is made between an acute and a chronic form of gastritis. The main difference is the duration.

If gastritis appears suddenly and then heals within a few days, then it is the acute form.

However, if the symptoms develop gradually or if the initially acute gastritis persists, then one speaks of the chronic form of gastritis.

Acute inflammation of the gastric mucosa

Acute gastritis occurs all of a sudden because of a harmful substance that irritates or damages the stomach lining too much.

The harmful substance can be one of the following: alcohol, drugs (cancer drugs or the well-known acetylsalicylic acid (ASA) and chemicals (e.g. if cleaning materials are accidentally swallowed).

The usual therapy for acute gastritis consists primarily of avoiding the triggering stimulus, fasting for 1 to 2 days and then gradually getting used to easily digestible solid food.

After surviving gastritis, it goes without saying that fried, breaded, deep-fried, high-fat and otherwise difficult-to-digest foods and alcohol should be avoided for a few weeks.

The bacterium Helicobacter pylori is often held responsible for gastritis and so this culprit is the first thing to look out for in the event of stomach problems.

The bacterium is present in at least half of ALL people and you will automatically find it in those who are going through gastritis.

Helicobacter: protective effect against intestinal diseases?

According to the German Society for Digestive and Metabolic Diseases (DGVS), around 90 percent of the population in developing countries is infected with Helicobacter pylori.

And yet, these 90 percent are not all suffering from acute or chronic gastritis.

On the contrary: it is now assumed that a moderate presence of Helicobacter pylori could have a certain protective effect against chronic inflammatory bowel diseases (e.g. Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis) – as a team of Greek gastroenterologists from the First Gastroenterology Clinic in Athens reported in a scientific study paper published in June 2014 in the World Journal of Gastroenterology.

Of course, depending on the condition of the individual, the bacterium can multiply excessively and then actually lead to gastric problems. However, it remains questionable whether it can be the sole cause of acute or chronic gastritis.

It can therefore be assumed that there are additional factors that make the pathological multiplication of Helicobacter possible in the first place – which we will come to later.

Chronic inflammation of the gastric mucosa

Chronic gastritis can develop from acute gastritis or it can also develop gradually, i.e. without a preceding acute stage. It can be clearly noticeable (with the same symptoms as the acute form) or even run completely without symptoms.

Depending on the cause, there are three forms of chronic gastritis:

Type A gastritis is described as an autoimmune process, which means that the organism forms antibodies against the parietal cells of the gastric mucosa and destroys them.

Type B gastritis accounts for 80 percent of all gastritis diseases. It is the form attributed to Helicobacter pylori.

Type C gastritis develops as a result of regular stimuli that the stomach does not like and which irritate it. These include medication (e.g. non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (anti-inflammatory painkillers prescribed for rheumatic pain, such as ibuprofen, ASA or diclofenac), but also some antibiotics), alcohol, too much coffee, mould toxins, a preference for drinks that are too cold or too hot, or foods that are too spicy. Even a gradual poisoning, for example through amalgam in tooth fillings, is discussed as being able to cause chronic gastritis. The only thing that helps here is the complete removal and subsequent elimination of the mercury to restore health.

Gastritis – The Consequences

Gastritis can bring dreaded complications, namely severe mucosal damage, which can manifest itself in a stomach ulcer (ulcer), in stomach bleeding or in a stomach perforation.

If there is internal bleeding from the gastric mucosa, this condition can manifest itself in vomiting blood, so-called tarry stool (stool with blood admixture) and anemia (due to blood loss through internal bleeding).

In the case of gastritis, one should therefore always carefully implement all available holistic measures in order to heal the gastric mucosal inflammation as quickly as possible.

Cure gastritis with medication?

If you go and see a doctor, you often receive a drug (acid blockers or proton pump inhibitors) that inhibits gastric acid production, raises the pH value in the stomach and thus protects the stomach from the gastric acid that is excessively produced in gastritis.

In most cases, the symptoms improve when you take them – unfortunately often only for a short time. This is because the medication used to raise the pH value has the long-term effect that the stomach forms even more acid as soon as the medication is discontinued.

So you take the acid blockers over a longer period of time. However, this can have completely different unwanted effects.

If the doctor assumes a Helicobacter infection, then various antibiotics are also prescribed. These in turn cause lasting damage to the intestinal flora, which can weaken the immune system and disrupt digestion in the long term.

Medicines are also given to counteract nausea that often occurs with gastritis. For many years these were the so-called MCP drops with the active ingredient metoclopramide.

Gastritis drops phased out

Millions of MCP drops were prescribed and taken year after year, not only for serious problems such as gastritis but also for feelings of fullness after heavy meals – until April 2014 the Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices banned the sale of MCP drops and their previous approval has been revoked.

The possible side effects of the drops – it was said – could possibly be worse than the hoped-for benefit.

In particular, neurological problems after taking the drops should not be underestimated. Uncontrollable movements such as twitching and grimacing could occur or even spasms in the extensor muscles of the back, which is expressed in a strong backward tilt of the head.

The medicinal route is therefore not always the safest and also not automatically the healthiest.

Shouldn’t the actual cause of gastritis be found and eliminated in every case?

Gastritis: causes and solutions

In the above presentation of the different forms of gastritis, we have already mentioned common causes of gastritis, such as certain medications or the excessive proliferation of Helicobacter pylori.

If drugs are the cause of gastritis in question, it is important to speak to the doctor treating you and find more tolerable alternatives.

If the bacterium Helicobacter pylori is found in you, you can put some holistic measures in place.

The scientific findings on the effect of broccoli sprouts against Helicobacter pylori are particularly interesting:

A study was published in the journal Cancer Prevention Research in 2009 and described how Japanese test subjects were able to alleviate their Helicobacter infection with broccoli sprouts alone.

They ate 70g of fresh broccoli sprouts daily for eight weeks. In the breath test that followed, a clear reduction in the urease content could be determined.

With this test, the urease content of the breath is measured, since urease is considered a marker of bacterial colonization in the stomach.

The success of broccoli sprouts is attributed in particular to their content of sulforaphane – an antioxidant phytochemical that can also have anti-cancer and arthritis-inhibiting effects.

Gastritis from bile reflux

Another cause of inflammation of the gastric mucosa can also be so-called bile reflux. In this case, bile, which should actually stay in the duodenum, keeps flowing in the wrong direction, namely up into the stomach.

The causes of bile reflux are obesity and heavy meals. Bile reflux is also common after gastric surgery.

All measures that benefit stomach health also counteract bile reflux:

  1. In any case, avoid very fatty foods.
  2. Some foods can also increase bile reflux. These include caffeinated beverages, alcohol, chocolate, onions, and spicy foods.
  3. If you are overweight, try to reduce weight.
  4. Avoid stress or practice effective methods to reduce stress.

Gastritis caused by stress and emotional conflicts

It is not uncommon for the last point mentioned above – the effect of stress, excitement, conflicts and worries on the gastrointestinal system – to be completely underestimated. Long-term stress can often affect the stomach so much that gastritis can develop as a result.

In this case, gastritis is usually based on emotional conflicts. With specific questions, everyone affected can find out for themselves whether there are issues deep within themselves that they should take a closer look at.

For example:

  1. What’s heavy on my stomach?
  2. What is eating me up from the inside?
  3. What makes me mad?

So if you are plagued by worries and needs, then at the latest now, you should resolve the situation and find solutions – if necessary with the help of therapists and self-help groups.

Also, find a relaxation method that you enjoy. And whether it’s meditation or laughter yoga, get started!

Gastritis caused by diseased intestinal flora

The condition of the intestinal flora can also affect stomach health. For example, we know that many of the beneficial intestinal bacterial strains can help reduce Helicobacter pylori.

Consequently, a damaged intestinal flora (dysbiosis) could clearly be an important factor that leads to a pathological proliferation of Helicobacter pylori and thus to gastritis in the first place. In the case of gastritis, it can therefore also make sense to build up the intestinal flora with a high-quality probiotic.

However, in the case of gastritis as a result of a Helicobacter infection, antibiotics are usually prescribed – at least two different antibiotics in combination with a proton pump inhibitor. Antibiotics, however, lead to numerous side effects (diarrhea, nausea, flatulence, taste irritation) and also damage the intestinal flora, so they do what you actually want to prevent. So what to do?

Even if it often seems more sensible to only start taking probiotics after antibiotic therapy, in Helicobacter therapy the probiotic is taken at the same time as antibiotic therapy.

Probiotics for gastritis

Studies have already shown that for example, the lactic acid bacterium Lactobacillus acidophilus can increase the eradication rate of Helicobacter therapy.

Other useful intestinal bacteria may have no influence on the eradication rate, but they can alleviate the above-mentioned side effects of antibiotic therapy, which in turn contributes to the fact that those affected are more likely to persevere with the therapy and can therefore prevent the development of resistance in the pathogen. These probiotic bacterial strains include, for example, Lactobacillus rhamnosus and Lactobacillus reuteri.

Some probiotic combinations can even do both, i.e. increase the eradication rate and reduce side effects, e.g. B. the combination of Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium lactis. At the same time, probiotic cultures ensure that the inflammation slowly reduces and even the number of antibodies against Helicobacter pylori is reduced. Therefore, when choosing your probiotic, make sure that the bacterial strains mentioned are actually included.

Natural measures for gastritis

In the case of gastritis, nutrition is also extremely important. It’s not just about choosing the right food, but also about the way you eat, not just “WHAT do I eat?”, but also “HOW do I eat?”

Mainly, eat slowly and chew your food well. Don’t eat when you are emotionally upset.

Smoothies for gastritis

When it comes to gastritis, it doesn’t just have to be slime soup and toast. On the contrary, easily digestible food rich in vital substances is the order of the day. And so the green smoothies are excellent.

However, with gastritis, they are prepared without acidic fruits. Smoothies for gastritis or other complaints are also prepared with as few different ingredients as possible. For example, you choose two different leafy vegetables and mix them together with water and a banana. Avocados are also very suitable and can be used wonderfully for hearty smoothies or cold summer soups. A small spoonful of coconut butter or coconut oil is used as an easily digestible source of fat, which can be absorbed without the use of bile acids.

Okra in gastritis

Okra contains mucilage that has healing effects on the stomach. Studies have already shown that okra has a protective effect on the stomach and can reduce stomach ulcers (in tests on animals). Therefore, they are very good for healing food for gastritis or stomach ulcers. Okra is a vegetable that grows best in the tropics and originally comes from Ethiopia.

Medicinal herbs and spices for gastritis

The following herbs and spices are considered to be particularly stomach-strengthening and also help with stomach acidity

  1. Fresh wild garlic leaves
  2. Hops as a tea
  3. Ginger as a tea or spice
  4. Fresh okra pods
  5. Caraway seed
  6. Flaxseed tea (recipe follows below)
  7. Juniper berries (can be used as tea)

Flaxseed tea

Due to the high mucus content, linseed has a soothing effect on the damaged mucous membrane of the stomach. You can take advantage of this by soaking 3 tablespoons of flaxseed in ½ liter of water overnight and briefly boiling it in the morning. Strain the mucus through a cloth and drink it in small sips throughout the day.

The following herbal tea recipe has also proven itself in gastritis. Get the tea mixed at the pharmacy or herbal shop.

Pour 200 ml of hot water over 1 teaspoon of the herbs per cup and let the tea steep for 10 minutes.

Gastritis tea mix:

  1. Chamomile : 20g
  2. Peppermint : 20g
  3. Melissa: 20g
  4. Sweet flag: 10g
  5. Fennel : 5g
  6. Iceland Moss: 5g

Aloe Vera Water

Aloe Vera has soothing mucilage that helps with acid reflux and gastritis

  1. Peel a large Aloe leaf
  2. Wash the slime off with water
  3. Cut it into big chunks
  4. Put it in a jar with 500ml water
  5. Leave it for 24 hrs in the fridge

Now drink every morning 250ml of the Aloe water and replace the water in the Jar with 250ml fresh water. You can use one leave for about 12 days.

Hildegard medicine for gastritis

If the pain from gastritis occurs primarily on an empty stomach, according to Hildegard von Bingen – the well-known nun from the Middle Ages – fennel seed powder or fennel tablets taken before eating and going to bed can help. The effect is said to be just as safe as that of acid blockers.

Homeopathy for gastritis

Homeopathy has many remedies available that can help with both acute and chronic gastritis.

In order to find the right remedy for you, which in particular leads to long-term improvement of the problem, you must first have a detailed anamnesis interview with the homeopath.

In order to alleviate the symptoms of gastritis in the short term, one of the following remedies can help if it is taken several times a day in the 6X potency.

  1. Nux-vomica for gastritis caused by too much stress or too much alcohol
  2. Arsenicum album in gastritis with burning pains, which is relieved by warm drinks.
  3. Ipecacuanha for gastritis associated with persistent nausea and vomiting.

Schuessler salts in gastritis

Certain Schuessler salts can be used as an accompaniment.

It is recommended to take 2 tablets of each of the following salts 3 times a day:

  1. Potassium chlorate (No 4)
  2. Sodium phosphoricum (No 9)
  3. Sodium Sulphuricum (No 10)
  4. Magnesium phosphoricum (No 7)

Healing Clay for gastritis

In order to effectively reduce excessive acid formation in gastritis, use a smooth healing clay like bentonite – each with plenty of water (1 large glass of water (250 ml) per teaspoon of healing clay/bentonite)

Holistic Colon Hydrotherapy can’t help with gastritis, but it will help your microbiome and your stress levels.

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