Home LifeStyle Gastritis, acid reflux, and GERD (Gastro-oesophagal reflux disease): Cause, Effect & Treatment

Gastritis, acid reflux, and GERD (Gastro-oesophagal reflux disease): Cause, Effect & Treatment

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As common in Nepali society to say that everyone in Nepal has “Gastritis”, the most commonly used word is Gastric. Many also mistakenly think that gastritis is a form of gas in the stomach (or intestines). Many of us also refer to it positively saying as Acidity.

What is Gastritis? Gastritis (Gastric in Nepali) irritation of the inner lining of the stomach is a natural acid, produced in our stomach. This acid is needed for digestion. Therefore, whenever we eat, the stomach begins to produce this acid. If the amount of acid is above normal or the acid is produced in excess, or in the case of gastric juice, even if we do not eat anything, then this acid will start to give us pain by burning the inner layer of our stomach. Which will cause discomfort and abdominal pain. This condition is known as Gastritis. Pain is usually found in the upper abdomen and below the middle chest. Many people in Nepal also say there is a pain in “MUTU” (heart) while they have gastritis.

If this acid starts to penetrate the esophagus, which connects the throat to the stomach, it will burn the inner layer of the digestive tract. This will cause heartburn – a burning sensation in the middle of the chest and often a taste of food or a sour taste (“shape”) on the back of the throat. This condition is known as Acid Reflux (due to acid reflux in the stomach into the digestive tract). If the condition recurs frequently, then it is called GERD (gastro-oesophageal reflux disease), which needs immediate treatment.

Gastritis (stomach) and acid reflux are very common and we have all seen them at the same time. Reflux usually occurs while lying on the floor. Causes of Gastritis and Acid Reflux are usually overeating, anorexia nervosa, smoking, alcohol, and depression.

In some cases, simple lifestyle changes can help eliminate gastritis. Eating frequently in small amounts, avoiding certain foods that you know are causing heartburn and stomach aches, not staying on an empty stomach for a long time, quitting smoking and reducing alcohol consumption, and learning to deal with stress. Staying upright after a meal will help in reflux.

If this simple lifestyle change doesn’t help, then there are simple medications that will help reduce acid reflux and gastritis. The most common medications are Digene, Ranitidine (Aciloc), and Pantoprazole.

Regular refluxes or GERD need to be properly treated with a course of medication. Left untreated, the acid will slowly burn the esophagus (feeding tube) until the inner layer of the gland irregularly changes its tissues and later becomes the cause of cancer. Therefore, if you have recurrent gastritis you should visit a doctor to find the right treatment.

Other diseases that can mimic gastritis are Ulcer, stomach cancer, heart disease, liver disease, gallstones, and intestinal diseases. You need to know how to differentiate gastritis because a heart attack can lead to sudden death and you even could not rush to the nearest hospital. If the symptoms of gastritis are always bothering you, you should also visit a doctor to rule out GERD and other potentially dangerous diseases.

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