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Gastric Trouble: Treatment, Procedure, Cost and Side Effects

What is the treatment? How is the treatment done? Who is eligible for the treatment? (When is the treatment done?) Who is not eligible for the treatment? Are there any side effects? What are the post-treatment guidelines? How long does it take to recover? What is the price of the treatment in India? Are the results of the treatment permanent? What are the alternatives to the treatment?

What is the treatment?

Middle aged people often fall prey a common problem that is related to stomach. Gastric trouble or gastritis is an inflammation or irritation of the lining of the stomach. There can be a number of reasons that can cause this disorder but, in most cases, it is caused by the same bacteria that cause most stomach ulcers. There can be different types of gastritis: acute gastritis which is a brief and sudden illness; chronic gastritis which is a long-lasting condition and a special type of gastritis that is caused due to some other medical illness like atrophic gastritis, autoimmune gastritis and eosinophilic gastritis.

Your personal or family’s health history, physical examination and a particular test may be used to diagnose gastritis. Upper endoscopy is the procedure by which an endoscope which is a thin tube containing a small camera is inserted through your mouth into the stomach to look into the stomach lining. A doctor might also advice a person to undergo some blood tests to determine whether he/she is anemic. Other tests may include the fecal occult blood test.

Usually antacids and other drugs such as proton pump inhibitors or H2 blockers are used to reduce acid in the stomach. A person suffering from gastritis will be invariably be advised by a doctor to quit eating hot and spicy food. If gastritis is caused by infection caused by H.pylori, he/she will generally be prescribed a number of antibiotics together with an acid blocking drug. B12 vitamin shots are likely to be given if gastritis is caused by pernicious anemia. It will also be advisable for a person suffering from gastritis to avoid irritating foods like dairy (which has lactose) and wheat ( which has gluten).

How is the treatment done?

It is really an irony that gastritis is normally treated with the same medications that can actually cause it. Antacids are the go-to drugs for people suffering from gastric troubles. This is because they help to reduce acid but, in reality, all they actually do is to mask the symptoms. They do not treat the damage to the stomach lining that has already been caused. Antacids in fact do not address the underlying issues that cause gastric trouble like gut health, bacterial infections and others.

A combination of antibiotics like clarithromycin and amoxicillin or metronidazole are used to kill the H.Pylori bacteria that causes gastritis. However it is important to complete the entire antibiotic course which may last for 7-14 days.

Doctors often recommend medicines called H2 blockers like ranitidine, famotidine, nizatidine and cimetidine when antacids don’t work. But, like antacids, these medicines fail to take care of the actual causes of gastritis and only reduce the acid content in the stomach.

When all other medicines fail, doctors generally recommend medications that block acid production and also promote healing. These are known as proton pump inhibitors and some of such drugs are prescription and over-the-counter medications like omeprazole, lansaprazole, rabeprazole, esomeprazole, dexlansoprazole and pantoprazole.

A permanent solution to gastritis requires a healthy lifestyle and medication to balance the pH levels in stomach so as to fight H Pylori bacteria and other pathogens in the gut.

Who is eligible for the treatment? (When is the treatment done?)

People who feel that they have problems in their gut and have been diagnosed by a registered medical practitioner to be suffering from gastritis are eligible for this treatment. Some of the symptoms that help to understand whether a person has gastritis or not are as follows: nausea, vomiting, indigestion and a feeling of fullness in your upper abdomen especially after eating. Furthermore, a person can understand whether he/she has erosive gastritis if he/she experiences symptoms like: black, tarry stool and coffee grounds-like material or blood in vomit.

Who is not eligible for the treatment?

In many cases, people with gastritis do not experience any symptoms at all. Gastritis is basically an irritation of the stomach lining that can cause stomach pain, ulcers and other complications. There can be a number of ailments of the stomach that can also have similar manifestations. So, without blood tests, a doctor’s diagnosis and a rigorous physical examination, it is not possible to understand whether a person has gastritis or not. Such people are not eligible treatment.

Are there any side effects?

Some of the side-effects associated with H2 receptor blockers are constipation, diarrhea, dry mouth, dry skin, headaches, runny nose, ringing in the ears, trouble in urinating and ringing in the ears. Consuming Protein Pump Inhibitors make it difficult for the body to absorb much-needed nutrients and thus prove to be detrimental for your health. They can even cause severe diseases ranging from heart attacks to kidney disease. They may even cause death in some cases.

What are the post-treatment guidelines?

Even if the symptoms of gastritis may subside after sometime with medication, there a number of post-treatment guidelines that can help to get rid of the disease completely. A person can reduce his over-active inflammatory response and thus reduce gastritis by eating fruits, vegetables, non-processed grains and sprouts and nuts. A person should take measures to reduce the level of stress as a stress-free and healthy stomach has a built-in barrier that prevents stomach acid from reaching the stomach wall tissue. A person should also avoid eating highly spicy foods, processed foods, genetically processed foods and other things that cause build-up of toxins in the body. Two other post-treatment guidelines that a person can do to prevent the recurrence of such a disease are to sleep well and remove medications that cause gastritis.

How long does it take to recover?

A person can take a long time to get cured from gastritis. It is actually an inflammation, irritation or erosion of the lining of the stomach that is caused due to excessive use of alcohol, stress, vomiting and also can occur as a side-effect of certain medications. Most people respond to the treatment very quickly. But it has to be kept in mind that a person will require as much time to recover as it required for the underlying reasons of gastritis to subside.

What is the price of the treatment in India?

The price of proton pump inhibitors can vary between Rs 500 and Rs 28,000. You can buy antacids in India for as low as a price as Rs 20 while the higher variations can cost anywhere close to Rs 1300. Vitamin B12 injections can cost anything in between Rs 700 to Rs 2100.

Are the results of the treatment permanent?

A person will take a lot of time to recover from gastric problems. In fact, there is no permanent treatment as a person can develop gastric troubles even after getting treated for it. This is due to the fact that gastric troubles can affect a person due to a number of reasons and many of these reasons are related to the lifestyle of the concerned person. A bad lifestyle may cause a healthy person to experience gastric troubles again.

What are the alternatives to the treatment?

Apple cedar vinegar mixed in a glass of water helps to provide relief from gastric troubles. Lemon tea or lemon water also helps to keep gastric troubles at bay. Furthermore, buttermilk and ajwain can also provide relief from gastric problems when consumed.

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Diploma in Diabetology,CCRH (certificate in reproductive health),MBBS,F.F.M(family medicine)
General Physician
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