Gastritis is well-treated using naturopathic medicine.
Gastritis is a term used to describe conditions involving inflammation in the stomach. Gastritis may occur suddenly (acute gastritis) or slowly over time (chronic gastritis). The walls of the stomach are protected from stomach acids by a mucous-lined barrier, that if compromised allow digestive juices to damage your stomach lining and cause inflammation.
The most common factor contributing to gastritis is infection by the bacteria Helicobacter pylori. Other common causes of gastritis include regular use of certain pain relievers (e.g., aspirin, Advil®, Motrin®, Aleve®), excessive alcohol ingestion, stress, Crohn’s disease, bile reflux disease, parasitic infections, autoimmune disease, and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS).
In severe cases, gastritis can lead to stomach ulcers and an increased risk of stomach cancer.
Seek professional healthcare care if you experience signs and symptoms of gastritis consistently for a week or longer.
Seek emergency medical care if you are experiencing vomiting of blood or passing of black tarry stools.
Symptoms of Gastritis
Acute gastritis occurs suddenly, and is more likely to cause nausea and pain (often burning-like in the upper abdomen). Chronic gastritis develops more gradually and is more likely to cause dull pain and a feeling of fullness or loss of appetite after a very little food. Occasionally, chronic gastritis causes no signs or symptoms at all.
Possible symptoms of gastritis include:
- Gnawing or burning pain in the upper abdomen that may increase or decrease with eating
- Belching or bloating
- Loss of appetite
- Sensation of fullness after eating very little
- Weight loss
- Vomiting of blood or passing of black, tarry stools
Treatment of Gastritis at Toronto Centre for Naturopathic Medicine
At Toronto Centre for Naturopathic Medicine, the goals of gastritis treatment are to reduce discomfort and pain intensity, reduce frequency of gastritis episodes, identify and address triggers of gastritis to prevent recurrence of gastritis episodes, manage associated health conditions and manage side effects of conventional medical treatment.
Conventional treatment for gastritis may include a variety of medications, including antacids, acid blockers, proton pump inhibitors and antibiotics. These treatments may have short- or long-term side effects.
For this reason, you may choose to try natural treatment to possibly avoid use of conventional medications, or together with conventional medications in order to decrease dosages of conventional medications required to manage your gastritis symptoms.
Naturopathic treatment of any chronic health concern must be recognized as a process that involves:
- Identifying specific treatment goals
- Development by your naturopathic doctor, of a thorough understanding of all factors affecting your health, including physical, psychological, emotional and lifestyle factors
- Development of a comprehensive treatment plan
- Implementation and maintenance of that plan through periodic monitoring and adjustment
At Toronto Centre for Naturopathic Medicine, a typical approach to treating gastritis may be to:
- Identify and address underlying factors in your lifestyle (e.g., regular use of gastritis causing pain medication, alcohol) or general health (e.g., Helicobacter pylori infection) that may be contributing to your gastritis symptoms
- Eliminate Helicobacter pylori using botanical (herbal) medicines
- Protect, soothe and heal the stomach lining using botanical (herbal) medicines and nutritional supplements
- Prevent recurrence by supplementing with “good” bacteria populations in the digestive tract
Where appropriate, a number of therapeutic options are available, to be used alone, or more often in a complementary fashion, including:
- Nutritional counseling
- Nutritional supplements
- Metabolic detoxification protocols
- Botanical (herbal) medicines
- Bowen Therapy
- Exercise prescription
- Relaxation (meditation) training
- Lifestyle medicine and counseling
- Registered massage therapy
Treatments provided by naturopathic doctors and registered massage therapists are covered by most extended healthcare plans.
Gastritis [Internet]. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; [cited 2010 Jan 19]. Available from: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/gastritis/DS00488.