Treating gastritis depends on if the condition is acute, which is relatively easy to treat with medications, or chronic, which can require additional treatments.
Most treatments for gastritis begin with acid reducing medications. If the patient has an H. pylori infection, antibiotics are prescribed alongside the other medications. The goal of each of these treatments is to remove the irritant from the lining of the stomach to ease symptoms of gastritis.
If the patient has chronic gastritis, there can be lasting damage to the stomach lining. This fact means that the stomach’s mucosa, or lining, can rarely return to normal. This damage in turn can lead to vitamin B12 (cobalamin) deficiency, which can be treated with injections, and development of lesions that are potentially cancerous. Treatment options for these issues require regular upper endoscopy exams to find and treat lesions that may be cancerous.
Antacids are over-the-counter medications that neutralize stomach acid. Examples of these medications include Tums or Alka-Seltzer. Doctors often recommend these medications alongside other treatment options.
These medicines work to reduce the production of acid from glands in the stomach lining. Examples of H2 blockers include famotidine (Pepcid) and ranitidine (Zantac), and they are offered over the counter. The H2 blockers are often used to treat conditions related to gastritis as well, including acid reflux and stomach ulcers.
Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs)
PPIs are another medication class intended to reduce production of stomach acid from glands in the stomach lining. Examples of these medications include omeprazole (Prilosec) and esomeprazole (Nexium). Some PPIs are offered over the counter, while some must be prescribed by a doctor.
Similar to H2 blockers, PPIs are also used to treat other conditions related to stomach inflammation. These conditions include:
- stomach ulcers,
- acid reflux, and
- damage to the esophagus caused by acid reflux.
Antibiotics can treat gastritis when a doctor determines the patient has a bacterial infection like H. pylori. Many people use antibiotics with some combination of the acid-reducing drugs mentioned above. This combination helps to kill off the infection while also lessening the symptoms of gastritis.
Treating chronic gastritis
Chronic gastritis can damage the lining of the stomach. Because of this fact, treatment options for the chronic condition look different than the acute version. With the extra damage to the stomach lining resulting from chronic gastritis, lesions can form that are potentially cancerous. The stomach may also lose its ability to absorb nutrients like vitamin B12. Both of these issues require careful monitoring that could include upper GI endoscopy exams, sample biopsies, or vitamin B12 injections.
Does gastritis go away?
Gastritis can go away on its own, often due to changes in diet or alcohol consumption. For example, spicy foods can irritate the stomach lining. When in combination with other irritants, like taking NSAIDs and heavy alcohol consumption, acute gastritis symptoms in some individuals can result. However, once the diet or lifestyle changes, the acute symptoms of the condition can dissipate.
Other more serious lifestyle changes can cause gastritis to go away as well. These changes include removing irritants completely, like avoiding alcohol, removing stress, and quitting smoking. Diet changes and reducing the amount of NSAIDs a person takes can also alleviate gastritis symptoms to ensure the condition goes away.
If an individual’s gastritis symptoms are caused by the H. pylori bacteria, medication and treatment are required to ensure proper recovery. These medications include antibiotics and acid-reducing drugs.
How long does gastritis take to heal?
Healing gastritis caused by the H. pylori bacteria requires taking acid-reducing medicines and antibiotics for one to two weeks to fight the infection. To ensure the treatment is effective, doctors recommend additional testing at least four weeks after finishing medications to see if the H. pylori bacteria is still present.
Gastritis resulting from lifestyle choices, like smoking or heavy alcohol consumption, may take additional time to heal. This fact is due to the additional time necessary to change aspects of one’s lifestyle that cannot be fixed with medication. Further, this extended recovery period is especially true for cases of chronic gastritis, which may take the stomach lining additional time to heal.
What foods soothe gastritis?
Foods that soothe gastritis symptoms are those that help reduce and control the amount of acid in the stomach. Examples of these kinds of foods are those high in fiber, foods with a high alkalinity (high pH), and watery foods. Some of these foods include:
- Brown rice
Another type of food that can soothe gastritis? Heartburn-relieving food. Examples of these foods include:
- Apple cider vinegar