A new lifestyle cures gastritis and enteritis

Do you know?

  • Many people think gastritis and enteritis are the same. Although their causes are similar, they are actually different.
  • There are many more causes of gastritis than those of enteritis. Diet is a common cause of gastritis.
  • Both illnesses can be prevented with a behavioural change – more care for each meal. Say no to spicy, half-cooked and pickled foods and alcoholic drinks. Basic hygienic practices like eating newly cooked food, using serving spoons and washing hands also help you avoid the illnesses.

People at the working age risk many illnesses. Among them are gastritis and enteritis. Many people misunderstand that they are the same. Although their causes are similar, they have some differences. Doctor Arnon Peerakul, a gastroenterologist at the Gastrointestinal&Liver Center of Nonthavej Hospital, is here to explain.

He said there were many more causes of gastritis than those of enteritis. Most factors causing gastritis concern foods, including food poisoning and food contamination. Gastritis may result from some kinds of virus and bacteria as well as bacterial toxins. Besides, some medicines cause stomach ulcers. They include muscle relaxants and painkillers that are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).

Apart from foods and drugs, alcoholic drinks are also a common cause. Many people may overlook this. In fact, alcohol is absorbed directly in stomach and thus causes irritation. If you drink alcohol when your stomach is empty, it can expand ulcers. Another common cause is the infection of some bacteria in stomach. The bacteria include Helicobacter pylori that can contaminate foods. It is separately mentioned here because it can cause gastric lymphoma if the disease is not cured and become chronic.

The most common causes of enteritis are E.coli and Staphylococcus bacteria which lead to food poisoning, dysentery, typhoid and cholera. Many strains of viruses can also cause the illness. Enteritis is usually related to gastritis because both result from eating behaviours. Those who suffer from enteritis usually have gastritis as well. This is because eaten foods are moved from the stomach to intestines in our digestive system.

“The noticeable symptoms of gastritis are vomiting, burning or colicky abdominal pain, abdominal bloating and frequent belches. As it occurs at the centre of the chest, some people may have sour burps and a bitter taste in the mouth and feel something stuck in the throat. The symptoms are similar to those of gastroesophageal reflux disease. For enteritis, obvious symptoms are diarrhoea. If the illness is severe, one may suffer rectal bleeding or mucous discharge from the rectum,” Doctor Arnon said.

Incubation periods vary. It can be 1-2 weeks. If one eats food contaminated with bacteria, the incubation period can be a few hours.

Treatment for both illnesses happens after a doctor sought basic information of a patient, asked about symptoms and conducted a physical examination to assess the degree of the illness. Normally radiological examinations like abdominal X-rays and ultrasonic scanning are unnecessary except that a doctor also suspects other illnesses such as a gallstone, cholecystitis, pancreatitis and intestinal obstruction especially with young children and the elderly who cannot describe their symptoms clearly. Usually prescriptions are based on symptoms. If gastritis or enteritis results from food poisoning or stomach infection, a doctor prescribes an antibiotic. If symptoms are chronic and likely to result from excessive amounts of acids rather than food, a doctor will prescribe an antacid as a main medication.

If vomiting or diarrhoea caused by gastritis or enteritis is not severe, ones can treat themselves with, for example, oral rehydration solution to make up for lost body water and minerals. Ones may also take painkillers and antiemetic medications. Symptoms can improve in a few days. If a person’s symptoms worsen including frequent vomiting, vomiting after every meal, high fevers, rectal bleeding, mucous discharge, severe abdominal pain and faint, he should see a doctor immediately. Such conditions signal severe dehydration which may cause shock. Developing the symptoms of both illnesses, ones should refrain from dairy products, beans, sesame, carbonated drinks, tea and coffee which would otherwise compound bloating. Fresh vegetables and fruits should be avoided too because they pose high risks of contamination.

As mentioned before, the two illnesses result mostly from eating behaviours. If you do not want to be admitted, you must change your eating behaviours. Be careful at every meal. Avoid spicy, half-cooked, roast and pickled foods. Do not drink alcoholic beverages because they would otherwise cause gastritis and stomach ulcers. Do not take muscle relaxants and painkillers that are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) for a long time. Besides, Basic hygienic practices like eating newly cooked food, using serving spoons and washing hands protect you from the illnesses.

 

Source: Doctor Arnon Peerakul, a gastroenterologist at the Gastrointestinal&Liver Center of Nonthavej Hospital