You can reduce your risk of developing gastritis or making it worse by modifying certain aspects of your lifestyle. Avoid excess alcohol and smoking, and avoid rich, oily, spicy, or acidic foods. Obesity puts additional pressure on the stomach, so a weight loss program may improve symptoms.
Certain medications can cause gastritis, including ibuprofen, naproxen, aspirin, and steroids – take these with meals and if you are taking consistently for more than a couple of weeks, ask your doctor about medication to protect the stomach.
It’s a good idea to take small regular meals instead of big meals, and avoid lying down for two hours after eating. Fizzy drinks, caffeinated drinks, coffee, or tea can also make symptoms worse.
We have shortlisted a range of treatments that you can try in the short term.
Gaviscon Liquid is a good first option, as it can provide quick relief and does not interact with most medicines. As an antacid, it works to neutralize acidity, which soothes the upper gastric area quickly and forms a protective coating to prevent further acid reflux throughout the day. Gaviscon Advance tablets can also be helpful.
Low-dose proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) are available to buy, such as esomeprazole (Nexium), or H2-receptor antagonists, such as ranitidine (Zantac). These work in a different way to reduce the amount of acid produced – they don’t have an immediate effect but once working, they provide longer-lasting relief. Nexium can provide up to 24 hours of relief plus protection for the gut lining. Gaviscon Advance or other alginate antacids can be used alongside these acid suppression medications.
Most symptoms resolve by themselves after a few days. If symptoms have persisted for more than a week, or pharmacy products haven’t sufficiently helped, you should speak to your doctor.
Your doctor will ask about your symptoms, remedies you may have tried from the pharmacist, and they will examine your tummy. They may suggest blood tests or a stool test. This is to look for H. Pylori, a bacteria that can live in your stomach and increase acid production, which can cause an ulcer. If positive, this is easily eradicated with antibiotics and acid suppression medication.
If this is negative, your doctor may prescribe acid suppression medication such as lansoprazole or omeprazole for a month or two to help symptoms.
If you have severe stomach pain, feel unwell or faint, if you have blood in your vomit or black stools, you should seek medical attention urgently.
You are fit for work if you have gastritis, but if you are in a lot of pain or you have cause for concern, you should prioritize seeing your doctor.
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