Gastritis treatment is aimed at reducing stomach acid production or neutralizing acidity in the stomach to it to heal. It can relieve related gastritis symptoms such as pain, heartburn, or frequent belching.
Gastritis can be caused by excessive use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, poor diet or excessive consumption of alcoholic beverages. In these cases, it is important to avoid using the triggering substances in addition to the prescribed treatment. A change in diet may also be indicated: learn more about the gastritis diet your doctor may advise.
Gastritis treatment that involves medication should be prescribed by a family doctor or gastroenterologist. In addition to medication to help manage stomach acid, the doctor may also prescribe antibiotics, particularly in cases where the ulcer is caused by H. pylori bacteria.
The main medications that are prescribed for gastritis treatment are:
1. Proton pump inhibitors
Proton pump inhibitors, such as omeprazole, esomeprazole, pantoprazole or lansoprazole, aim to reduce acid production. They work by inhibiting proton pumps present in the cells of the stomach wall, which are small mechanisms that regulate the release of acid.
By inhibiting stomach acid release, these drugs allow for stomach lesions to heal and help reduce symptoms of gastritis such as pain, a burning sensation in the stomach or frequent belching.
These remedies should be as prescribed by a gastroenterologist, as they can cause side effects such as kidney problems, headaches, diarrhea, skin blistering, abdominal pain, excessive production of intestinal gas, nausea, constipation or vitamin B12 deficiency.
2. Histamine receptor antagonists
Histamine receptor antagonists, such as cimetidine or famotidine, inhibit the production of acid by the stomach by binding to specific receptors in stomach wall cells. This prevents the action of histamine, which, when activated, increases acid production.
These drugs should be prescribed by a doctor and are relatively effective in treating gastritis, with a rapid onset of action that can last up to 12 hours
However, if symptoms like pain or a burning sensation in the stomach do not improve within 6 weeks of starting treatment, you should consult the prescriber to evaluate the need for an alternative dose or medication.
The most common side effects caused by the these drugs are diarrhea, headache, drowsiness, fatigue, muscle pain or constipation.
Antacids, such as aluminum hydroxide, magnesium hydroxide, calcium carbonate or sodium bicarbonate, act by rapidly neutralizing the acid in the stomach. This makes the stomach less vulnerable to harsh acids that can cause discomfort heartburn or a burning sensation.
However, antacids provide only temporary relief and do not cure stomach inflammation. Excessive or prolonged use of antacids can actually cause rebound acidity, which is when the stomach increases acid production when it realizes that acidity has decreased. This can lead to worsening discomfort.
In addition, antacids can cause side effects such as diarrhea, constipation or kidney problems, which is why they should always be used with medical advice.
Most cases of gastritis are caused by a bacterial infection from H. pylori. In these cases, the doctor may prescribe a combination of antibiotics such as clarithromycin combined with amoxicillin or metronidazole for 7 to 14 days.
Some of the most common side effects that can occur during treatment with these antibiotics are diarrhea, vomiting, poor digestion, nausea, abdominal pain, skin reactions, headache, taste changes and insomnia
When to take medications for chronic gastritis
Medications for chronic gastritis should be prescribed by a gastroenterologist and can include various treatment approaches, such as a proton pump inhibitor inhibitor on an empty stomach, an antacid as needed for flare-ups or antibiotics taken for specific periods of time.
When to take medications for acute gastritis
Cases of acute gastritis (ie. gastritis that comes on suddenly) should be assessed by a gastroenterologist to identify the underlying cause and start the appropriate treatment. In the meantime, to relieve the symptoms until your consultation, you can take antacid medication when you feel pain or burning.
Home remedies for gastritis
A great natural remedy for gastritis is cabbage juice with papaya and melon, as these fruits contain properties that facilitate digestion and reduce acidity in the stomach, which are factors that help to relieve symptoms.
Other options for natural remedies are tea made with sea buckthorn, or mastic tea. These teas contain substances that help reduce stomach acidity and protect the stomach from the acid. Learn more about other natural remedies for gastritis that you can prepare at home to help complement your doctor's prescribed treatment.
It is also important to adjust your diet as needed. Patients with gastritis symptoms may benefit from avoiding spicy seasonings, acidic foods like lemons, oranges and pineapples, and foods that are too fatty or sweet. They can opt instead for foods that are easily digested, like boiled food or low-fat food.