Pangastritis is an inflammation of the entire stomach wall, which can be caused by an infection brought on by H. pylori bacteria, autoimmune diseases, excessive alcohol consumption, or the frequent use of medications such as aspirin and other anti-inflammatory drugs or corticosteroids.
It is classified according to the affected region of the stomach and the severity of the inflammation. Antral gastritis means that the inflammation occurs at the end of the stomach and may be mild, when inflammation is still in the beginning stage and not damaging the stomach too much, moderate, or severe, when it causes more serious symptoms.
Symptoms of pangastritis are usually felt after meals, last about 2 hours, and are the following:
- Pain and burning sensation in the stomach;
- Constant heartburn;
- Feeling sick;
- Frequent passing of gas and burping;
- Lack of appetite;
- Vomiting or the urge to vomit;
- Headache and weakness.
An appointment with the gastroenterologist is recommended if these symptoms continue or blood appears in the stools.
The diagnosis of this type of gastritis is confirmed with an exam called an endoscopy, through which the doctor can visualize the internal part of the stomach and identify the inflammation of the organ’s walls. A tissue biopsy may be recommended in cases where the doctor identifies changes in the gastric mucosa.
How is treatment done
Pangastritis is only treated when symptoms occur and when it is possible to know the cause of the gastritis. The doctor may recommend the use of antacid medication, such as Pepsamar or Mylanta, to reduce stomach acidity, or medications that inhibit stomach acid production, such as omeprazole and ranitidine.
If the disease is caused by H. pylori, the gastroenterologist may recommend antibiotics to be taken as prescribed by the doctor. The duration of treatment depends on the severity of the inflammation and the causes of gastritis, but in most cases, it is cured within a few weeks or months.
It is also important to stop smoking and drinking alcohol, as well as to change eating habits, avoiding fatty and gut-irritating foods such as pepper, red meat, bacon, sausage, fried foods, chocolate, and caffeine, for example.
Can pangastritis becomes cancer?
When gastritis is caused by H. pylori bacteria in the stomach, it is proven to be 10 times more likely to lead to cancer. This does not mean that all patients who have this bacterium will develop the disease, as there are many other factors involved such as genetics, smoking, diet, and other lifestyle habits.
Before gastritis leads to cancer, stomach tissue undergoes several transformations that can be observed with an endoscopy and biopsy. The first transformation is that of the normal gastritis tissue, which turns into chronic non-atrophic gastritis, atrophic gastritis, metaplasia, dysplasia, and only after that, leads to cancer.
The best way to avoid this is to follow the treatment indicated by the doctor, quit smoking and eat properly. A visit to the doctor to examine the stomach is recommended after controlling the symptoms for about six months. If stomach pain and poor digestion have not yet been controlled, other medication prescribed by your doctor may be used until gastritis is cured.