Pangastritis is an inflammation of the entire stomach wall, which can be caused by an H. pylori infection, 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, for example, means that the inflammation is occuring toward the end of the stomach. It can be mild (which means the inflammation is still in the beginning stage and not causing too much damaging to the stomach), moderate, or severe, when it causes more serious symptoms.
Symptoms of pangastritis are usually felt after meals and last for about 2 hours. The most common ones are:
- 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 if you notice blood in the stools.
Diagnosis for this type of gastritis is confirmed with an exam called an endoscopy. It involves the insertion of a long hose with a camera attached to it down your throat and into the stomach so that it can be visualized. This exam allows the doctor to identify any 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 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 prescribe antibiotics. The duration of treatment depends on the severity of the inflammation and the causes of gastritis, but in most cases, it resolves within a few weeks or months.
It is also important to stop smoking and drinking alcohol, as well as to change eating habits. You should avoid 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 bacteria 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 acute gastritis will first turn into a chronic non-atrophic gastritis, which will develop into atrophic gastritis, metaplasia, dysplasia, and then finally, cancer.
The best way to prevent this is to follow the treatment indicated by the doctor, to quit smoking and to 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.