Stress-Induced Gastritis: What Is It, Symptoms & Treatment

Stress-induced gastritis is a stomach condition that, despite not causing inflammation of the stomach like classical gastritis, can cause similar symptoms such as heartburn, burning sensation and a feeling of a full stomach. This type of gastritis is triggered by emotional issues such as stress, anxiety and nervousness.

This type of gastritis is curable, and can be treated with dietary changes and antacid medication, which helps to soothe the stomach’s mucosa so as not to cause heartburn. It’s also important to control nerves and emotions in general, as this is an essential part of the treatment.

Stress-Induced Gastritis: What Is It, Symptoms & Treatment

Main symptoms

The main symptoms of stress-induced gastritis are stomach pain and constant discomfort, however other symptoms may include:

  • Nausea and a feeling of full stomach;
  • Abdominal bloating and pain
  • Poor digestion and frequent burping;
  • Headache and malaise;
  • Loss of appetite, vomiting or urge to vomit.

These symptoms may appear at any time but intensifies in periods of stress or anxiety. Some of these symptoms may also be present in other types of gastritis and confuse the diagnosis of the disease.

How is the treatment done?

The use of antacid medication like Pepsamar, or medication that decreases the production of acidity in the stomach, such as Omeprazole or Pantoprazole, is advisable for the treatment of stress-induced gastritis and should be recommended by a doctor.

However, continuous use of these medications isn’t recommended, so the treatment of emotional issues that trigger the symptoms with psychotherapy, relaxation techniques such as meditation, a balanced diet and regular physical activity is the best course of action.

A great home remedy for gastritis is chamomile tea, which should be taken 2 to 3 times a day to activate its calming effect. Other natural calming herbal remedies include valerian, lavender and passion-flower blossoms tea.

Diet for stress-induced gastritis

The recommended foods for the treatment of stress-induced gastritis are those that are easy to digest and have a calming effect, such as lean boiled or grilled meat, fish, boiled vegetables and peeled fruits. Drinking plenty of water immediately after a bout with pain and malaise is recommended, with a gradual return to a normal diet using natural seasonings and avoiding milk.

The foods to be avoided are those that are high in fat and sugar, that can irritate the stomach, such as red meat, sausage, bacon, fried foods, chocolate, sweets, coffee and pepper. Not smoking and not drinking alcoholic beverages, artificial teas, soft drinks and sparkling water is also essential to prevent further bouts of gastritis.

Other important precautions are not lying down right after meals, not drinking during meals, eating slowly and in quiet places. Watch more tips from our nutritionist, in this video (please enable English subtitles in the video options):

Can stress-induced gastritis turn into cancer?

Stress-induced gastritis cannot become cancer because this type of gastritis doesn’t cause inflammation of the stomach. Stress-induced gastritis is also called functional dyspepsia, because the test used to diagnose gastritis, called upper gastrointestinal endoscopy, doesn’t show the presence of erosions in the stomach and so, this condition isn’t linked to a higher chance of cancer development.

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  • ANTUNES, Mariana O. et al. Ansiedade e estresse em indivíduos diagnosticados com gastrite. Revista Bionorte, v. 4, n. 1, fev. 2015. Disponível em: . Acesso em 27/01/2020.
  • PSICOLOGADO. O Estresse como Fator Desencadeador da Gastrite Crônica: Resposta Fisiológica ou Psicossomática?. Edição 07/2016. . Access in 27 Jan 2020
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