An infection by the Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) bacteria is considered the most common cause for gastritis. This bacteria lives in the mucous lining of the stomach and if not treated in time, it can lead to ulcers or stomach cancer in some people. The bacteria can cause erosive gastritis and are often linked to other types of gastritis as well. The H. pylori have the ability to survive and even thrive in the highly acidic stomach area and they grow in the mucous layer that is secreted by the stomach lining (gastric mucosa). The bacteria also produce large amounts of an enzyme named urease, which can break down to form ammonia. The types of gastritis resulting from an infection of H. pylori may affect the entire stomach or just the lower part or antrum. The bacteria are responsible for both acute and chronic gastritis.
Different kinds of medications may become a potential cause of gastritis. Certain medications can irritate the gastric mucosa and cause erosive gastritis. The most common medications that cause this irritation are the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). These drugs may cause gastritis if taken for a prolonged period of time and they usually tend to cause gastritis in the antrum. If the NSAIDs are combined with H. pylori, it can cause severe damage to the stomach lining of the infected person. Apart from NSAIDs, the other medications causing gastritis include steroids, potassium supplements, iron tablets, cancer chemotherapy medications, etc.
Another probable cause of gastritis is injury and stress. It is found that illness, injury or extreme mental stress has the possibility to cause erosive gastritis and acute gastritis. Sometimes, disorders of the immune system become a cause of gastritis. Having problems with the immune system may cause a patient's antibodies to attack the lining of the stomach and this cause is generally found in case of atrophic gastritis.
Certain other health disorders are sometimes considered possible causes as well, for instance, Crohn's disease. This is actually a type of inflammatory bowel disease that usually affects the intestines. However, it may affect the stomach and cause erosive gastritis in rare cases. The other health disorders causing gastritis include various autoimmune diseases, pernicious anemia, chronic vomiting, etc. Different types of viruses, fungi and parasite may sometimes trigger gastritis. They may pose a huge problem especially to the people having weakened immune systems. The people suffering from acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) or are taking immunosuppressant medications has a higher risk to be affected by viruses, parasites or fungi easily.
Radiation is considered one of the causes for gastritis. Radiation may irritate the lining of the stomach when delivered to the upper abdomen or lower chest and may eventually cause gastritis. Though all patients do not have this problem, the physicians often recommend medications to protect the stomach lining before x-rays or radiation treatments are performed. Another cause of gastritis is improper levels of digestive juices or reflux of bile. Having excessive amounts of hydrochloric acid in the stomach may result in erosive gastritis and this may occur if bile from the small intestine flows back into the stomach. The people who are hypersensitive or allergic to foods or other stomach contents like parasite or infections are also likely to have gastritis. Hence, such allergies or sensitivities are considered a cause of gastritis.
Gastritis is often found in people after the removal of part of the stomach (known as partial gastrectomy). This type of gastritis is called as post-gastrectomy gastritis and in this case, inflammation typically occurs where the tissues have been sewn back together. The cause behind this may be impaired blood flow or bile back-flow. Inflammation may also occur following a near-total gastrectomy and affect the small amounts of gastric mucosa that are left.
Apart from the above mentioned causes, there are also a few other factors that may lead to this disease. These factors include swallowing poisons or objects like corrosives (acid or lye), alcohols of various types, different foreign bodies like paper clips or pins, etc. If a person gets infected with tuberculosis, syphilis, influenza, toxins of uraemia and gout; he/ she may be affected by gastritis. There are a few risk factors that can increase a person's possibility of developing gastritis. These risk factors include substance abuse and certain diets. Excessive alcohol consumption, cigarette smoking or illicit drug use, or consumption of spicy, acidic, fried or fatty foods may also increase the risk of gastritis. Physical and mental stress; race and ethnicity; etc. are also considered probable causes for gastritis.
It is often found that people having a pittika constitution are at a higher risk of developing gastritis compared to others. Constipation tends to aggravate the condition more than any other disorder. If gastritis is left untreated, it can lead to a severe loss in blood, or in some cases increase the risk of developing stomach cancer as well. So, taking preventive actions like avoiding the occurrence of risk factors and the causes for gastritis is the best way to fight against gastritis.
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