Gastritis- Inflammation of the Stomach
Gastritis is an inflammation of the lining of the stomach. The inflammatory lesions may be either acute or chronic.
Causes and Symptoms
The main symptoms of gastritis are loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, headache, and dizziness. There is pain and discomfort in the region of the stomach. Other symptoms are a coated tongue, foul breath, bad taste in the mouth, increased flow of saliva, scanty urination, a general feeling of uneasiness, and mental depression. In more chronic cases, the patient complaints of heartburn and a feeling of fullness in the abdomen, especially after meals. Often there is constipation, but occasionally, there may be diarrhoea due to intestinal catarrah.
The most frequent cause of gastritis is a dietetic indiscretionsuch as habitual overeating; eating of badly combined or improperly cooked foods; excessive intake of strong tea, coffee, or alcoholic drinks; or habitual use of large quantities of condiments and sauces. Other causes include worry, anxiety, grief, prolonged tension, use of certain drugs, strong acids, and caustic substances.
Coconut water is an excellent remedy for gastritis. It gives the stomach the necessary rest and provides vitamins and minerals. The stomach is greatly helped in returning to a normal condition if nothing but coconut water is given during the first twenty-four hours.
Rice gruel is another excellent remedy for acute cases of gastritis. One cup of rice gruel is recommended twice daily. In chronic cases where the flow of gastric juice is meagre, such foods as require prolonged vigorous mastication are beneficial as they induce a greater flow of gastric juice.
Potato juice has been found valuable in relieving gastritis. The recommended dose is half a cup of the juice, two or three times daily, half an hour before meals.
The herb marigold is also considered beneficial in the treatment of gastritis. An infusion of the herb in doses of a tablespoon may be taken twice daily.
The patient should undertake a fast for two or three days or more, depending on the severity of the condition. He should be given only warm water to drink during this period. This will give rest to the stomach and allow the toxic condition causing the inflammation to subside. After the acute symptoms subside, the patient should adopt an all-fruit diet for the next three days and take juicy fruits such as apples, pears, grapes, grapefruit, oranges, pineapple, peaches, and melons. He may, thereafter, gradually embark upon a balanced diet consisting of seeds, nuts, grains, vegetables, and fruits.
The patient' should avoid the use of alcohol, tobacco, spices and condiments, meat, red pepper, sour foods, pickles, strong tea and coffee. He should also avoid sweets, pastries, rich cakes, and aerated waters. Curds and cottage cheese should be used freely. Too many different foods should not be mixed at the same meal. Meals should be taken at least two hours before going to bed at night Eight to ten glasses of water should be taken daily but water should not be taken with meals as it dilutes the digestive juices and delays digestion. Above all, haste should be avoided while eating and meals should be served in a pleasing and relaxed atmosphere.
From the commencement of the treatment, a warm-water enema should be used daily for about a week to cleanse the bowels. The patient should be given dry friction and a sponge daily. Application of heat with a hot compress or hot water bottle, twice a day, either on an empty stomach or two hours after meals, will also be beneficial. The patient should not undertake any hard physical and mental work. He should, however, undertake breathing and other light exercises like walking, swimming, and golf. He should avoid worries and mental tension.
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