Gastritis is much more common than we think. It is a condition where the stomach becomes inflamed.
If gastritis persists and becomes longer-term than it can lead to development of intestinal metaplasia, dysplasia and gastric atrophy. This can ultimately lead to stomach and gastric cancers.
The main symptoms are pain, nausea, sickness and indigestion.
The causes have been associated with infections such as those produced by Helicobacter pylori and other bacteria, by stress, alcohol abuse and through the use of painkillers.
Treatment involves prescribing protein pump inhibitors (PPIs), and mucosa-protecting agents. In a few cases, both are used. The use of PPIs is becoming restricted because of concerns about their long-term use.
A number of alternatives are being investigated including beta-glucans. These are polysaccharides that are found in the cell walls of fungi, inlcuding Chaga and Pleurotus, many cereals such as oats, algae and yeast. Oat beta-glucans have a number of claims associated with them including heart health benefits.