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Pregnancy Gastritis - Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment

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Gastritis during pregnancy is very common in many women. This article explains the causes, symptoms, and treatment for gastritis during pregnancy.

Written by

Dr. Asha. C

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Monica Mathur

Published At March 6, 2023
Reviewed AtAugust 24, 2023

Introduction:

During pregnancy, every woman faces changes in their body, and these physiological changes can cause many symptoms, including nausea, vomiting, heartburn, and constipation. Pregnant women should have essential knowledge of pregnancy-related issues so that they can manage their symptoms and take adequate steps to prevent their occurrence.

What Is Gastritis?

Gastritis is a group of conditions that occur due to the irritation, inflammation, or erosion of the stomach lining. Gastritis often occurs due to the regular use of certain pain relievers, infection with the bacterium that causes most stomach ulcers, or too much consumption of alcohol. Gastritis can be acute or chronic, depending on the severity of the inflammation and the duration of the condition. Acute gastritis occurs as a sudden and severe pain for a temporary duration. But chronic gastritis is a dull aching pain for a longer duration. Both acute and chronic gastritis have similar symptoms, like recurrent nausea and vomiting, loss of appetite, a feeling of bloating mainly after a meal, and indigestion. If the symptoms are left untreated, it can lead to stomach ulcers and increase the stomach cancer risk. Pregnant women are more likely to develop gastritis due to changes in their bodies.

What Is the Cause of Gastritis During Pregnancy?

The stomach's inner layer secretes mucus to protect it against damage caused by corrosive digestive juices. Gastritis occurs because of the inflammation of this protective layer of tissue. The main cause for this condition is a Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection, which eventually leads to stomach ulcers. When left treated, it becomes severe and may lead to stomach cancer. This infection is passed from interpersonal contact. However, in some cases, it may be transmitted through contaminated food or beverages. Other causes of gastritis are:

  • Alcohol consumption.

  • Extended vomiting.

  • Overproduction of gastric juices.

  • Medications such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and Aspirin.

  • Immune and allergic conditions like pernicious anemia.

  • Radiation exposure.

  • Extreme stress.

  • Backflow of bile from the duodenum (small intestine).

  • Previous history of gastritis (it can get aggravated during pregnancy).

What Are the Symptoms of Gastritis During Pregnancy?

Pregnant women are more likely to develop non-chronic gastritis. However, the reasons are not fully understood. The common symptoms experienced by pregnant women with gastritis are:

  • Pain in the upper abdomen that is on and off.

  • A feeling of fullness in the upper tummy area after eating.

  • Feeling sick.

  • Indigestion.

  • Loss of appetite.

  • Bloating.

  • Heartburn.

  • Nausea.

  • Diarrhea.

  • Blood in the vomit.

  • Blood in the stools (occurs when the stomach lining gets ulcerated).

  • Weight loss.

In mild cases, a change in diet may help relieve the symptoms. The risk of gastritis can be increased by consuming certain food like acidic, hot, spicy, processed, or packaged. It is recommended to avoid foods that aggravate gastritis, also alcohol and caffeine intake too.

Who Is at Risk of Developing Gastritis During Pregnancy?

The following risk factors can trigger or aggravate gastritis:

  • Use of drugs, alcohol, and tobacco.

  • Extreme stress.

  • Prolonged and chronic vomiting.

  • Long-term use of painkillers and anti-inflammatory medications.

  • Older adults are more susceptible to H. pylori infection.

  • Chronic conditions like HIV, Crohn's disease, parasitic infection, etc.

How to Diagnose Gastritis During Pregnancy?

Diagnosis of gastritis is made based on the presenting clinical symptoms, and to confirm it, many tests are done, including,

  • Endoscopy - During this procedure, a long thin tube is inserted into the stomach through the mouth. This tube is attached with a small camera at its tip, enabling clear visibility of the inner organs to healthcare professionals. If the lining of the stomach is inflamed and red in color, it indicates gastritis. However, a biopsy is needed for further confirmation.

  • Biopsy - A tissue sample will be collected during the endoscopy procedure if the mucosa is red and inflamed. The sample will then be sent to the laboratory for further examination. The pathologist will look for abnormalities like damage to the epithelium and inflammatory cells.

What Is the Treatment for Gastritis During Pregnancy?

Healthcare professionals recommend pregnancy-safe treatments and medicines to bring gastritis under control if a change in diet does not work effectively. The healthcare professionals will also recommend making certain lifestyle and diet changes to reduce the symptoms.

Pregnant women are not allowed to use certain medications as they can harm the baby's health if they are already under medication for gastritis and trying to get pregnant or either pregnant. It is necessary to consult a doctor regarding medicine consumption. They may check and recommend an alternative, or if the drug is not harmful to the baby, they may allow it to continue.

  • Identifying the Root Cause - If the cause of gastritis is identified, steps can be taken to eliminate further exposure. For example, if gastritis is due to certain anti-inflammatory drugs, alcohol, etc., the usage should be stopped or reduced.

  • Dietary Modifications - Avoiding foods that can trigger gastritis, like alcohol, carbonated drinks, and caffeine, is also necessary. Additionally, the diet should include plenty of liquids, fruits, vegetables, and fiber-rich foods.

  • Medication - Doctors commonly prescribe antacids and alginates to reduce the acid content in gastric juices. These medications may be needed to be consumed for a few weeks or months, depending on the severity of the condition. Ranitidine and Omeprazole are drugs that are not harmful to the fetus.

  • No Treatment - In some cases, gastritis is accidentally found during endoscopy. If there are no other symptoms and no Helicobacter pylori bacteria, there is usually no treatment required for gastritis.

What Home Remedies Can Be Followed to Prevent Gastritis During Pregnancy?

Gastritis can not be completely eliminated during pregnancy, but steps can be taken to ease the symptoms, which include:

  • Plenty of water consumption.

  • Avoid sugar consumption and sugar substitutes.

  • Avoid carbonated and soda drinks.

  • Take food rich in fiber.

  • Add fiber supplements to the diet.

  • Do regular exercise; it can speed up digestion and reduce constipation.

  • Keep track of the food consumed daily to know which food causes digestion issues.

  • Reduce stress.

  • Wear loose-fitting maternity clothes that can make a person comfortable.

Conclusion:

Most women experience gastritis or digestive problems during pregnancy due to changes occurring in the body. The symptoms can be easily managed by minor diet and lifestyle changes. If the symptoms are severe, medicines are available that will not harm the baby. However, most digestive issues and gastritis problems will go after pregnancy.

Frequently Asked Questions

1.

Is Gastritis Common During Pregnancy?

Yes, gastritis can occur during pregnancy, but it is not always common. The hormonal and physical changes during pregnancy can increase the risk of developing gastritis, even though pregnancy itself is not a direct cause of this condition.

2.

What Drug Is Recommended For Gastritis Treatment During Pregnancy?

Cimetidine, ranitidine, and famotidine, classified as category B drugs, can be utilized during pregnancy, although they can cross the placental barrier. Lansoprazole, classified as category B, is the preferred proton pump inhibitor (PPI) for pregnancy.

3.

Is Gastric Harmful During Pregnancy?

Although gastritis does not directly harm a pregnancy, it can still be uncomfortable and hurt the pregnant person's health. If gastritis is not treated, complications could develop, especially in severe or chronic gastritis, affecting general health.

4.

Why Does Gastritis Occur During Early Pregnancy?

Gastritis can occur in early pregnancy due to hormonal changes and physical factors. Increased progesterone levels relax stomach muscles, causing acid reflux, while pressure from the growing uterus adds to gastritis symptoms.

5.

Can Gastritis Pose A Risk To The Baby's Health?

The health of the infant is not directly at risk from gastroenteritis. However, if severe or persistent gastritis is untreated, it may result in complications that could indirectly impact the baby's general health.

6.

How Can Gastritis Be Controlled During Pregnancy?

To control gastritis during pregnancy: eat smaller, frequent meals; avoid spicy, greasy, and acidic foods; stay upright after meals; manage stress; get enough rest; and stay hydrated. Consulting with a healthcare professional is crucial for personalized guidance.

7.

What Is A Recommended Tablet For Gas Relief In Pregnancy?

 
Gas-X and other anti-gas meds, such as Simethicone, are commonly recommended and generally safe over-the-counter tablets for gas relief during pregnancy. However, consulting with a healthcare professional is advisable for personalized recommendations and to ensure the safety of both mother and baby.

8.

Is It Safe To Drink Jeera Water During Pregnancy?

Drinking jeera (cumin) water in moderation is generally safe during pregnancy and may offer digestive benefits. However, consulting with a healthcare professional is recommended to ensure its suitability for individual circumstances.

9.

Can Pregnancy Lead To An Increase In Gastric Issues?

 
Yes, Pregnancy can cause an increase in gastric issues due to hormonal changes that relax digestive muscles and the pressure from the growing uterus on the stomach.

10.

Can Gastro Cause Early Miscarriage?

 
Gastritis is not a common cause of miscarriage. Miscarriages frequently occur due to additional factors like genetic abnormalities, hormonal imbalances, maternal health conditions, or structural problems with the uterus. In case of pregnancy-related worries, consulting with a healthcare professional is crucial.

11.

What Are The Risks Associated With Gastritis?

Complications from gastritis can include ulcers, bleeding, and, in some cases, a higher risk of stomach cancer. If untreated, severe or persistent gastritis may result in these side effects.

12.

What Are Suitable Food Choices For Managing Gastric Issues During Pregnancy?

For managing gastric issues during pregnancy, choose a well-balanced diet with small, frequent meals. Include fiber-rich foods lean proteins, and stay hydrated. Avoid spicy, greasy, acidic foods, caffeine, and carbonated beverages. Probiotic-rich foods like yogurt can be beneficial.

13.

What Is The Quickest Method To Treat Gastritis?

 
The quickest method to treat gastritis depends on its severity and underlying cause. Taking antacids, avoiding trigger foods, and making lifestyle changes like eating smaller, more frequent meals can provide fast relief. However, consulting a healthcare professional is crucial to effectively and safely manage gastritis.

14.

Does Milk Have The Ability To Alleviate Gastritis Symptoms?

Milk can temporarily relieve gastritis symptoms for some individuals, but it may worsen the condition for others by stimulating stomach acid production. Consulting with a healthcare professional is recommended to determine if milk or dietary modifications are suitable for managing gastritis symptoms based on individual circumstances.

15.

Is Water Beneficial For Relieving Gastritis?

 
Water is generally beneficial for relieving gastritis symptoms by diluting stomach acid and promoting digestion. Staying hydrated is important for overall health and maintaining a healthy stomach lining.
Dr. Monica Mathur
Dr. Monica Mathur

Obstetrics and Gynecology

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