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When it comes to chronic gastritis, some underlying causes can be at the root of why you have the condition. Although antacids are the first-line treatment option for gastritis cases, it is not always the most efficient option for patients depending on the why exactly they have the disease. 

Two of the most common reasons why patients may suffer from chronic gastritis are: 

  • potential bacterial infections
  • overuse of medications. 
The most common bacterial infection that can cause chronic gastritis goes by the name of H. pylori and gastritis may also be due to the overuse of painkillers like Tylenol and Advil

H. pylori are the first type of infection that I will highlight in this discussion. It is a common organism and is present in a large number of the global population. About 55 percent of preschoolers are currently infected with H. pylori while closer to 95 percent of the adult population hosts the organism. [1] The answer to the question why most of the global community is not suffering from chronic gastritis is very simple — H. pylori is usually in a dormant stage and is not actively causing infections. If a patient travels to the Middle East, Asia or South America where this bacteria is more likely to be found in the active form or if they suffer from any disease that lowers their immune system effectiveness, patients will suffer from a multitude of symptoms like chronic stomach pain, peptic ulcers, and weight loss.  

H. pylori work by secreting a fundamental material (pH > 7) that protects it from the harsh acidic environment of the stomach so it can steal valuable nutrients to survive in places where most bacteria will be easily destroyed. Your stomach becomes tricked into thinking the acid in your stomach is not strong enough to digest your next meal and will secrete more and more stomach acid which will eventually start to erode your stomach wall, which is precisely why you are suffering from gastritis.

Although medications like antacids or PPIs (proton pump inhibitors) can help neutralize the acid in your stomach, they are helping the bacteria accomplish what it is trying to do to live in a more hospitable environment — you are making the problem worse by using these types of medications. 

Your best option is first to confirm you are suffering from an active H. pylori infection and to take a combination of antibiotics then first to weaken the bacteria and then use antacids to help the stomach lining heal after you eradicate the pest. 

Another potential cause of your chronic gastritis is the overuse of painkillers like Tylenol or Advil. Painkiller abuse is especially common in modern society as patients use these types of medications as a quick fix to headaches and too much stress. These medications interfere with the stomach lining by altering inflammation pathways, and patients can begin to develop gastritis symptoms. When patients start to have stomach pains, their first line of thinking is to usually take some painkiller to help get rid of the problem. Unfortunately, this is the medical equivalent of putting out a fire with gasoline, and you are only exacerbating the problem. In this case, the most effective intervention is to stop using painkillers for a few months and also withhold any PPI medications to allow your stomach to heal and recreate its healthy environment. {2]

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