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What is Gastritis?

Gastritis is an acute catarrhal inflammation of the stomach most commonly caused by the eating of irritant, poisonous or indigestible foods, e.g. flesh of crabs or lobsters, or tinned food which has gone bad. A surfeit of food and excessive indulgence in alcohol are also common causes, while the symptoms of gastric influenza are a result of the gastritis produced by the influenza! poison. Gout, rheumatism and other constitutional conditions, such as liver, heart and lung disease, may predispose to this condition.

Symptoms of Gastritis

Following the imprudent meal or drinking bout, there is severe abdominal discomfort sometimes amounting to colic, usually associated with nausea and vomiting. The tongue is thickly furred, appetite is lost, a degree of fever may be present. Headache, depression and a considerable prostration may result. Diarrhea ensues in a few days as a rule. Recovery with treatment takes place in about three to six days, but repeated attacks lead to the condition of chronic gastric catarrh.

Treatment of Gastritis

The patient should be starved for twenty-four hours, only sips of water being permitted. Calomel (two grains) followed in about four hours with a Seidlitz powder may help to remove the irritant from the alimentary tract. If there is much pain, warmth (a hot-water bottle) should be applied to the stomach region and if severe the doctor may prescribe tincture of opium. When the acute symptoms have subsided, sweetened arrowroot may be given, and, as the appetite returns, citrated milk, farinaceous foods, and eggs are suitable.

Care should be taken with the diet for some time after an attack of acute gastritis.

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