If symptoms are particularly severe or if a fever suddenly develops you must see a doctor. If retching, caused by bacteria, persists for more than two days you must take medication and avoid eating large meals. It is also very important to replenish lost fluids and minerals, but without inducing more vomiting.
Key point: the drink used to replenish lost fluids and minerals should not make the patient feel nauseous, to avoid this it is best if they choose the drink themselves as well as its temperature. You should avoid consuming food and drink that is too hot or too cold.
Those suffering from gastritis can drink small amounts of black, green and herbal teas, with a little added sugar or sweetener if they prefer, but not too much because very sweet drinks stimulate nausea.
Mineral water must be still not carbonated.
Coca Cola is not recommended in the acute stages because it is carbonated and too sweet. If your gastritis is tolerable, you can buy mineral preparations from your pharmacy.
Diet and gastritis
If vomiting has ceased and the nausea subsided you can create a personal food plan made up of easily digestible foods such as rice or oat porridge, slightly salted but with no added fat. Herbs or spices like parsley, basil, cumin or fennel can be added to improve flavour.
Gradually you can move towards a more substantial diet by introducing toasted white bread and rusks, boiled rice, pasta, mashed potatoes without milk and stewed vegetables like carrots, courgettes, celery or fennel.
Initially, portions should be small, but this way you can even eat five meals a day. By eating and chewing your food slowly you will avoid cramps and feel full in no time: you should stop eating once you are full, otherwise you risk straining your stomach.
Your food plan should be gradually expanded, exercise caution with raw vegetables for example, as these are preferably eaten mashed and sieved. Gastritis can also cause intolerance to milk and other dairy products. You can eat yoghurt and low-fat, unmatured cheese because these clot protein content making them easier to digest. Lactobacillus helps to restore the intestinal tract.
Meat and fish can be eaten, but the type of meat and the cooking method should be chosen carefully. If possible, eat lean, thin slices of chicken, turkey or veal or lean fish such as plaice. It should be cooked quickly, either by steaming it or in a foil parcel for example.
Gradually you can reintroduce raw foods like salad or fruit, which should be kept in exceptional hygienic conditions at all times. Chopped food or sauces should not be left uncovered and should be eaten as soon as possible.
The following are absolutely forbidden:
- reheated fat and fried or grilled foods; use fat sparingly at first;
- dairy products and matured cheese;
- raw vegetables and fruit, except for apples and bananas;
- foods and sweets that expand inside the stomach;
- in general, anything to excess: too sweet, too acidic, too spicy, too hot, too cold;
- drinks with a high alcohol content, in particular brandy, which many mistakenly believe to be a cure-all for nausea when it actually irritates the gastric mucosa. The feeling of well-being derives from the numbing of the stomach's nerves, preventing you from perceiving the true extent of the damage.
Smoking harms your stomach!
During an acute attack of gastritis you should give up smoking because it irritates the gastric mucosa and has a harmful effect on circulation.
Unlike acute gastritis, which can eventually be cured, chronic gastritis involves long-term pain. The gastric mucosa is constantly irritated and hypersensitive to external stimuli. Usually, chronic gastritis is caused by excess gastric acid.
How is too much gastric acid produced?
Fatty acids aid complete digestion but can be produced in excess if stimulated. The gastric mucus, which protects the mucosa, can no longer perform its function which results in irritation and inflammation. Those who suffer from chronic gastritis can alleviate it by eating a healthy and balanced diet.
Intestinal pains are caused by the following:
- reheated fat, fried and grilled food;
- fatty meats, salami or cheese;
- hot or cold drinks and food;
- hot spices and very salty foods;
- very sweet foods;
- raw vegetables and fruit;
- foods containing vinegar and fruit acids;
- alcoholic drinks and strong spirits;
- large mouthfuls of food that are not chewed properly;
- foods that expand in the stomach.
While foods that can be tolerated are:
- bread that is not too fresh;
- potatoes, pasta, rice;
- tender meat and fish low in fat;
- fresh, low-fat, unmatured cheese;
- digestible fruit like apples, bananas, blueberries and cooked fruit;
- leafy salads, stewed vegetables like carrots, celery, fennel and courgettes; unheated butter and cream (used sparingly);
- unheated vegetable oil (used sparingly).
Basic foods can cause excess stomach acid production. Among these are natural plant foods containing basic minerals. If cooked correctly, the water-soluble minerals can be kept intact: fruit and vegetables should be stewed or steamed and the cooking water, which contains the majority of the alkalising agents, re-used. These substances dissolve in vegetable stock and herbal teas and have a soothing effect on the stomach.
It's not just the combination of foods that determines tolerability, but also the way they are eaten: the stomach reacts to stress! Which means: eating while standing up or walking is not good for the stomach, even if you're eating dietary foods. But if you eat slowly, chew your food properly and stop eating as soon as you feel full you can even digest foods that are not tolerated by your stomach.
Naturally, stress is also a factor. The greater the stress, the greater the production of stomach acid. Sometimes it can be more useful to use relaxation techniques like autogenic training rather than learning to follow a strict diet.