Changing lifestyle and diet are usually the first steps recommended by healthcare providers to relieve symptoms of gastric disorders.
• If you smoke, stop.
• Avoid foods and beverages that worsen symptoms.
• Avoid alcohol, caffeine and chocolate.
• Lose weight if needed.
• Eat small, frequent meals.
• Avoid lying down for three hours after a meal.
Because drugs work in different ways, combinations of medications may help control symptoms. People who get heartburn after eating may take both antacids and H2 blockers. The antacids work first to neutralize the acid in the stomach, and then the H2 blockers act on acid production. By the time the antacid stops working, the H2 blocker will have stopped acid production.
Most H. pylori-related ulcers are curable with treatment that combines two different kinds of antibiotics and an acid suppressor. The medication is taken over a 1- to 2-week period. The ulcer may take 8 weeks to heal, but the pain usually goes away after a few days or a week. To be sure the treatment has worked, doctors may do a follow-up endoscopy 6 to 12 months later to check for H. pylori. Likewise, ulcers related to NSAIDs rarely require surgery and usually improve with an acid suppressor and stopping or changing the NSAID. No antibiotics are needed to treat this type of ulcer.
Treatment for gastritis usually involves taking antacids and other drugs to reduce stomach acid, and avoiding hot and spicy foods. For gastritis caused by infections, your doctor will prescribe a regimen of several antibiotics plus some sort of acid blocking drug (a heartburn drug). If the gastritis is caused by pernicious anemia, B12 vitamin shots will be given. Once the underlying problem disappears, the gastritis usually resolves.
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