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What is Gastric Disease?

Gastric disease refers to any disease that disrupts the normal functioning of the stomach. The different types of gastric diseases include:

  • Gastritis: Inflammation of the lining of the stomach wall
  • Gastroparesis: Motility of the stomach is reduced and digestion occurs slowly
  • GERD: Reflux of stomach acid into the esophagus
  • Peptic ulcer: Ulceration and breakdown of the lining of the stomach
  • Gastric cancer: Formation of cancerous cells that spread throughout the stomach

Causes of Gastric Disease

The stomach temporarily stores food, produces digestive enzymes, and protects the lower intestine from harmful microorganisms. Hence, the stomach is vulnerable to a large number of diseases. The causes of gastric disease may include:

  • Infection from bacteria and viruses
  • Frequent use of medications that can damage the mucosal lining
  • Hiatal hernia
  • Autoimmune conditions
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • Cancer

Symptoms of Gastric Disease

The most common symptoms of gastric disease include:

  • Abdominal bloating or pain
  • Heartburn
  • Indigestion
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Weight loss
  • Vomiting
  • Blood in the stools

Diagnosis of Gastric Disease

Your doctor will discuss your symptoms, perform a physical examination, and may order diagnostic tests if necessary. The most common diagnostic tests for gastric disease include:

  • Endoscopy: This procedure involves the use a long flexible tube (endoscope) with a camera at one end that is inserted via the mouth into the stomach. This helps your doctor visualize the inner lining of your stomach to look for ulcers or other pathology, and also to obtain a biopsy sample.
  • Upper GI Series: This study uses barium-based contrast material to produce X-ray images of the stomach.
  • Abdominal CT scan: This uses special X-rays that produce clear images of the internal hard and soft tissues of your stomach.

Treatment for Gastric Disease

Treatments for gastric disease may include:

  • Medications: Your doctor may prescribe antibiotics, anti-inflammatory drugs, antacids, or pain-relievers as needed.
  • Radiation Therapy: This may be done for treatment of stomach cancer. You will be instructed to lie on a table and a high powered beam of X-rays will be introduced to your body to target the cancer cells.
  • Jejunostomy Tube (Feeding Tube): In patients with gastroparesis, the doctor might use a jejunostomy tube to ensure proper nutrition.
  • Gastric Surgery: This involves surgical suturing of ulcers or removal of cancerous lesions and damaged parts of the digestive tract.
  • Nutrition Therapy: A special diet will be introduced through a feeding tube as indicated to maintain healthy nourishment.

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