Prepared by Dr Lua Guan Way
Consultant Gastroenterologist and Hepatologist
Gleneagles Medini Hospital
What is gastritis?
Gastritis refers to a group of conditions that develop from the inflammation,
irritation, or erosion of the protective lining of the stomach. It most
commonly results from an infection by the same bacterium that triggers stomach
Gastritis comes in either one of two forms, depending on the severity of the
inflammation and the length of the incubation period.
Acute gastritis and chronic gastritis share similar symptoms, namely loss of
appetite, recurrent nausea and vomiting, indigestion, and a feeling of
bloating particularly after a meal. However, the pain stemming from acute
gastritis occurs more suddenly but is temporary, while chronic gastritis
causes duller and longer-lasting pain. Left unchecked, both can lead to ulcers
or an increased risk of stomach cancer. Regardless, gastritis is not a huge
worry with prompt and appropriate treatment.
Your stomach lining secretes mucus to protect against damage by corrosive
digestive juices. Gastritis occurs due to the inflammation of this layer of
tissue. The primary source of the condition is a bacterial infection of
Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori), which can cause ulcers and in severe cases,
stomach cancer. It is usually passed from person-to-person contact but may be
transmitted via contaminated food or beverages as well.
Gastritis risk factors
Other risk factors can also engender gastritis, including:
What are the main causes of gastritis in pregnancy?
- Alcohol, drug, and tobacco abuse
- Routine use of anti-inflammatory medication and pain relievers
- Extreme stress
- Chronic vomiting
- Old age as older adults are more prone to H.pylori infection and the stomach
lining usually thins with age
- Autoimmune gastritis where the body attacks its own stomach lining
- The presence of other diseases such as Crohn's disease, HIV/AIDS, or
Women who already live with gastritis will suffer an aggravation of the
disease during pregnancy. This is due to fluctuating hormone levels combined
with the pressure that a growing foetus places on the body. In addition to the
typical symptoms, expecting mothers may also experience heartburn, toxicosis
accompanied by severe vomiting, stomach pain, flatulence, and diarrhoea.
Gastritis symptoms during pregnancy
Heartburn, vomiting, stomach pain, flatulence, and diarrhoea pose minor
inconveniences during pregnancy but could indicate serious health issues
depending on the severity and frequency. Use self-help measures and home
remedies to relieve negligible irritation. Visit your specialist should the
How to treat gastritis during pregnancy?
Antacids containing aluminium, calcium, and magnesium were not found to be
teratogenic in animal studies and are recommended as first-line treatment of
heartburn and acid reflux during pregnancy. Over-the-counter antacids such as
Gaviscon may help you cope with occasional heartburn symptoms.
The doctor may also prescribe Histamine-2 blockers (such as ranitidine or
cimetidine) or proton pump inhibitors (such as omeprazole) if your symptoms do
not respond well to antacids. Although there is no evidence suggesting that
these medications use is harmful during pregnancy, it is recommended that the
drug only be used during pregnancy as needed, when no other options are
If you are experiencing nausea and vomiting (especially during the early
trimester), your doctor may prescribe you certain antiemetic medication, such
as Metoclopramide (brand name Maxolon) and Domperidone (brand name Motilium).
However, some women with the more severe form of pregnancy sickness,
Hyperemesis Gravidarum, may require further hospitalisation and investigation.
Does gastritis affect baby during pregnancy?
While a pregnant woman afflicted with gastritis may encounter exacerbated
symptoms, there is no negative effect on the course of pregnancy and the
development of the child.
Does the effect of gastritis heighten solely due to pregnancy?
No, it may be due to underlying pre-existing diseases, such as presence of
Helicobacter pylori infection or peptic ulcer disease.
Home remedies for gastritis during pregnancy
While it may be almost impossible to eliminate every gastrointestinal issue
when you are pregnant, the following tips may help you feel a little better:
Foods to avoid for gastritis during pregnancy
- Drink plenty of water
- Avoid gassy drinks such as soda and other carbonated drinks
- Avoid sugar substitutes such as sorbitol
- Keep a food diary to track foods that might be problematic for your
- Eat high fibre foods
- Consider taking fibre supplements
- Exercise regularly to relieve constipation as physical activity may help
speed up digestion
- Wear comfortable clothes such as loose-fitting maternal clothing
- Find ways to reduce stress, such as meditation, or taking a nice warm bath
Changes should be made to your dietary habits. Cut out foods that are spicy,
fried, acidic, and high in fat content as these can cause gastritis flare-ups.
Caffeinated drinks are also culprits, so swap your coffees and sodas with
herbal teas and flavoured water.
Certain dishes like red meat, pork, and refined foods may not elicit immediate
reaction but could exacerbate pain in the long-term. Instead of having three
big meals, space out about four to six reduced portions throughout the day.
Your plate should consist of foods that are easy for your stomach to break
down, for example low-fat dairy products, soup, porridge, as well as steamed
or boiled lean meat and fish. Wash it all down with a fresh juice made out of
fruits and vegetables.
When to see a doctor for gastritis during pregnancy?
It is essential to see your doctor for gastrointestinal issues even if they do
not seem serious when you are expecting. Besides being able to prescribe you
treatment to alleviate the symptoms, your doctor will also be able to monitor
your condition to ensure that you remain healthy throughout pregnancy.
Call your doctor immediately if you experience severe or chronic symptoms
- Severe pain or discomfort that interrupts your daily activities
- Blood in stools
- Constipation for more than a week
- Vomiting blood
- Extreme weight loss
- Pain or difficulty swallowing
- Frequent choking episodes
- Extreme tiredness or fatigue
Gastritis during pregnancy can be very uncomfortable. If you are an expecting
mom experiencing gastrointestinal symptoms, do not hesitate to make an
Gastroenterologists. Our team of doctors are well equipped to journey with you throughout your
pregnancy and beyond.