Excess acid may be counteracted in the stomach with antacid pills. The main parts of antacids are aluminum and magnesium hydroxides. There are three side effects of antacid treatment, which depend on the compound used. First, many have an act on the bowel: some have a mild laxative effect, and some are constipating. Second, if the positively charged compounds are absorbed, the blood may be made alkaline. Third, antacids may affect the absorption of other drugs by binding with them in the stomach area.
A diffuse irritation of the stomach coating, gastritis is usually a severe disorder caused by contaminated food, by alcohol misuse, or by bacterial- or viral-made inflammation of the stomach tract (gastroenteritis). Such episodes are short-lived and require no exact treatment. Pain is generalized in the upper stomach and is continuous, but it gradually decreases over two or three days. Aspirin and NSAIDs taken for arthritis cause erosions in the antrum of the stomach and in some instances cause bleeding and long-lasting ulceration. Infection by the bacteria H. pylori is also a common cause of long-lasting gastritis. This usually responds to the removal of the offending drugs and treatment with the same agents used to treat peptic ulcers of the stomach and duodenum.
Another form of gastritis is stomach atrophy, in which the thickness of the mucosa is reduced. Stomach atrophy is often the culmination of damage to the stomach over many years. Diffuse stomach atrophy leads to partial loss of the glandular and secreting cells throughout the stomach and may be associated with iron deficiency anemia. Atrophy of the mucosa confined to the body and fundic areas of the stomach is seen in malicious anemia and is due to the formation of antibodies to intrinsic factor secreted by the parietal cells. Intrinsic factor is necessary to the absorption of vitamin B12.
© copyright Isaiah Schultz 2011