Gastritis in kids: Causes, symptoms and foods that help

Does your child have constant tummy aches? Is your child burping all the time? Does your kid feel full and eating less than usual? Does he/ she have frequent stomach upset? If this is the case, your child may be dealing with  “Gastritis”. Continue reading to know more about gastritis.

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Gastritis

Gastritis is a common condition which occurs due to a variety of reasons. More than half of the people around the globe have gastritis. Our stomach is coated with two protective mucus layers. The outer mucus layer is thin but the inner mucus layer is 50-200 micrometre thick and coated in the inner wall of the stomach. This mucus layer protects the stomach from acid and germs. When this mucus layer gets irritated or inflamed, it will cause damage in the stomach lining which is referred to as “Gastritis”.

Gastritis is mainly caused by a harmful bacteria (bad bacteria) which causes infection in kids.  Most of the bacteria in our body are good for our gut which is called as “Beneficial bacteria”(Good bacteria). These good bacteria help in digestion and maintaining the gut health. If we increase the good bacteria through our diet, it will fight with bad bacteria, virus and fungi thereby reducing gastritis.

Also check, Causes of stomach pain in kids

Types of Gastritis

Gastritis can be classified into two types, acute gastritis and chronic gastritis depending on how long the symptoms persist.

1. Acute gastritis

Acute gastritis will suddenly start with intense stomach pain when we have spicy and oily foods or due to bacterial infection or injury. It is also known as Self-limiting which means the illness and pain will be temporary that goes away on its own and doesn’t impair the health in the long run.

2. Chronic gastritis

Chronic gastritis on the other hand starts with dull stomach ache and will cause serious illness in the stomach. It is also known as Non Self-limiting which means the inflammation of the mucus layer will be aggressive and damage to the stomach lining will be permanent. 

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Causes of Gastritis

Gastritis can be caused due to various reasons. Here are some of the causes of gastritis

1. Bacteria and fungal infection

The main causes of chronic inflammation of the mucous layer of the stomach are bacterial and fungal infection. It will spread through contaminated foods or drinking water. It will also affect people with weak immune system.

Also check, How to increase child’s immunity

2. Food habits

All spicy foods contain a chemical compound called capsaicin. This compound may aggregate the esophageal irritation and also the food remains in the stomach for a long time. Eating spicy, oily, salty, deep-fried and highly acidic foods will increase the severity of gastritis.

Also check, Gut healthy foods

3. Medicines

Some painkillers like ibuprofen or aspirin are often advised to be taken after a meal. Food aids in reducing the inflammation of stomach lining. Taking more antibiotics or painkillers in an empty stomach can damage the mucosa of the stomach leading to gastritis.

4. Stress

Stress and anxiety usually causes excessive contraction of muscles. If the stomach muscles get impacted by stress, it pressurizes the stomach and leads to the increased production of acid. The acid thereby damages the stomach lining and causes gastritis.

Also check, How to handle anxiety in kids

5. Auto-immune

The parietal cells present in the stomach produce the stomach acid. The body’s own immune system mistakenly destroy these cells and causes inflammation of stomach lining thereby leads to chronic gastritis. This will further increase the pH of the stomach which makes it difficult to absorb Vitamin B12 and iron leads to deficiency.

Signs and Symptoms of gastritis

  • Frequent stomach ache or stomach upset
  • Burning sensation in the stomach
  • Constant burping often associated with foul smell 
  • Indigestion
  • Bloating
  • Loss of appetite
  • Feeling of fullness in the stomach
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

Foods that help to reduce gastritis

Following are some foods and herbs that can help to manage the symptoms of gastritis.

1. PARTIALLY HYDROLYSED GUAR GUM

Guar gum is a fibre made from guar bean or Indian cluster bean. Undoubtedly, it is one of the best gut-healthy foods. While partially hydrolyzed guar gum is derived from guar gum by the process of enzymatic hydrolysis. PHGG is a water soluble dietary fibre and it regulates gut function. 

When the gastric emptying is slow, it will cause inflammation in the stomach. According to the study conducted by NIH, guar gum helps in increasing the gastric emptying time in patients with severe gastric retention which leads to reduction of inflammation of stomach lining. It has also been useful in treating Ulcer, Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) symptoms in both adults and kids.

2. Fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS- Prebiotic Fibre)

Fructooligosaccharides (FOS) are composed of short fructose chains. They are a type of carbohydrate called oligosaccharides. FOS occurs naturally in many plants. They are prebiotic fibres that support the growth of healthy bacteria in the digestive tract which in turn stops the spread of Helicobacter pylori. It helps in reducing the symptoms of gastritis.

Also check, Role of prebiotics for gut health

3.Papaya

The papaya fruit contains two enzymes, papain and chymopapain. Papaya is also high in fibre and water content, both of which help to prevent constipation and promote regularity and a healthy digestive tract. Papaya is rich in antioxidants like zeaxanthin as well as micronutrients like folate, vitamin A, magnesium, copper,B vitamins, vitamin E, calcium, potassium and vitamin K. The natural enzymes present in papaya help to improve digestion and reduce the inflammation caused by gastritis.

Also check, Health benefits of fruits

4. Turmeric

Due to its antibacterial and antiviral properties turmeric is one of the best foods for gastritis. It inhibits the growth of Helicobacter pylori (bad bacteria) and treats the inflammation of the stomach.

Also check, How to make turmeric and honey balls

5. Garlic

Garlic is a prebiotic, naturally high in inulin, a type of non- digestible carbohydrate that feeds the good bacteria in your gut and prevents disease promoting bacteria from growing at the same time. It alleviates the symptoms of gastritis.

6. Water

If you keep yourself hydrated, it controls the level of acid in gastric juice as well as the balance of good bacteria in the gut. Water intake is as important for the gut as food intake. You can also offer your kids Coconut water which helps to heal the inflammation of the stomach and buttermilk which neutralises stomach acids.

7. Probiotics

Probiotics are live bacteria that aids in digestion and maintain the gut health. These “beneficial” bacteria are rich in foods like yogurt, kefir and kanji. Probiotics help to reduce the inflammation of stomach lining.

Also check, Role of probiotics for healthy gut

8. Giloy

It is a shrub and an essential herb in ayurvedic medicines. Giloy treats wide range of health conditions. It contains important plant compounds like terpenoids, alkaloids, lignans, and steroids. Research shows that these compounds have antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antidiabetic properties which not only helps in boosting immunity, but Giloy stem can also help improve digestion, reduce constipation, acidity, gastritis and bloating. It works well for people with a weak digestive system.

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9. Isabgol (Psyllium husk)

Isabgol is driven from the seeds of plantago ovate. It have probiotic potential, which supports the growth of beneficial bacteria and increases the production of short chain fatty acids, which has positive effects on colonic health. Psyllium is also rich in fiber contents and has the ability to absorb water that means it soaks up water in your gut and makes bowel movement easier. It is a natural remedy for gastritis.

Foods to Avoid

These foods do not cause gastritis but aggravate the symptoms of gastritis.

1. PROCESSED SUGAR AND MEAT

Sugar mixes with saliva which contains beneficial bacteria to cause an acidic environment. It causes inflammation in the body which results in weaker immunity. Greatest source of sugar in the average kid’s diet are sugary snacks and beverages like cookies, cakes, candies, fruit juice, soda, and sports drinks. Everything that the child picks up to eat today has strains of added sugar in some form or the other. Meat is rich in fats and proteins, so it is difficult to digest.

Also check, Foods for providing healthy nutrition

2. SPICY AND SALTY FOODS

Avoid chillies and pepper loaded spicy foods. High-salt foods like pickles will worsen gastritis.

3. FRIED FOODS AND HIGH FAT FOODS

Avoid fried foods, butter, and heavy whipping cream which are rich in fat.

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