My gastritis was negative for H Pyllori. The doctor attributed it to acid reflux. I tend to believe based on my symptoms and what I've read, however, that I had a low Vitamin B-12 level. This, in combination with a diet that was high in acid (eating lots of tomatoes, peppers, onions, red wine, coffee over the summer)-- BOOM! There was also loads of stress over the past year, so it probably all effected me on a cellular level. I'm a male, early 30's, 6'5", in good health before gastritis.
In general, if you have gastritis, it's helpful to look at things in terms of 3 goals:
Here is an exhaustive list and explanation to things I did or stopped doing. I'm sorry this is so long winded, but in the case of this hideous disease, I'd rather give too much information than too little. This is not to be misunderstood as medical advice, but as my personal experience and things I did to navigate out of active gastritis. I've gone from burping probably 100 times a day to just a few belches or none.
1. I began to eat only foods with a pH of 4 or higher. There is a good resource here, that lists food by their pH and allows searching for specific foods: http://gastritis.club/ph-food-list?order=field_ph_low&sort=desc
2. I ate 3 strawberries with every meal. Strawberries have been linked by European scientists to helping heal gastritis and also prevent acid reflux. "The positive effects of strawberries are not only linked to their antioxidant capacity and high content of phenolic compounds (anthocyans) but also to the fact that they activate the antioxidant defenses and enzymes of the body."
3. I ate GOOD. It's all about complimenting the foods you can eat. For breakfast, I used olive oil in a pan to saute mushrooms, sliced fennel, and brussel sprouts. These foods are pretty alkaline and water filled-- so putting a lid on the pan, they essentially boiled in the pan. I seasoned with dried thyme. Then, I'd pour in two eggs and make a spinach omelette. Pretty great breakfast. Fennel has the consistency of onions, so it's a great substitute. Potatoes(regular and sweet) are high in glucosamine and became a staple. Okra is the highest in glucosamine and its mucousy texture when cooked is very soothing to our stomachs.
4. Vitamin B-12 supplements proved a huge help. You cannot overdose on Vitamin B-12. No study has shown Vitamin B-12 to be toxic, so I didn't bother with doctor advise on this one. I took Methylcobalamin B-12, 5,000 mcg every morning. It's a therapeutic vitamin, so it won't be overnight cure--- but low B-12 levels have been shown to be linked to anxiety issues, ear ringing, and of course, gastritis-- by way of pernicuous anemia.
5. Carotene Complex was taken in 10,000 IU per day. This is about 200% the daily value of Vitamin A. But I read that Russian studies had shown that Vitamin A aided in repairing stomach lining for ulcer patients.
7. I took a great Multi-Vitamin.
8. Zinc Carnosine, AKA PepZinGI, is the Zinc supplement I began taking. I got the Swanson Ultra, because it's the cheapest on Amazon. My understanding is that it stays in the stomach longer-- and protect the gastric mucosa against things that might cause injury to the lining.
9. Water. I stopped drinking water with my meals. I got in the habit of having a buffer of 20 minutes between eating and drinking. Within the first 90 minutes of the day, I'll drink 2 glasses of water.
9b. Coconut Water. Drinking this is a terrific way to return your stomach to a neutral pH. I found it very helpful especially in evenings that I had pain under my ribs.
10. My eating habits became very strict. I removed myself from any stressful triggers. I ate only a couple bites and then waited 10 minutes to eat some more. This caused meals to take an hour to finish(think about dividing your plate into 6 portions). The reason I did this was so that food could have time to digest before I added more food. The more food in your stomach, the more stomach acid you make. The more stomach acid you make, the more irritated your stomach lining. You do the math! ;) I also began eating my largest meal in the morning. Lunch was also reasonaly sized, but dinner was very small. This helped because I found evenings to be the most painful and then I woudln't go to bed with food in my belly.
11. Early on, egg and avocado became my best friend. I found other proteins too difficult to digest. So I ate half an avocado with every meal for a few months.
12. Gastitis is super debilitating, but if you let it shut down your body and physical activity, you're not helping. I took walks and did what yoga I could. When my symptoms were at their worst, they were short walks. For me, who typically walked between 2-8 miles in a day, just getting down the block and back was a victory in December. Eventually as my strength came back, I was able to do more. I just walked 3.5 miles the other day, so I'm happy with that progress!
13. I joined this support group. Knowing I wasn't the only person suffering really helped. For me to be able to tell my family and friends that a woman on the support group said that gastritis pains were worse than labor pains... it went a ways for people understanding I wasn't crazy or imagining things. So much of gastritis is mental and getting over mental hurdles.
14. I was patient. I understood if I was super strict with myself and did everything I could to address A,B, and C, that one day I would have built my stomach lining back up and be able to ease up and enjoy normal... acidic things again (in moderation).
15. I did have an endoscopy. I was afraid but it wasn't so bad, so if you're afraid-- just get it done. It helped my nerves to know I didn't have barrets esophagus or a tumor. I was tested for H Pylori and Celiacs. Both were negative.
I also had a CT Scan, doctor ordered. It put my mind at ease to know that I hadn't lost 40 lbs because of the C word.
16. The doctor prescribed 20mg Prilosec in January. I didn't want to take it because of everything awful I heard about PPI's, but decided to at least try for two weeks. I did notice that my anxiety level, which had been very high, went down considerably a few days in. I imagine that lowering my stomach acid caused me to not be in a constant war between acid and my stomach lining. I was on the prilosec for a total of 2 months, doctors orders. I weaned myself off the last 8 days, cutting my pills down a little each day. Each cut pill went into an empty gel cap to preserve the integrity of the cut pill. This gave it a little more time to get to my duodnum where it's absorbed. After getting off the prilosec, I noticed I felt much better. I feel like a few weeks on it helped-- but then I'm not sure that last month was necessary. I did have migraines, increased stomach acid, ear ringing after getting off the Prilosec. I recommend a spoonful of yellow mustard for anyone experiencing the acid rebound. This immediately provided relief for me. While on the prilosec, I continued my diet and everything else I'd been doing. It's important to know just because you're on a drug, you don't have a permit to do anything you like; that is if you want to get better.
17. The last couple weeks, I still had pain in my ribs and some reflux. I tried eating thinly sliced ginger after eating meals-- and WOW, it worked. It burns like hell in my mouth, but I kinda like a little pain... and it's preferable to the abdominal variety. At this point, if I get the sense any reflux might occur, I eat a thin slice of fresh ginger and all is well. I wish I'd tried the fresh ginger earlier on... but was afraid of it!
18. Cabbage Juice. For 2 weeks, I drank a small head of cabbage and some carrots every day. I drank it before a meal. It has a good reputation of healing ulcers, so I figured while I was on the Prilosec, I'd give it a try. If the drug wasn't going to help, the cabbage juice was. It tastes awful and you need to start by drinking just a little and work yourself up to drinking more each day. For everything I read about cabbage juice, I have no reason to believe it didn't aid in building my stomach lining back up. After 2 weeks, I stopped because at that point, it can begin effecting your thyroid.
19. Coffee. I had to stop drinking caffeine. It was awful, but doing it early on, I'm glad for it because it definitely coincided with attacks. After the initial attacks of gastritis had let up in severity, I found Healthwise Low Acid decaf coffee, which was good and didn't cause any issues. I'm still drinking it-- and just began making half-caf cups.
20. Carbonated Drinks. This is a huge trigger for me-- and might have been something that contributed to my gastritis in the first place. Carbonated drinks do irritate my stomach lining. Gotta give it up! Even Kombucha effected me negatively because it had a little carbonation.
21. Alcohol. I gave this up too. :( I haven't had a drop of alcohol for nearly 6 months. (Actually, I had a sip of wine over the weekend just to prove to myself it wouldn't effect me since my gastritis is gone)
22. Dairy. I gave up dairy for the duration. I found that low-fat yogurt and cottage cheese were digestible for me. Cheese was out, though. Dairy is difficult to digest if you're on PPI's--- and of course the fat content is irritating to the gastritis.
23. Sleeping upright on a pillow and only sleeping on my back or on my left side. This helped with getting gravity helping in the right against reflux.
24. The left rib pain. The nerves around my ribs are super sensitized after being triggered for so long. I get the occasional twinge of pain, which goes away if I ignore it... although it's tempting to believe it's the start of a new attack. I believe this is a ghost pain... a phantom of the nervous system. I experienced the same phenomenon with torn ligaments in my ankle after they healed. Like I say, if I pay it no mind, I'm fine. But this is something to be aware of for when you are better-- the ghost of gastritis will haunt you.. and you've got to know the difference between what's real and what's your body playing a trick on you.
25. I stopped focusing on what I couldn't do or couldn't eat and began focusing on what I could do or could eat. Just changing how I looked at things, in terms of enabling myself instead of disabling myself really went a long way to having the mental endurance to see this through.
Moving forward, I'm taking things slowly. Although I'm no longer in pain and my gastritis is surely gone (welcome back mucosa!), I really don't want to go back to square one. I'm going to keep myself to one half-caf cup of low acid coffee per day. I'm going to continue to not drink alcohol, but plan on slowly bringing it back one sip at a time. I'm going to stay clear of carbonated drinks, tomatoes, onions, hot peppers, ibuprofen, negative thoughts; the things that seemed to be triggers.
Good luck to all with clearing your gastritis. We all come by it differently. This was my experience and what worked for me. I hope you find what works for you.
At my lowest weight, I was 185lbs, down from my normal 230lbs. I'm proud to report that I've finally managed to gain weight back this year and am currently 220lbs and doing very well. I've had some short lived gastritis flare ups since the year long episode that inspired me making this website. No flare ups have lasted longer than a month. I've discovered the key for me is to watch what I eat (still trying to eat mostly alkaline, low acidic food), how much I eat, and what to do if I get the feeling a flareup is starting. I've found that taking fennel seed pill and marshmallow root pill are CRAZY effective for putting a flareup down. Also, drinking water not part of meals-- but plenty of it through the course of a day. Also, I have stayed clear of taking any PPI's or even Tums. I do believe that lifestyle is more effective than drugs; at least in my case.
Believe it or not, I have been able to drink caffeinated teas, the occasional sip of coffee, and can drink red wine every now and again. I don't partake in caffeine or alcohol like I used to, but the fact that I can enjoy it when I want to, in moderation, is phenomenal and something I never would have believed when I was in the pit of my Gastritis.
I will continue to host this website, as so many of you have contacted me and frequent the site for consultation. I really do hope some of mine- and members of the site's experiences help you. Please know that at the depths of the illness, it feels like it will never get better---- but it can and will get better if you find a treatment effective for you. All my best to you on your journey to wellness!