What causes stomach infection

Gastritis: causes & risk factors

The mucous membrane that lines the inner wall of the stomach is usually robust and protects the stomach wall from being digested by the aggressive hydrochloric acid itself. The mucous layer can be irritated and damaged by various factors. The acid then penetrates to the underlying stomach wall and causes inflammation.

An improper diet with fatty and spicy foods and large amounts of coffee are just as much risk factors for gastritis as excessive alcohol and tobacco consumption. In addition, fast and hectic eating as well as very large meals promote the development of gastritis. Anger and excitement also literally hit the stomach and can clog the stomach lining.

Acute and chronic inflammation of the gastric mucosa each have different causes. In the chronic form, there is also a subdivision into types A, B and C.

Acute gastritis

Acute gastritis can have the following causes:

  • Gastritis, inflammation of the stomach lining - Helicobacter pylori, infection with bacteria, viruses or fungi - e.g. B. Herpes viruses, cytomegaly viruses, the yeast Candida albicans
  • Frequent or high doses of medication, e.g. B. So-called non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (e.g. acetylsalicylic acid = aspirin, diclofenac), cortisone, cytostatics
  • Excessive consumption of alcohol
  • nicotine
  • Heavy consumption of foods that irritate the stomach, e.g. coffee or hot spices
  • Food poisoning, e.g. B. spoiled soft ice cream
  • radiotherapy
  • Ingestion of acids or alkalis
  • Mental stress, e.g. stress
  • Physical stress, e.g. B. Long-term ventilation, circulatory shock, traumatic brain injury, burns
  • Competitive Sports (Runner's Stomach)

Chronic gastritis type A (autoimmune gastritis)

Type A gastritis is the rarest form of chronic gastritis, accounting for 5% of cases. This is an autoimmune disease in which the body's own immune system forms defense substances (antibodies) against its own tissue. In the case of gastritis, the antibodies are directed against the parietal cells (parietal cells) of the gastric mucosa and the intrinsic factor. The cause of this overreaction of the immune system is so far unclear. The immune system destroys the cells of the stomach lining and thus reduces the production of stomach acid. The gastric hormone gastrin is then released to a greater extent in order to stimulate the production of gastric acid again. However, gastrin promotes the development of certain tumors of the gastrointestinal tract, so-called carcinoids.

Chronic gastritis type B (Helicobacter pylori gastritis)

About 85% of chronic inflammations are caused by the bacterium Helicobacter pylori (type B). Helicobacter pylori infection is the second most common infectious disease: it affects over 50% of the world's population. Helicobacter is a spiral-shaped bacterium with whip-shaped appendages. Thanks to its spiral shape, the pathogen can lodge in the uppermost cell layer of the gastric mucosa. With the help of a special enzyme, urease, it envelops itself in ammonia and thus neutralizes the gastric acid in its immediate environment. In this way, the bacterium can survive in the stomach for years without treatment, multiply and impair the natural process of regulating gastric acid production. As a result, the lining of the stomach can be damaged. Transmission is mouth-to-mouth or fecal-oral, i.e. H. by ingesting contaminated substances with the mouth.

In rare cases, other bacteria can also trigger type B gastritis. Hence, it is sometimes referred to generically as bacterial gastritis.

Chronic gastritis type C (chemically induced gastritis)

Every tenth chronic gastritis is caused directly by chemical substances (type C). This includes long-term use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and pathological reflux of bile from the duodenum into the stomach. This so-called biliary reflux can also occur after operations on the stomach.

Special forms

In addition to the ABC gastritis there are some other, very rare forms. An example of this is Crohn's gastritis, in which Crohn's disease spreads to the stomach. Another rare form is giant fold gastritis (Mènètrier's disease), in which the cells of the stomach lining multiply excessively and form thick folds, enlarged glands or cysts.