Gastritis is the irritation and inflammation of the lining of your stomach due to bacterial infection, use of certain medications or injury.The condition can come on suddenly in an acute attack or can be more chronic in nature. Chronic gastritis may damage your stomach even if you have no outward signs of the condition. Symptoms of gastritis can include indigestion, nausea and vomiting, loss of appetite, heartburn and gas. Exercise can help ease gastritis in some cases.
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Gastritis symptoms, especially bloating and acid reflux, are more likely to occur if you are overweight. Moderate exercise may help you lose weight, which not only could relieve your gastritis, but reduce your risk for other chronic medical conditions such as diabetes and heart disease. Exercise for at least 30 minutes several days a week to burn calories and shed excess pounds, under your doctor's supervision. Avoid exercising on a full stomach, which might make you feel uncomfortable or even ill.
Exercise and Digestion
Exercise can also help gastritis symptoms because the physical activity stimulates the digestive system. Aerobic activities like walking or jogging keep your digestive system moving regularly because the intestinal muscles are prompted to work more efficiently. Delayed gastric emptying, a condition in which undigested food moves slowly through the digestive tract, can cause gastritis-like symptoms, including nausea and bloating. Furthermore, the "British Journal of Sports Medicine" reported in 2000 that men who exercise may have a lower risk of developing a duodenal ulcer. Ulcers are open sores that can appear in the digestive tract and are sometimes a side effect of gastritis.
Studies have been done to examine whether there is a link between physical activity and a higher risk of gastritis and complications such as a peptic ulcer. The "World Journal of Gastroenterology" reported in April 2006 that long-distance runners were more likely than their non-running counterparts to develop gastritis symptoms such as acid reflux and gastric bleeding. One theory is that stomach acids increase in response to the rigors of their sport, but acid-reducing medications such as ranitidine and cimetidine may reduce symptoms.
Minor gastritis may be controlled with exercise, but not everyone experiences a reduction in symptoms through physical activity alone. If your indigestion and nausea continue even with exercise, you may need to watch your diet, reduce the amount of citrus, tomato-based and fried foods you eat and take acid-blocking medications. See a doctor if gastritis symptoms persist despite your self-care measures.
- "World Journal of Gastroenterology"; Suck Jun Choi et al; Effects of Ranitidine for Exercise Induced Gastric Mucosal Changes and Bleeding; April 2006
- "British Journal of Sports Medicine"; Does Physical Activity Reduce the Risk of Developing Peptic Ulcers?; Yiling Cheng, Caroline A Macera, Dorothy R Davis and Steven N Blair; 2000