The gastric system is also called the gastrointestinal tract. The whole tract consists of the route food takes into your body, through digestion, and out as waste, though when referring to the GI tract it is often simply the stomach and intestines. The gastric system can be considered a more specific portion of the tract consisting of the stomach and gastric juices which aid in digestion.
Problems that may occur in the stomach include ulcerations, digestive disorders, and infectious diseases. Due to the purpose of the stomach, bacteria are often cleansed from the system, ejected with waste through the lower GI. Some viruses are able to infect the stomach epithelial cells and the immune tissue within the stomach assists in clearing the infection. Time is needed to heal such disorders. Infections may result in digestive disorders such as diarrhea and vomiting.
Acid reflux is a gastric disorder, often caused by gastric acid making its way too far up the esophageal connection with the stomach and eroding the epithelium, or lining. As with a sore on our skin, if the injury is not recurring it will heal. Acid reflux disease occurs when the gastric juices consistently wear away the lining. This is also part of the mechanism behind ulcer formation. Peptic or gastric ulcers (different in their size and severity) are caused by stomach acid eroding a portion of the stomach lining, usually because it is either too acidic or because of another injury that gives it access to a portion of the lining it does not normally come into contact with. Ulcerations can heal if the injury is not recurring. A bacteria called Heliobacter pylori has been associated with ulcer formation also. Milk was once thought to be helpful due to alleviating ulcer pain, but may actually cause the bacteria to be more plentiful or irritate the sore.
Taking alkaline supplements such as antacid tablets can help reduce the extent of injury in the gastric system. As the wound heals, white blood cells form barriers and release inflammatory chemicals that patch the lining of the stomach. It is recommended that cessation of smoking, moderate use of antacids, and natural supplements may assist in the healing process. Herbal supplements include Slippery Elm powder mixed with yogurt, cold chamomile tea, or mashed banana as well as a mixture of the powder with various herbs such as chamomile, alfafa, dandelion, olive, wild oat, and willow. It is important to speak to a trained pharmacist or herbalist to confirm such treatments. Avoiding milk, but eating eggs and other high protein foods will also aid in healing.
The main thing to remember about healing the gastric system is to treat the cause. Reducing stomach acidity is often the first step. In order to prevent further injury, maintaining that level is important throughout the course of healing. Speak to your doctor if you have any questions or concerns.