Acute gastritis is classified into simple, corrosive, infective and suppurative types of gastritis according to the pathogenic factors. Acute corrosive gastritis is of critical condition caused by intake of corrosive agents and needs emergent treatment. Acute infective gastritis and suppurative gastritis are mostly caused by general infection. The following discussion focuses on acute simple gastritis. It is marked by pain and discomfort in the epigastrium, reduced appetite or distension and belching, nausea and vomiting. This disease pertains to “epigastric pain”, “vomiting” and “diarrhea” in Chinese Medicine. Acute simple gastritis is usually caused by exogenous pathogenic factors and improper diet and lead to dysfunction of the spleen and stomach, failure of gastric qi to descend, and upward adverse flow of turbid qi.
Chronic gastritis refers to various chronic inflammation of gastric mucus due to different pathogenic factors. According to the pathogenic changes, chronic gastritis can be divided as superficial, atrophic and hypertrophic types. The clinical manifestations are atypical. The main symptoms are recurrent fullness, oppression and pain in the middle and upper abdomen, poor appetite, dyspepsia, nausea, vomiting and belching. This disease is similar to “epigastric pain” and “stiffness and fullness” in Chinese Medicine. It is usually caused by emotional upsets, improper diet, overstrain and weakness due to prolonged disease, leading to liver depression and qi stagnation, deficiency-cold in the middle-Jiao and deficiency of stomach yin; or by involvement of the collaterals in prolonged disease, resulting in stagnation of blood in the collaterals.
Peptic ulcer refers to chronic ulcer of the stomach and duodenum. It is clinically marked by belching, acid regurgitation, nausea and vomiting. This disease usually occurs among young adult population, especially among men. It pertains to the categories of “epigastric pain”, “acid regurgitation”, “gastric upset”, “hematemesis” and “hematochezia” in Chinese Medicine. It is usually caused by improper diet, emotional changes and overstrain resulting in dysfunction of the liver to smooth flow of qi, and impairment of the spleen and stomach.
Gastroptosis refers to the condition that the lesser curvature notch of the stomach is lower than the lilac crest level in standing position due to looseness of the ligament supporting the stomach and gastroatonia. The clinical manifestations are postprandial abdominal tenesmus and distension, and stomachache which are immediately alleviated when the patient lies flat. This problem is usually seen among women with emaciation, narrow thorax and looseness of abdominal muscles. Gastroptosis corresponds to “drop of stomach” and “sluggishness of stomach” in Chinese Medicine. This disease is usually caused by improper diet, overstrain and improper care after illness that lead to hypofunction of the spleen and stomach as well as sinking of middle qi. Gastroptosis is usually complicated by retention of dampness and phlegm-fluid due to dysfunction of the spleen and stomach in transformation and transportation, so that it presents with mixture of deficiency and excess, or root deficiency and branch excess.
Acute and chronic enteritis refers to acute or chronic inflammation of intestinal wall mucus caused by various factors. The main clinical features are abdominal pain, frequent defecation, loose stool or watery stool. This disease is similar to “diarrhea” in Chinese Medicine.
Acute enteritis is usually caused by bacterial, virus, fungus and chemical toxin in unsanitary foods, or intestinal parasites. The viral enteritis and bacterial food poisoning are the ones most commonly encountered. The clinical symptoms are acute diarrhea, abdominal pain and vomiting, often accompanied by general symptoms such as aversion to cold and fever. The two major causes of acute enteritis are exogenous contraction of seasonal pathogens and improper diet that lead to dysfunction of the spleen in transformation and transportation due to encumbrance by dampness.
Chronic enteritis refers to a symptom-complex of chronic inflammation of intestinal tract due to various factors, pertaining to chronic inflammation of intestinal mucus and disturbance of intestinal absorption due to non-specific bacterial infection. The clinical symptoms are abdominal pain, diarrhea, abdominal distention, borborygmus, loose stool or stool with mucus and pusblood, or alternation of diarrhea and constipation, slow progression of pathological conditions, repeated episodes and difficulty to heal. Chronic enteritis is usually caused by lingering diarrhea due to exogenous contraction, improper diet and overstrains that lead to hypofunction of the spleen and stomach; or by mental upsets, failure of the liver to smooth flow of qi, affection of the spleen by liver disorder. Prolonged diarrhea will lead to involvement of the kidney by spleen disease, and deficiency of kidney yang, consequently resulting in serious dysfunction in transportation and transformation.
Biliary infection includes acute and chronic cholecystitis and cholangitis; biliary calculi include cholelithiasis, choledocholithiasis and hepatolithiasis. Biliary infection and biliary calculi often exist simultaneously and are casual to each other. Chronic cholecystitis usually occurs on the basis of biliary calculi and is often the sequela acute cholecystitis, clinically marked by pain in the upper or right upper abdomen. According to the clinical symptoms, they pertain to the categories of “hypochondriac pain”, “jaundice” and “binding chest with jaundice” in Chinese Medicine. They are usually caused by exogenous pathogenic factors, emotional changes and improper diet that lead to interior accumulation of dampness-heat and failure of the liver and gallbladder to smooth; or by prolonged accumulation of dampness-heat that decocts and condenses the bile into stone. The clinical manifestations are an excess and heat syndrome.
Habitual constipation is a kind of disease marked by unsmooth defecation, retention of dry feces and an interval of over 48 hours between the two defecations with discomfort. This disease correspond to “constipation”, “difficult defecation”, “yang bind”, “yin bind”, and “spleen insufficiency constipation” in Chinese Medicine. It is due to failure of the large intestine to transport because of deficiency of body fluid which may be caused either by constitutional predominance of yang, partiality for taking in pungent and rich foods, and addiction to alcohol and smoking; or by mental upsets; or by endogenous injury due to overstrain, senile weakness, or non-restoration of qi and blood after illness or postpartum; leading to dysfunctions of the lung, spleen, stomach and kidney.