I am loathe to recommend asking for any medical advice from an online forum. You need to see your own GP as they will know lots of things we will not, such as your medical history, family history and current medication. They will also be medically trained, which I am sure we can all agree is a plus.
As a general overview though, being a GP myself and therefore aware of how much pressure your GP will be under, I would suggest a few pointers:
‘Acute’ is often misused. It refers to duration, not severity. Therefore acute = sudden or of short duration (as in ‘acute angina’), chronic = long term (as in ‘chronic pain’).
Gastritis is a condition caused by inflammation of the lining of your stomach. Anything with the suffix -itis indicates inflammation (eg tonsillitis or appendicitis).
This inflammation, and the reflux that can accompany it, can be caused by many things. The common ones are as follows:
• Diet - spicy food, chocolate, alcohol, caffeine, acidic foods such as citrus, tomato etc (all the nice things).
• Lifestyle - eating late at night.
• Medication - aspirin, NSAIDs such as ibuprofen, SSRIs, antibiotics, anticoagulants and steroids.
• Helicobacter pylori, a type of bacteria that can live in your stomach.
The above list is not exhaustive, and it is likely that it is not going to be a single one of the things listed above on its own that has caused the problem. I commonly see patients who present with gastritis after an increase in stress at work. This stress, it transpires, has caused them to increase their alcohol consumption as a coping mechanism, and therefore also need to take ibuprofen as a consequence of increased hangovers. If it was just the increase in stress or increased alcohol or ibuprofen use, they may not have developed gastritis, but everything together is too much for their gastric lining to cope with.
So what to do? I would usually suggest a four-week course of a medication called OMEPRAZOLE. This is a proton-pump inhibitor which reduces the acidity of your stomach acid. This makes your stomach a less hostile environment, and therefore easier for your stomach lining to repair itself. As part of your treatment, it is also worth taking a look at your diet, lifestyle and medication to see whether any of the things you are doing, eating, or taking may be making your symptoms worse.
If you can’t get to your GP for a few weeks in order to trial omeprazole, you could consider GAVISCON bought over the counter as a short-term solution whilst you wait to see them.
I wouldn’t suggest spending your hard-earned cash on health supplements without knowing the reason for taking them and being confident they are going to help you. Most have a pretty dismal evidence base, and you’re better off saving your money.
You may not need to stop or change all of the potential causative factors to help improve your symptoms. I say this as you may find that if you can reduce, for example, stress and alcohol (if these apply to you), you may be able to have coffee without it causing you symptoms.
As always, the usual caveats apply:
• If your symptoms persist or deteriorate despite treatment go back and see your GP. They will want to know, and will have a plan in place of what to do/investigate next should this happen.
• MOST IMPORTANTLY: Do not take medical advice from someone who isn’t your doctor, and especially not a stranger on the internet. For all you know I could be a snake oil salesman, or majority shareholder in the company who makes Gaviscon.
EDIT: To answer your question regarding decaf coffee. It’s going to be better than non-decaffeinated coffee by virtue of the reduced caffeine.