Gastritis is the inflammation of the inner lining of the stomach. This is not a single disease but rather several disorders that all have inflammation of the stomach lining. Gastritis may be acute or chronic. Acute gastritis occurs suddenly while chronic (long-term) gastritis can occur over a long period of time.
Causes of Gastritis
Gastritis can be caused by
excessive alcohol drinkingIn some cases, gastritis develops after a major surgery, burns, severe infections, or traumatic injury. Other health problems, such as autoimmune disorders, pernicious anemia, and chronic bile reflux, can also cause gastritis to develop.
lon-term use of drugs called nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Examples of NSAIDs include aspirin and ibuprofen.
infection with bacteria such as Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori)—the same bacteria that causes peptic ulcers.
degeneration of the stomach lining due to advanced age.
Signs and Symptoms of Gastritis
The most common symptom is abdominal upset or pain. Other symptoms may also include
belchingWhen you notice blood in your vomit or have black stools, it may be a sign of bleeding in the stomach, which can be serious. Seek immediate medical attention.
feeling of fullness
burning sensation in the upper abdomen
Gastritis is diagnosed through one or more medical tests:
Upper gastrointestinal endoscopy.Treatment of Gastritis
The doctor eases an endoscope, a thin tube containing a tiny camera, through your mouth (or occasionally nose) and down into your stomach to look at the stomach lining. The doctor will check for inflammation and may remove a tiny sample of tissue for tests. This procedure to remove a tissue sample is called a biopsy.
The doctor may check your red blood cell count to see whether you have anemia, which means that you do not have enough red blood cells. Bleeding from the stomach can cause anemia.
This test checks for the presence of blood in your stool, a sign of bleeding. Stool test may also be used to detect the presence of H. pylori in the digestive tract.
Treatment of gastritis depends on the cause. In some cases, once the underlying cause disappears, the gastritis usually does too.
Your doctor may prescribe antacids or medications that reduce or neutralize stomach acid, which help relieve symptoms and promote healing. Stomach acid can irritate the inflamed tissue in the stomach. Your doctor may also recommend that you avoid certain foods, beverages, or medications that cause gastritis.
If your gastritis is caused by an infection, that problem may be treated as well. For example, your doctor might prescribe antibiotics to clear up H. pylori infection. Talk to your doctor before stopping any medicine or starting any gastritis treatment on your own.
View all Digestive Diseases Topics
Source: Information Courtesy of the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse (NDDIC), National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), National Institutes of Health. NIH Publication No. 05–4764, December 2004
Page Last Revised: June 23, 2012
[Top of Page]