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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 drinking

 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.
In 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.

Signs and Symptoms of Gastritis

The most common symptom is abdominal upset or pain. Other symptoms may also include
 belching

 abdominal bloating

 nausea

 vomiting

 feeling of fullness

 burning sensation in the upper abdomen
When 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.


Gastritis is diagnosed through one or more medical tests:
 Upper gastrointestinal endoscopy.

Your 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 your stomach lining. He or she will check for inflammation and may remove a tiny sample of stomach tissue for tests. This procedure to remove a tissue sample is called a biopsy.

 Blood test.

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 in your blood. Bleeding from the stomach can cause anemia.

 Stool test.

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

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.

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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

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