Definition

Gastritis is an inflammation of the stomach lining. Gastritis can be defined as:

    
  • Acute—comes on suddenly and lasts for a short time
  • Chronic—either long lasting or recurrent
  • Gastritis can be erosive. Erosive gastritis can wear away the lining of the stomach. It may also cause ulcers and bleeding.

    Causes

    Causes of acute gastritis include:

        
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as aspirin
  • Steroid medications
  • Alcohol use
  • Smoking
  • Severe stress from sepsis , burns, or injury
  • Causes of chronic gastritis include:

        
  • Bacterial infection, such as Helicobacter pylori ( H. pylori )
  • Viral infection
  • Fungal infection
  • NSAID use
  • Alcohol use
  • Reflux of bile into the stomach
  • Autoimmune diseases such as Crohns disease , or sarcoidosis
  • Pernicious anemia , a cause of autoimmune gastritis
  • Radiation treatment
  • Swallowing caustic substances
  • Risk Factors

    Factors that increase your chance of acute gastritis include:

        
  • NSAID use
  • Alcohol use
  • Head injury
  • Surgery
  • Respiratory failure
  • Kidney failure
  • Liver failure
  • Factors that increase your chance of getting chronic gastritis include:

        
  • H. pylori infection
  • NSAID use
  • Alcohol use
  • Symptoms

    Symptoms may include:

        
  • Abdominal burning and pain
  • Indigestion
  • Acid reflux, when stomach acid comes up the esophagus
  • Burping
  • Bloating
  • Loss of appetite
  • Feeling full
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • If the gastritis is causing bleeding, you may notice:

        
  • Bloody or black vomit
  • Bloody or dark black, tarry stools
  • Diagnosis

    The doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done.

    Tests may include:

        
  • Upper GI series —a series of x-rays of the upper digestive system taken after drinking a barium solution
  • Endoscopy —a thin, lighted tube inserted down the throat and into the stomach to examine the inside of the stomach
  • Biopsy
  • Blood, breath, or stool tests—to check for infection with the bacteria H. pylori
  • Upper GI Endoscopy

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    Treatment

    Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Options may include:

    Medications

    Medications for gastritis help relieve symptoms and help heal the stomach lining. Medications are available over-the-counter or by prescription. Your doctor may recommend:

        
  • Antacids
  • H-2 blockers
  • Proton pump inhibitors
  • Antibiotics if an infection is present or possible
  • Treatment may also include stopping or changing NSAIDs or other medications that may be causing the irritation.

    If you are diagnosed with gastritis, follow your doctor's instructions .

    Prevention

    To reduce your chance of getting gastritis from NSAIDs:

        
  • Use other drugs when possible for managing pain.
  • Take the lowest possible dose.
  • Don't take drugs longer than needed.
  • Don't drink alcohol while taking the drugs.
  • To reduce your chance of getting H. pylori infection:

        
  • Wash your hands after using the bathroom and before eating or preparing food.
  • Drink water from a safe source.
  • If you smoke, quit . Avoid alcohol .