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Gastritis

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    TOP

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:

Risk Factors    TOP

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    TOP

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    TOP

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    TOP

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    TOP

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.

RESOURCES:

The American Gastroenterological Association
http://www.gastro.org
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disorders
http://niddk.nih.gov

CANADIAN RESOURCES:

The Canadian Association of Gastroenterology
http://www.cag-acg.org

References:

Acute gastritis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Updated March 18, 2013. Accessed May 1, 2013.
Chronic gastritis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Updated June 6, 2012. Accessed May 1, 2013.
Gastritis. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases website. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Updated April 23, 2012. Accessed May 1, 2013.
Last reviewed March 2014 by Daus Mahnke, MD
Last Updated: 5/7/2014