Gastritis

Overview

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 disorder
  • 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 disorder
  • Reflux of bile into the stomach
  • Autoimmune diseases such as Crohn's disease , or sarcoidosis
  • Pernicious anemia—a cause of autoimmune gastritis
  • Radiation therapy
  • Swallowing caustic substances

Risk Factors

Factors that may increase your chance of acute gastritis include:

  • NSAID use
  • Excess 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
  • Excessive alcohol intake

SymptomsandDiagnosis

Symptoms

Gastritis may cause:

  • 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—x-rays with contrast material to highlight abnormalities (also called a barium swallow)
  • Upper GI 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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Treatments

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.

Prevention

To help reduce your chance of gastritis from NSAIDs:

  • Use other drugs when possible for managing pain.
  • Take the lowest possible dose.
  • Do not take drugs longer than needed.
  • Do not drink alcohol while taking the drugs.

To help reduce your chance of 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, talk to your doctor about how to successfully quit. Avoid alcohol.

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.

Edits to original content made by Denver Health.

RESOURCES

American College of Gastroenterology http://patients.gi.org 

American Gastroenterological Association http://www.gastro.org 

CANADIAN RESOURCES

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

Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca 

References

Acute gastritis. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at:  http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T115779/Acute-gastritis . Updated January 8, 2013. Accessed September 28, 2016.

Chronic gastritis. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at:  http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T170655/Chronic-gastritis . Updated August 28, 2014. Accessed September 28, 2016.

Gastritis. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases website. Available at: http://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-topics/digestive-diseases/gastritis/Pages/facts.aspx. Updated April 23, 2012. Accessed May 1, 2013.