Gastritis

Gastritis is an inflammation of the stomach lining. Gastritis can lead to ulcers in the lining of the stomach. Acute Gastritis comes on suddenly and lasts briefly.
Chronic Gastritis is longer lasting or recurrent.

Causes

Causes include:
  • Drugs (such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications [NSAIDs], steroid drugs)
  • Alcohol
  • Smoking
  • Severe stress, which can occur from:
    • Burns
    • Liver or kidney disease
    • Shock
    • Respiratory failure
    • Head injury
    • Sepsis
  • Viral infection (for example, from Helicobacter pylori, herpes, or cytomegalovirus)
  • Fungal infection
  • Injury to the blood vessels that bring blood to the stomach
  • Excess production of stomach acid
  • Reflux of bile into the stomach, especially after surgery of the bile system
  • Crohns disease
  • Pernicious anemia
  • Syphilis
  • Sarcoidosis
  • Radiation treatment
  • Swallowing caustic substances

Risk Factors

A risk factor is something that increases your chance of getting a disease or condition.
  • NSAID use
  • Heavy alcohol use
  • Pernicious anemia
  • Diseases of the lymph system
  • Severe stress, such as can occur with:
    • Surgery
    • Head injury
    • Respiratory failure
    • Kidney failure
    • Liver failure

Symptoms

Symptoms include:
  • Stomach pain
  • Indigestion
  • Burping
  • Hiccuping
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Bloody or black vomit
  • Dark black, tarry stools

Diagnosis

The doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history, and perform a physical exam.
Tests may include:
Upper GI Series (Barium Swallow) 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 removal of a sample of stomach tissue to examine in a lab.
Blood, Breath, or Stool Tests - to check for infection with the bacteria Helicobacter pylori.

Treatment

Treatment may include:
Medications
These include:
  • Antacids
  • H2 blockers
  • Proton pump inhibitors
  • Antibiotics to treat Helicobacter pylori infection
Surgery
  • May be necessary if bile reflux is causing the gastritis.

Prevention

To help prevent Gastritis:
  • Avoid alcohol.
  • Do not smoke.
  • Ask your doctor if any of the medications you are taking might be irritating your stomach. You might need to change medications. Or, you might need to take another medication to coat and protect your stomach lining.
  • If you notice that certain foods (spicy foods, for example) are irritating, stop eating them. Some people feel better when they eat a bland diet.