What is gastritis?

Gastritis is a term used to describe conditions with inflammation of the stomach lining. Gastritis is caused by acidic digestive juices that damage the stomach lining by leaking through weaknesses in the mucous barrier that lines the stomach.

Factors that contribute to gastritis include:

  • Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection, which also causes stomach ulcers
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • Regular use of certain pain relievers such as aspirin and naproxen
  • Stress due to conditions such as injury, surgery or infection
  • Thinning of the stomach lining due to aging
  • Other conditions including autoimmune gastritis, Crohn’s disease or HIV/AIDS

Gastritis can occur suddenly (acute) or over the course of time (chronic) and may lead to ulcers or stomach cancer.

What are the symptoms of gastritis?

Gastritis doesn’t always cause symptoms, but if it does, symptoms may include:

  • Burning ache or pain (indigestion) in the upper part of the abdomen that can become worse or improve with eating
  • Feeling of fullness in the upper part of the abdomen
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

Diagnosing Gastritis

If your physician suspects gastritis after taking a medical history and symptoms and performing a physical exam, he or she may perform tests to confirm a cause, including:

  • Endoscopy
  • H. pylori test: Presence of the bacteria may be tested for through a blood test, stool test or breath test.
  • X-ray of the digestive system: Also known as an upper gastrointestinal series, patients will be asked to swallow a liquid containing barium to highlight the digestive tract for the x-ray.

What treatment options are available for gastritis?

Gastritis treatment depends on the cause. In the case of acute gastritis, symptoms may be resolved by making changes such as stopping the usage of pain relievers or alcohol intake. Chronic gastritis may be managed with medications including:

  • Acid blockers to reduce acid production within the stomach and provide fast pain relief
  • Antacids for nullifying stomach acid
  • Antibiotics to treat H. pylori infection
  • Proton pump inhibitors for blocking production of acid and promoting healing within the stomach

For more information on gastritis or to schedule an appointment, contact us today.