Gastritis: Debunking the Myths

One of the top reasons for office visits is more often than not a self-diagnosed condition known as gastritis. The word almost diagnoses itself, right? You’re feeling discomfort, gas, bloating and cramps. Has to be gastritis, doesn’t it? False. In fact, gastritis is one of the most misconceived of all the GI conditions. Contrary to popular belief, gastritis has a number of myths and misconceptions surrounding it daily, and we are here to get the facts straight for you.

First and foremost, gastritis is not fatal.

Statistics show that gastritis can be controlled with simple over-the-counter medications coupled with dietary changes on the patient’s end. More often than not, gastritis is not the cause of death. However, conditions that make gastritis worse, such as excessive alcohol consumption, overindulgence in spicy/oily food and constant stress can be. With so many similar symptoms to IBS/D, gastritis can also be monitored, treated, and kept in check for the long term.

Like we hinted at in our opening paragraph, contrary to popular belief, gastritis is NOT the cause of all abdominal pain. In fact, mostly all GI conditions are shown to show symptoms of upper abdominal pain. Gastritis is just one of many conditions known to cause upper abdominal pain. The most common symptom of gastritis is not upper abdominal pain but rather nausea and vomiting. Indigestion, upset stomach, heartburn, and gas are the other most noted symptoms by our patients.

Most patients get in their head that an endoscopy is the only way we will diagnose gastritis.

Fortunately, that is completely false. There are (4) main ways we can diagnose gastritis. The most common is yes, the upper endoscopy. However, GI physicians are able to conduct a CBC blood test and an H.pylory screening. Both methods check for anemia and infection. Last but not least is a stool test or fecal occult blood test. If a patient has gastritis, small amounts of blood will be found in the stool.

Extreme stress and tension will not cause gastritis

Extreme stress and tension have shown to increase problems in people who are already diagnosed with gastritis. Stress and tension alone can cause symptoms similar to gastritis-loss of appetite, weight loss, abdominal pain, vomiting, but these symptoms are generally temporary.