11838 Health Library | Health and Wellness | Wellmont Health System
  • Gastritis

    Definition

    Gastritis is an inflammation of the stomach lining. Gastritis can lead to ulcers in the lining of the stomach. Gastritis can be:
    • Acute—comes on suddenly and lasts for a short time
    • Chronic—either long lasting or recurrent

    Causes

    Causes of gastritis include:
    • Drugs (such as aspirin and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs [NSAIDs], as well as steroid drugs)
    • Alcohol
    • Smoking
    • Severe illness, which can occur from:
      • Surgery
      • Burns
      • Liver or kidney disease
      • Shock
      • Respiratory failure
      • Head injury
      • Sepsis
    • Viral infection (for example, herpes or cytomegalovirus)
    • Bacterial infection, such as Helicobacter pylori
    • 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
    • Atrophy of the lining of the stomach (atrophic gastritis), usually associated with older age
    • Pernicious anemia (causes autoimmune gastritis)
    • Syphilis
    • Sarcoidosis
    • Radiation treatment
    • Swallowing caustic substances

    Risk Factors

    Factors that increase your chance of gastritis include:
    • Age 60 years and older
    • NSAID use
    • Heavy alcohol use
    • Pernicious anemia
    • Diseases of the lymph system
    • Severe illness, 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 gastrointestinal (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
    Upper GI Endoscopy
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    Treatment

    Treatment may include:

    Medications

    These include:
    • Antacids
    • H2 blockers
    • Proton pump inhibitors
    • Antibiotics to treat Helicobacter pylori infection
    If you are diagnosed with gastritis, follow your doctor's instructions.

    Prevention

    To help prevent gastritis:
    • Avoid alcohol.
    • If you smoke, quit.
    • Ask your doctor if any of the medications you are taking might be irritating your stomach. You might need to change your current medicines. You may need to take another medication to coat and protect your stomach lining.
    • If you notice that certain foods are irritating, stop eating them. Spicy foods may cause irritation. Some people feel better when they eat a bland diet.

    RESOURCES

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

    National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disorders http://www2.niddk.nih.gov

    CANADIAN RESOURCES

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

    Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca

    References

    Conn HF, Rakel RE. Conn's Current Therapy 2001. 53rd ed. Philadelphia, PA: WB Saunders Company; 2001.

    Mulley AG, Goroll AH. Primary Care Medicine. 4th ed. Lippincott, Williams, and Wilkins; 2000.

    Wyngaarden JB. Cecil Textbook of Medicine. 21st ed. Philadelphia, PA: WB Saunders Company; 2000.

    Revision Information

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