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Gastritis is an inflammation of the stomach lining. This common and uncomfortable condition, also known as dyspepsia, can have many causes. It may be mild and passing or chronic and severe.
The following factors can cause gastritis:
- drinking too much alcohol;
- eating spicy foods;
- prolonged use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs);
- infection with bacteria such as E. coli, Salmonella, or Helicobacter pylori;
- major surgery;
- traumatic injury or burns;
- severe infection;
- and certain diseases, such as megaloblastic (pernicious) anemia, autoimmune disorders, and chronic bile reflux.
Signs and symptoms
The most common symptoms of gastritis are:
- stomach upset or pain;
- abdominal bleeding;
- feeling of fullness or burning in the stomach;
- and blood in vomit or stool (a sign that the stomach lining may be bleeding).
In addition to taking a medical history and performing a physical examination, physicians may request the following diagnostic procedures in order to diagnose gastritis:
- upper endoscopy;
- blood tests;
- or stool culture.
Generally, care for gastritis aims to reduce stomach acid (which irritates inflamed tissues), relieve symptoms, and promote healing of the stomach lining. Treatments include:
- avoidance of problem medications;
- dietary and lifestyle alterations;
- antacids and other medications to calm the acidity of the stomach;
- and treatment of related or causative conditions.