What is Gastritis?
Gastritis is the inflammation of the lining of the stomach which may appear suddenly, known as acute gastritis, or develop over time, known as chronic gastritis. Regardless of an acute or chronic condition, gastritis most often does not pose a serious threat. Random bouts of indigestion are not a cause for alarm, but it is important to contact our GI specialists if your symptoms last for a week or longer.
Gastritis can affect children and teens, but it is most commonly found in adults.
Symptoms Of Gastritis
Most people with gastritis experience symptoms such as pain in the upper or lower abdomen, black stool, loss of appetite and feelings of fullness with more severe symptoms of nausea or vomiting. If you are vomiting blood, it is important to schedule an appointment immediately to determine the cause.
While most cases of gastritis appear suddenly, chronic gastritis can develop gradually and causes a duller pain.
What Causes Gastritis?
Gastritis occurs when the mucous lining on the stomach is weakened and becomes damaged and inflamed which can be caused by a number of factors. The most common causes are:
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Illegal drug use
- Long-term use of pain relievers including over the counter medications such as Aspirin
- Chronic vomiting
Gastritis may also be triggered by Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection, autoimmune disorders, radiation therapy, or a prior surgery.
How is Gastritis Diagnosed?
If you are experiencing pain or discomfort that lasts more than a week, it is important to be tested to see if you are suffering from gastritis. Diagnosis of gastritis can be made with a series of tests that may include the following:
Treatment Of Gastritis
Treatment for gastritis depends on the type and cause of the condition. This may include eliminating the use of pain relievers or alcohol. You may also be directed to avoid certain foods, typically those high in acidity. Certain antibiotics or medication may be prescribed to reduce stomach acid.
If left untreated, gastritis can lead to more painful and hazardous conditions such as stomach ulcers, bleeding, or even cancer.