About gastritis

What is gastritis?

Gastritis is inflammation of the lining of the stomach. Unfortunately, the term "gastritis" has been misused to include many different upper abdominal problems, but true gastritis refers to the stomach lining (gastric mucosa) that is inflamed. All or part of the gastric mucosa may be involved. Gastritis may be classified as acute or chronic. Acute gastritis may be characterized as erosive (damaged areas where mucosal cells are disrupted or missing) and non-erosive. Chronic gastritis is determined by histopathology (appearance of the gastric mucosa). This article will focus on true gastritis. Gastritis has many causes, but most cases result in similar symptoms. This has led to some confusion and is the reason why many health care professionals now consider the term "gastritis" as a non-specific description of a cluster of symptoms.

 



What are the symptoms for gastritis?

Indigestion symptom was found in the gastritis condition

The signs and symptoms of gastritis include:

  • Gnawing or burning ache or pain (Indigestion) in your upper abdomen that may become either worse or better with eating
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • A feeling of fullness in your upper abdomen after eating

Gastritis doesn't always cause signs and symptoms.

When to see a doctor

Nearly everyone has had a bout of Indigestion and stomach irritation. Most cases of Indigestion are short-lived and don't require medical care. See your doctor if you have signs and symptoms of gastritis for a week or longer. Tell your doctor if your stomach discomfort occurs after taking prescription or over-the-counter drugs, especially aspirin or other pain relievers.

If you are Vomiting blood, have blood in your stools or have stools that appear , see your doctor right away to determine the cause.



What are the causes for gastritis?

Gastritis is an inflammation of the stomach lining. Weaknesses or injury to the mucus-lined barrier that protects your stomach wall allows your digestive juices to damage and inflame your stomach lining. A number of diseases and conditions can increase your risk of gastritis, including Crohn's disease and sarcoidosis, a condition in which collections of inflammatory cells grow in the body.



What are the treatments for gastritis?

Treating the underlying cause of gastritis is the most effective way to reduce or resolve gastritis. For example, if the cause of gastritis is Helicobacter pylori, then treatment with appropriate antibiotics (usually a combination of amoxicillin and clarithromycin [Biaxin, Biaxin XL] plus bismuth subsalicylate [Pepto-Bismol]) should be effective.

If NSAIDs are the cause, then stopping the drug should be effective. However, other treatments are often used in addition to those that treat the specific cause. These treatments may reduce or stop symptoms of gastritis and allow gastric mucosal healing to begin regardless of the underlying cause. These medications include antacids (Maalox , Rolaids, and Alka-Seltzer), histamine (H2) blockers (famotidine [Pepcid AC], ranitidine [Zantac 75]) and PPI's or proton pump inhibitors (omeprazole [Prilosec], pantoprazole [Protonix], esomeprazole [Nexium]). They all function by different mechanisms to reduce acid in the stomach but usually do not treat the underlying cause of gastritis.



What are the risk factors for gastritis?

Factors that increase your risk of gastritis include:

  • Bacterial infection. Although infection with Helicobacter pylori is among the most common worldwide human infections, only some people with the infection develop gastritis or other upper gastrointestinal disorders. Doctors believe vulnerability to the bacterium could be inherited or could be caused by lifestyle choices, such as smoking and diet.
  • Regular use of pain relievers. Common pain relievers — such as aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others) and naproxen (Aleve, Anaprox) — can cause both acute gastritis and chronic gastritis. Using these pain relievers regularly or taking too much of these drugs may reduce a key substance that helps preserve the protective lining of your stomach.
  • Older age. Older adults have an increased risk of gastritis because the stomach lining tends to thin with age and because older adults are more likely to have H. pylori infection or autoimmune disorders than younger people are.
  • Excessive alcohol use. Alcohol can irritate and erode your stomach lining, which makes your stomach more vulnerable to digestive juices. Excessive alcohol use is more likely to cause acute gastritis.
  • Stress. Severe stress due to major surgery, injury, burns or severe infections can cause acute gastritis.
  • Your own body attacking cells in your stomach. Called autoimmune gastritis, this type of gastritis occurs when your body attacks the cells that make up your stomach lining. This reaction can wear away at your stomach's protective barrier.

    Autoimmune gastritis is more common in people with other autoimmune disorders, including Hashimoto's disease and type 1 diabetes. Autoimmune gastritis can also be associated with vitamin B-12 deficiency.

  • Other diseases and conditions. Gastritis may be associated with other medical conditions, including HIV/AIDS, Crohn's disease and parasitic infections.



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