What Is Gastritis?

Gastritis is a group of diseases that cause inflammation of the lining of the stomach. Acute gastritis occurs suddenly, and will frequently respond to appropriate therapy while chronic gastritis develops slowly. The inflammation of the stomach lining is most frequently caused by a bacterium called H. pylori. Gastritis can vary greatly from mild gastritis to severe gastritis. Symptoms might not always be correlated with the severity of the disease.

What Are the Symptoms of Gastritis?

Symptoms of gastritis vary among individuals, and in many people there are no symptoms. However, the most common symptoms include:

  1. Nausea or recurrent upset stomach
  2. Abdominal bloating
  3. Abdominal pain
  4. Vomiting
  5. Indigestion
  6. Burning or gnawing feeling in the stomach between meals or at night
  7. Hiccups
  8. Loss of appetite
  9. Vomiting blood or coffee ground-like material
  10. Black, tarry stools

Facts about and Definition of Gastritis

  1. Gastritis is an inflammation or irritation of the lining of the stomach.
  2. Gastritis has many causes, including as a result of an infection with the same bacteria that causes most stomach ulcers.
  3. Gastritis can be a brief and sudden illness (acute gastritis), a longer-lasting condition (chronic gastritis), or a special condition, perhaps as part of another medical illness (atrophic gastritis, autoimmune gastritis, eosinophilic gastritis).
  4. An example of acute gastritis is stomach upset that may follow the use of alcohol or certain medications such as aspirin or no steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
  5. An example of chronic gastritis is Helicobacter pylori or H. pylori, a type of bacteria that infects the stomach.
  6. Foods that may cause gastritis can differ from person to person, but in general, foods that can cause gastritis include
  7. beverages that contain alcohol or caffeine,
    • spicy foods,
    • foods that contain chocolate, or
    • foods high in fat.
  8. Symptoms of gastritis are
    • indigestion (burning pain in upper abdomen or "pit" of the stomach),
    • nausea or vomiting,
    • pain in the upper abdomen.
  9. Home remedies for gastritis include changing the diet and avoiding alcohol. If the person is taking pain relievers that can cause gastritis, these should be changed or avoided.
  10. Medical treatment for gastritis includes medications to decrease the acid in the stomach and antibiotics against the organism causing gastritis.
  11. Gastritis can be prevented by avoiding certain drugs, foods mentioned above, and modifying the diet.













Although your doctor is likely to suspect gastritis after talking to you about your medical history and performing an exam, you may also have one or more of the following tests to pinpoint the exact cause


Tests for H. pylori. 

Your doctor may recommend tests to determine whether you have the bacterium H. pylori. Which type of test you undergo depends on your situation. H. pylori may be detected in a blood test, in a stool test or by a breath test.

For the breath test, you drink a small glass of clear, tasteless liquid that contains radioactive carbon. H. pylori bacteria break down the test liquid in your stomach. Later, you blow into a bag, which is then sealed. If you're infected with H. pylori, your breath sample will contain the radioactive carbon.


Using a scope to examine your upper digestive system (endoscopy).

During endoscopy, your doctor passes a flexible tube equipped with a lens (endoscope) down your throat and into your esophagus, stomach and small intestine. Using the endoscope, your doctor looks for signs of inflammation.

If a suspicious area is found, your doctor may remove small tissue samples (biopsy) for laboratory examination. A biopsy can also identify the presence of H. pylori in your stomach lining.


X-ray of your upper digestive system

Sometimes called a barium swallow or upper gastrointestinal series, this series of X-rays creates images of your esophagus, stomach and small intestine to look for abnormalities. To make the ulcer more visible, you may swallow a white, metallic liquid (containing barium) that coats your digestive tract.