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Diseases reference index «Gastritis»

Gastritis is an inflammation (irritation and swelling) of the lining of the stomach.

Causes

There are many causes of gastritis.

The most common are:

  • Alcohol
  • Erosion (loss) of the protective layer of the stomach lining
  • Infection of the stomach with Helicobacter pylori bacteria
  • Medications such as aspirin or other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
  • Smoking

Less common causes are:

  • Autoimmune disorders (such as pernicious anemia)
  • Backflow of bile into the stomach (bile reflux)
  • Eating or drinking caustic or corrosive substances (such as poisons)
  • Excess gastric acid secretion (such as from stress)
  • Viral infection, especially in people with a weak immune system

Gastritis can last a short time (acute gastritis) or for months to years (chronic gastritis).

Symptoms

  • Abdominal pain
  • Abdominal indigestion
  • Dark stools
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Vomiting blood or coffee-ground like material

Exams and Tests

Tests vary depending on the specific cause. An X-ray of the upper digestive tract, EGD, or other tests may be advised.

Treatment

Treatment depends on the specific cause. Some of the causes will disappear over time. Medications to neutralize stomach acid or decrease its production may be recommended.

Outlook (Prognosis)

The outlook depends on the cause, but is usually good.

Possible Complications

See the specific types of gastritis.

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Call for an appointment with your health care provider if you develop gastritis symptoms.

Prevention

Avoid long-term use of irritants (such as aspirin, anti-inflammatory drugs, or alcohol).

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