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Gastritis is an inflammation of the stomach lining. The stomach is part of the digestive system. (Read about "Digestive System") Some people have gastritis after drinking too much alcohol (Read about "Alcoholism") eating too much, eating spicy food or smoking. Others develop gastritis after prolonged use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) (Read about "Medicine Safety") or infection with bacteria such as E. coli, salmonella or helicobacter pylori. (Read about "E. coli" "Salmonella") Sometimes gastritis develops after major surgery, traumatic injury, burns or severe infections. Certain diseases, such as pernicious anemia (Read about "Anemia"), autoimmune disorders and chronic bile reflux, are associated with gastritis as well.
The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) says the most common symptoms of gastritis include:
If you see blood in your vomit or stool, your stomach lining may be bleeding and you should see your doctor. (Read about "Gastrointestinal Bleeding")
NIDDK says gastritis is diagnosed through one or more medical tests, including:
Treatment usually involves taking antacids and other drugs to reduce stomach acid and thereby help relieve symptoms and promote healing. (Stomach acid irritates the inflamed tissue in the stomach.) You will also need to avoid any foods, beverages or medicines that cause symptoms. If you smoke, you should quit. (Read about "Quit Smoking")
If your gastritis is related to an illness or infection (Read about "Microorganisms"), that problem will have to be treated as well. For example, the doctor will prescribe antibiotics (Read about "Antibiotics") to clear up a bacterial infection or vitamin B12 (Read about "Vitamins & Minerals") to treat the pernicious anemia. Once the underlying problem disappears, the gastritis usually does too. Talk to your doctor before stopping any medicine or starting any gastritis treatment on your own.
All Concept Communications material is provided for information only and is neither advice nor a substitute for proper medical care. Consult a qualified healthcare professional who understands your particular history for individual concerns.
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