Gastritis is the inflammation of the lining of the stomach. This condition can be an acute (with rapid onset, short period, and usually severe intensity) or a chronic condition.

The two most common forms of gastritis:

  • Erosive gastritis
  • Non-erosive gastritis

Gastritis Symptoms

The symptoms of gastritis are:

  • Pain or burning sensation in the stomach, especially between meals or at night
  • Upset stomach
  • Blood in stool

In some people, gastritis does not have any symptoms.

How is Gastritis Diagnosed?

Your doctor may perform the following tests to diagnose this condition:

  • Upper endoscopy
    Here, an endoscope or a flexible tube with a camera is carefully threaded into the stomach to see the signs of gastritis.

    In erosive gastritis, there are visible tiny, superficial abrasions, erosions or holes in the stomach lining.

    In non-erosive gastritis, the stomach lining may be red or inflamed but there are no erosions. In some people, the lining may appear completely normal and a biopsy or tissue sample need to be taken, and further tests need to be performed.

  • Blood test
    For non-erosive gastritis, blood test may be done to see the presence of Heliobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection. Vitamin B12 level can also be tested, to confirm or rule out pernicious anemia as one of the cause.

Causes of Gastritis

The causes of gastritis include:

  • H. pylori infection

  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
    These are painkillers that can reduce the protective nature of the stomach lining against the digestive acids and enzymes in the stomach.

  • Drinking alcoholic beverages
    Alcohol stimulates the production of stomach acid and large doses of alcohol can damage and inflame the stomach.

  • Autoimmune disorder
    Here, the body’s immune system mistakenly attack the stomach lining. In this form of gastritis, the body is no longer able to absorb vitamin B12 thus resulting in a condition called pernicious anemia.

  • Immune response to other diseases
    Gastritis may also be caused by improper immune responses to other diseases such as Crohn’s disease and syphilis.

Treatment for Gastritis

Gastritis is treated with:

  • Antibiotics
    If H. pylori is present, antibiotics are prescribed to eliminate this bacteria.

  • Medications to reduce stomach acid
    These include:

    • Histamine or H2 blockers, which prevents the histamine receptors from stimulating the production of stomach acids

    • Proton pump inhibitors, which stop stomach acid production.

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