*Gastritis disease facts medically written by:
Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD
- Gastritis is inflammation of the stomach lining (stomach mucosa) that may be acute or chronic and erosive (loss of mucosal tissue) or nonerosive; the term gastritis is mistakenly used to describe discomfort or pain in the upper abdomen
- The most common cause of nonerosive chronic gastritis is infection with Helicobacter pylori.
The most common cause of both acute and chronic erosive gastritis is prolonged use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID's). There are many other causes of various subtypes of gastritis.
- The person with nonerosive gastritis may have no symptoms, but the most common symptoms are upper abdominal discomfort or pain, nausea and vomiting (all together termed dyspepsia); erosive gastritis may additionally have symptoms of bloody vomit, black or tarry stools or bloody stools
- Complications of gastritis are infrequent but may include ulcers, polyps, benign and malignant tumors, and cancer
- Gastritis is diagnosed most commonly by endoscopy; other tests are often used (tests for H. pylori, upper GI X-ray series, blood, and stool tests)
- Treatments for gastritis may include antacids, histamine blockers (H2 blockers), proton pump inhibitors (PPI's), antibiotics, stoppage of NSAID's and alcohol intake.
What is gastritis?
Gastritis is a condition in which the stomach lining - known as the mucosa - is inflamed. The stomach lining contains special cells that produce acid and enzymes, which help break down food for digestion, and mucus, which protects the stomach lining from acid. When the stomach lining is inflamed, it produces less acid, enzymes, and mucus.
Gastritis may be acute or chronic. Sudden, severe inflammation of the stomach lining is called acute gastritis. Inflammation that lasts for a long time is called chronic gastritis. If chronic gastritis is not treated, it may last for years or even a lifetime.
Erosive gastritis is a type of gastritis that often does not cause significant inflammation but can wear away the stomach lining. Erosive gastritis can cause bleeding, erosions, or ulcers. Erosive gastritis may be acute or chronic.
The relationship between gastritis and symptoms is not clear. The term gastritis refers specifically to abnormal inflammation in the stomach lining. People who have gastritis may experience pain or discomfort in the upper abdomen, but many people with gastritis do not have any symptoms.
The term gastritis is sometimes mistakenly used to describe any symptoms of pain or discomfort in the upper abdomen. Many diseases and disorders can cause these symptoms. Most people who have upper abdominal symptoms do not have gastritis.
Reviewed on 4/23/2012
Viewers share their comments
Gastritis - Symptoms and Signs
Question: What symptoms and signs did you experience with your gastritis?
Gastritis - Describe Your Experience
Question: Please describe your experience with gastritis.
Gastritis - Causes
Question: If known, what was the cause of your gastritis? Did you go to a doctor?
Gastritis - Diagnosis
Question: What types of exams or tests led to a diagnosis of gastritis? If you had an endoscopy, please describe the procedure.
Gastritis - Treatment
Question: What types of treatment, including medications, did you receive for gastritis?