Dr. Charles "Pat" Davis, MD, PhD, is a board certified Emergency Medicine doctor who currently practices as a consultant and staff member for hospitals. He has a PhD in Microbiology (UT at Austin), and the MD (Univ. Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications.
Gastritis is inflammation of the lining of the stomach. Unfortunately,
the term "gastritis" has been misused to include many different upper abdominal
problems, but true gastritis refers to the stomach lining (gastric mucosa) that
is inflamed. All or part of the gastric mucosa may be involved. Gastritis may
be classified as acute or chronic. Acute gastritis maybe characterized as
erosive (damaged areas where mucosal cells are disrupted or missing) and
nonerosive. Chronic gastritis is determined by histopathology (appearance of the
gastric mucosa). This article will focus on true gastritis. Gastritis has many
causes, but most causes result in similar symptoms. This has leads to some
confusion and is the reason why many health care professionals now consider the term
"gastritis" as a non-specific description of a cluster of symptoms.
What causes gastritis?
A major cause of both acute and chronic gastritis is infection of the stomach
mucosa by a bacterial species named Helicobacter pylori. Usually, this bacterium
first infects the stomach antrum (stomach mucosa without acid-producing cells)
acutely and may progress to infect most or all of the stomach's mucosa over time
(chronic gastritis) and remain there for years. This infection generates an
initial strong inflammatory response and eventually, a long-term chronic
inflammation with intestinal cell changes may develop. Another major cause of
acute and chronic gastritis is the use (and overuse) of
anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
However, there are many other causes of gastritis; the following is a list of
common causes of both acute and chronic gastritis; chronic gastritis may occur
with repeated or continual presence of most of these causes: