Gastritis (cont.)

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What are the symptoms of gastritis?

Surprisingly in many people, gastritis often produces no symptoms and is diagnosed only when samples of the stomach mucosa are examined for other suspected diseases. However, when gastritis symptoms occur, the most common symptoms include abdominal pain (intermittent or constant burning, gripping or gnawing pain), often accompanied by nausea and vomiting and occasionally, diarrhea. Other symptoms such as loss of appetite, bloating, and burping or belching may occur. These latter symptoms come and go over time especially with chronic gastritis. Indigestion (dyspepsia) is another term that encompasses this cluster of symptoms.

How is gastritis diagnosed?

Gastritis is presumptively diagnosed by the patient's symptoms and history of a previous diagnosis and treatment of gastritis, alcohol consumption, and use of NSAIDs. Definitive diagnosis is made by identifying the underlying cause of the gastric mucosal inflammation and/or by tissue (gastric) biopsy. For example, the major infective cause of gastritis is Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori). This bacterium can be detected by breath, blood, stool, immunological and biopsy tests. Although the bacterium can be cultured from the patient, this is seldom attempted. Other pathogens can be identified using culture, stool and immunological tests.

Biopsy of the stomach mucosa, done during endoscopy examinations, is often used in patients to identify the causes of chronic gastritis and may allow visualization of mucosal erosions and other stomach mucosal changes. Abdominal X-rays or barium studies (upper or lower) may demonstrate the presence of thickened mucosa and folds that are signs of inflammation in the stomach.

Your doctor can help determine which tests should be done, including ancillary tests that may help identify other causes of the non-specific symptoms commonly found with gastritis.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 10/4/2013

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Gastritis - Describe Your Experience Question: Please describe your experience with gastritis.
Gastritis - Symptoms and Signs Question: What symptoms and signs did you experience with your 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?