Gastritis is inflammation of the lining of the stomach. Inflammation means the stomach lining is raw and painful.
Gastritis is the response of the stomach lining to infection or injury. Many things can cause it. In its mildest form, gastritis can result from drinking too much alcohol or eating certain foods, such as hot spicy foods. Other common causes of gastritis are:
Caffeine may increase the pain of gastritis.
The symptoms of gastritis are different from person to person and depend on the cause. Common symptoms are:
At its worst, gastritis can cause the lining of the stomach to bleed, which may cause you to throw up either bloody or dark brown fluid. (The dark fluid, which is partially digested blood, looks like it has coffee grounds in it.) If the blood moves through your stomach and into your intestines, you may have bowel movements that are bloody or black and tarry looking. If you have these symptoms, call your healthcare provider right away.
Gastritis is diagnosed from a careful history and physical exam. Tests that may be done include:
If you are having severe symptoms, you may have a procedure called gastric lavage to look for bleeding. For this test, a tube is put into your stomach to suction fluid from it for testing.
The treatment of gastritis depends on the cause and how severe it is. Mild gastritis generally gets better on its own. Possible treatments for the symptoms of gastritis are:
If infection with H. pylori is causing the gastritis, your healthcare provider will prescribe antibiotics.
Once your symptoms are relieved, your provider may keep looking for the underlying cause, depending on the severity of your symptoms. Treatment of the cause should help keep the gastritis from coming back.
How long the effects last depends on what is causing the gastritis. For example, it may last just a few hours if it is caused by something you ate or drank. It may take several weeks to control symptoms that have been present for awhile.
Everyone's stomach is different. Some ways that might help prevent gastritis are: