Gastritis is an inflammation of the stomach lining as a response to some injury. The mucus barrier that protects the stomachs wall is damaged, and the digestive juices begin to do a lot of harm. This inflammation can be on the whole stomach or just some part of it.

Also, gastritis may occur suddenly and is referred to as acute gastritis, or it could be chronic when it appears slowly and over time. It usually is not a serious disease, and people typically improve after treatment, but without proper care, it can lead to ulcers and a higher risk of stomach cancer.

What causes gastritis?

As mentioned before, gastritis appears when there is an injury that affects the stomachs lining. This damage could be because of various things. The most common infection of the stomach is caused by a bacteria called Helicobacter pylori that causes inflammation, ulcers, cancer, and gastritis as well.

Another cause is autoimmune gastritis that as the name says, is an autoimmune reaction in which the body attacks its own stomach cells, and that generates inflammation. Common pain relievers, like Ibuprofen or Aspirin, are often known for causing gastritis, especially after taking them for a long time. They reduce the substance that helps with the protection of the coating of the stomach.

Lastly, alcohol. Drinking alcohol can cause a lot of irritation and erosion of the gut because of its strong composition. Other lifestyle habits such as smoking, an unbalanced diet, and stress are ways of developing gastritis over time since they affect the bodys vulnerability to defend itself after infections or injuries.

What are the symptoms?

An important thing about the symptoms is that they will depend on how acute or how long gastritis has been present. Mostly, what patients refer to is pain, a burning ache, or a feeling of discomfort in the abdomen, especially in the upper part. Nausea, vomiting, or loss of appetite can also appear, and symptoms usually get worse after eating.

A lot of people have had a day where they suffered from indigestion or stomachache, and in most cases, it is short-lived and doesnt need any medical care. Some people with gastritis may never present any symptom, and that makes it harder to diagnose since people would never worry about it.

There are severe symptoms like vomiting blood or having blood in the stools, that should be seen by a doctor right away. You can make an appointment through VirtualMD, and a specialist will get in touch with you.

How is it diagnosed?

The best way to see if someone has gastritis, and the exact cause of why its happening is through an EGD or upper endoscopy. This is a procedure in which a tube with a light and a camera goes down from your mouth to the stomach to examine it.

This procedure lets the doctor see the extent of gastritis and its severity. But most importantly, it enables him or her to take little tissue samples, called biopsies, that are later studied under the microscope to determine the specific cause of gastritis.

Treatment and management

After receiving the diagnosis for gastritis, its approach, and how to manage it will depend on that. If the cause is determined to be because of the acute or chronic use of pain killers or other drugs, then those medications must be suspended immediately. The same goes for alcohol since they are the causes that produced gastritis.

If the patient is positive for the bacteria Helicobacter pylori, then antibiotics are in order to treat that infection. Other causes of gastritis like autoimmune gastritis or when the reasons are not well known, more studies are recommended for further treatment.

Still, primary treatment with omeprazole and a healthy diet are vital for overcoming this condition.

If you need help recognizing gastritis or think someone in your family may be suffering from it, dont hesitate to call free at 1-800-594-0537, and a doctor will be glad to help you.