• Definition

    Gastritis is an inflammation of the stomach lining. Gastritis can be defined as:
    • Acute—comes on suddenly and lasts for a short time
    • Chronic—either long lasting or recurrent
    Gastritis can be erosive. Erosive gastritis can wear away the lining of the stomach. It may also cause ulcers and bleeding.
  • Causes

    Causes of acute gastritis include:
    • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as aspirin
    • Steroid medications
    • Alcohol use
    • Smoking
    • Severe stress from sepsis , burns, or injury
    Causes of chronic gastritis include:
    • Bacterial infection, such as Helicobacter pylori ( H. pylori )
    • Viral infection
    • Fungal infection
    • NSAID use
    • Alcohol use
    • Reflux of bile into the stomach
    • Autoimmune diseases such as Crohns disease , or sarcoidosis
    • Pernicious anemia , a cause of autoimmune gastritis
    • Radiation treatment
    • Swallowing caustic substances
  • Risk Factors

    Factors that increase your chance of acute gastritis include:
    • NSAID use
    • Alcohol use
    • Head injury
    • Surgery
    • Respiratory failure
    • Kidney failure
    • Liver failure
    Factors that increase your chance of getting chronic gastritis include:
    • H. pylori infection
    • NSAID use
    • Alcohol use
  • Symptoms

    Symptoms may include:
    • Abdominal burning and pain
    • Indigestion
    • Acid reflux, when stomach acid comes up the esophagus
    • Burping
    • Bloating
    • Loss of appetite
    • Feeling full
    • Nausea and vomiting
    If the gastritis is causing bleeding, you may notice:
    • Bloody or black vomit
    • Bloody or dark black, tarry stools
  • Diagnosis

    The doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done.
    Tests may include:
    • Upper GI series —a series of x-rays of the upper digestive system taken after drinking a barium solution
    • Endoscopy —a thin, lighted tube inserted down the throat and into the stomach to examine the inside of the stomach
    • Biopsy
    • Blood, breath, or stool tests—to check for infection with the bacteria H. pylori
    Upper GI Endoscopy
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  • Treatment

    Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Options may include:
    Medications for gastritis help relieve symptoms and help heal the stomach lining. Medications are available over-the-counter or by prescription. Your doctor may recommend:
    • Antacids
    • H-2 blockers
    • Proton pump inhibitors
    • Antibiotics if an infection is present or possible
    Treatment may also include stopping or changing NSAIDs or other medications that may be causing the irritation.
    If you are diagnosed with gastritis, follow your doctor's instructions .
  • Prevention

    To reduce your chance of getting gastritis from NSAIDs:
    • Use other drugs when possible for managing pain.
    • Take the lowest possible dose.
    • Don't take drugs longer than needed.
    • Don't drink alcohol while taking the drugs.
    To reduce your chance of getting H. pylori infection:
    • Wash your hands after using the bathroom and before eating or preparing food.
    • Drink water from a safe source.
    If you smoke, quit . Avoid alcohol .

    The American Gastroenterological Association

    National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disorders


    The Canadian Association of Gastroenterology

    Health Canada


    Acute gastritis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: Updated March 18, 2013. Accessed May 1, 2013.

    Chronic gastritis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: Updated June 6, 2012. Accessed May 1, 2013.

    Gastritis. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases website. Available at: Updated April 23, 2012. Accessed May 1, 2013.

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