Gastritis is inflammation and irritation of the stomach lining. You can have it for a short time (acute) or be long lasting (chronic). Infection with bacteria called H pylori most often causes gastritis. More than a third of people in the US have these bacteria in their bodies. In many cases, H pylori causes no problems or symptoms. In some people, though, the infection irritates the stomach lining and causes gastritis. H. pylori may be diagnosed through blood, stool, or breath tests, we well as through biopsy during an endoscopy. Other causes of stomach irritation include drinking alcohol, smoking or chewing tobacco, or taking pain-relieving medicines called NSAIDs (such as aspirin or ibuprofen). Certain drugs (such as cocaine) and immune conditions can also cause gastritis.
Symptoms of gastritis can include:
Belly pain or bloating
Feeling full quickly
Loss of appetite
Nausea or vomiting
Vomiting blood or having black stools
Feeling more tired than usual
An inflamed and irritated stomach lining is more likely to develop a sore called an ulcer. To help prevent this, gastritis should be treated.
If needed, our healthcare provider may prescribe medicines. If you have H pylori infection, treating it will likely relieve your symptoms. Other changes can help reduce stomach irritation and help it heal.
If you have been prescribed medicines for H pylori infection, take them as directed. Take all of the medicine until it is finished or your healthcare provider tells you to stop, even if you feel better.
Your healthcare provider may advise you not to take NSAIDs. If you take daily aspirin for your heart or other medical reasons, do not stop without talking to your healthcare provider first.
Don't drink alcohol.
Stop smoking. Smoking can irritate the stomach and delay healing. As much as possible, stay away from second hand smoke.
Follow up with your healthcare provider, or as advised by our staff. You may need testing to check for inflammation or an ulcer.
Call your healthcare provider for any of the following:
Stomach pain that gets worse or moves to the lower right belly (appendix area)
Chest pain that appears or gets worse, or spreads to the back, neck, shoulder, or arm
Frequent vomiting (can’t keep down liquids)
Blood in the stool or vomit (red or black in color)
Feeling weak or dizzy
Shortness of breath
Unexplained weight loss
Fever of 100.4ºF (38ºC) or higher, or as directed by your healthcare provider
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