How is gastritis diagnosed?

Your healthcare provider will ask about your symptoms and history and perform a physical exam. Your provider may also order one or more of these tests:

  • Breath test: During an H. pylori breath test, you swallow a capsule or liquid containing urea, a harmless radioactive material. You then exhale into a balloon-like bag. H. pylori bacteria change urea into carbon dioxide. If you have the bacteria, the breath test will show an increase in carbon dioxide.
  • Blood test: A blood test checks for antibodies titers that fight H. pylori bacteria.
  • Stool test: This test checks for H. pylori bacteria in your stool (poop).
  • Upper endoscopy: Your doctor uses an endoscope (a long thin tube with an attached camera) to see your stomach. The doctor inserts the scope through your esophagus, which connects your mouth to your stomach. An upper endoscopy procedure allows your provider to examine the stomach lining. You may also have a tissue sample (biopsy) taken from your stomach lining to test for infection.
  • Upper gastrointestinal (GI) exam: During an upper GI exam, you swallow a chalky substance called barium. The liquid coats your stomach lining, providing more detailed X-ray images.

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