Gastritis (also called dyspepsia) is an inflammation (swelling and irritation) of the lining of the stomach. It can occur suddenly (acute) or gradually (chronic). Chronic gastritis occurs in two of every 10,000 people; acute gastritis is more common, occurring in eight of every 1,000 people.
Gastritis can be caused by irritation due to excessive alcohol use, chronic vomiting, stress, or the use of certain medications, such as aspirin or anti-inflammatory drugs. It may also be caused by any of the following:
If gastritis is not treated, it can lead to severe blood loss or, in rare cases, can increase the risk of developing stomach cancer.
Symptoms of gastritis vary among individuals; many people have no symptoms. The most common symptoms include:
Your doctor will review your personal and your family medical history and perform a thorough physical evaluation. Your doctor may recommend any of these tests to diagnose gastritis:
Treatment for gastritis usually involves taking antacids and other drugs to reduce stomach acid. These medications will help relieve symptoms and promote healing. Also, avoiding nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can help.
For gastritis caused by Helicobacter pylori, your doctor will prescribe antibiotics. Once the underlying problem disappears, the gastritis usually does, too. You should talk to your doctor before stopping any medicine or starting any gastritis treatment.
Most cases of gastritis improve quickly once treatment has been started.
If you have a gastrointestinal disease that leads to significant malabsorption (poor absorption of vitamins and nutrients by the intestine), your doctor may measure the levels of certain vitamins and minerals in your blood. Atrophic gastritis, for example, is a condition that specifically leads to the malabsorption of vitamin B12. This vitamin can be measured in your blood.
If your routine laboratory tests (including a complete blood count and a chemistry panel) are normal, you do not need a measurement of your blood vitamin or mineral levels.
If you are found to be anemic and your doctor believes it is a result of a nutrient deficiency, he or she may measure the level of iron in your blood. Iron, in fact, is the only mineral for which blood levels are linked to the total amount of iron that is stored in your body.
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This information is provided by the Cleveland Clinic and is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider for advice about a specific medical condition. This document was last reviewed on: 01/11/2016