What is Gastritis

Gastritis, an inflammation or irritation of the lining of the stomach, is not considered a single disease. Rather, gastritis is a condition that has numerous causes. Common to all is pain or discomfort in the upper part of the belly (abdomen), sometimes called dyspepsia.

Statistics on Gastritis

An estimated 50% of the world population is infected with H pylori, an infection which leads to the greater majority of Gastritis cases, therefore, chronic gastritis is extremely frequent. H pylori infection is highly prevalent in Asia and in developing countries, and multifocal atrophic gastritis and gastric adenocarcinomas are more prevalent in these areas.

Risk Factors for Gastritis

Gastritis can also be caused by irritation from:

  • Medications (such as aspirin or anti-inflammatory drugs)
  • Alcohol
  • Chronic vomiting
  • Excess gastric acid secretion (such as from stress)
  • Eating or drinking caustic or corrosive substances (such as poisons)
  • Gastritis can occur suddenly (acute gastritis) or gradually (chronic gastritis).

Consider also:

  • Stress gastritis
  • Helicobacter pylori gastritis
  • Chronic gastritis
  • Acute gastritis

Clinical Examination of Gastritis

The health care provider will first interview you about your symptoms, medical history, habits and lifestyle, and the medications you take. This information is enough to make the diagnosis in many people. Be sure to tell him or her about all the medications you take, including nonprescription drugs, herbal and botanical preparations, and supplements such as vitamins. Also report any measures, medication or otherwise, you have taken to relieve the symptoms and how well those measures worked.

How is Gastritis Diagnosed?

Tests vary depending on the specific cause. An upper GI x-ray, EGD, or other tests may be advised.

Prognosis of Gastritis

The outlook depends on the cause, but it is usually good.

How is Gastritis Treated?

Treatment depends on the specific cause. Some of the causes will resolve over time. Medications to decrease stomach acid secretion may be recommended.

Gastritis References

  1. Capella R, C Fiocca, Cornaggia M: Autoimmune gastritis. In: Graham DY, Genta RM, Dixon MF, eds. Gastritis. Philadelphia, Pa: Lippincott Williams; 1999: 79-96.
  2. Correa P: Human gastric carcinogenesis: a multistep and multifactorial process – First American Cancer Society Award Lecture on Cancer Epidemiology and Prevention. Cancer Res 1992 Dec 15; 52(24): 6735-40
  3. Malfertheiner P, Megraud F, O’Morain C: Current concepts in the management of Helicobacter pylori infection – the Maastricht 2-2000 Consensus Report. Aliment Pharmacol Ther 2002 Feb; 16(2): 167-80
  4. Medline

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