Gastritis is an inflammation of the lining of the stomach. This disease has many possible causes.
The main acute causes are excessive alcohol consumption or prolonged use of nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs (also known as NSAIDs) such as aspirin or ibuprofen. Sometimes gastritis develops after major surgery, traumatic injury, burns, or severe infections. Gastritis may also occur in those who have had loss surgery resulting in the banding or reconstruction of the digestive tract. Chronic causes are infection with bacteria, primarily Helicobacter pylori, chronic bile reflux, stress and certain autoimmune disorders can cause gastritis as well. The most common symptom is abdominal upset or pain. Other symptoms are indigestion, abdominal bloating, nausea, and vomiting and pernicious anaemia. Some may have a feeling of fullness or burning in the upper abdomen. A gastroscopy, blood test, complete blood count test, or a stool test may be used to diagnose gastritis. Treatment includes taking antacids or other medicines, such as proton pump inhibitors or antibiotics, and avoiding hot or spicy foods. To those with pernicious anaemia B₁₂ injections are given.
Many people with gastritis experience no symptoms at all. However, upper central abdominal pain is the most common symptom; the pain may be dull, vague, burning, aching, gnawing, sore, or sharp. Pain is usually located in the upper central portion of the abdomen, but it may occur anywhere from the upper left portion of the abdomen around to the back.
Nausea, vomiting (if present, may be clear, green or yellow, blood-streaked, or completely bloody, depending on the severity of the stomach inflammation), belching (if present, usually does not relieve the pain much), bloating, feeling full after only a few bites of food, loss of appetite, unexplained weight loss.
Often, a diagnosis can be made based on the patient’s description of his or her symptoms, but other methods which may be used to verify gastritis include: blood tests: blood cell count, presence of H. pylori, pregnancy, liver, kidney, gallbladder, or pancreas functions; urinalysis, stool sample, to look for blood in the stool, X-rays, EGGs, endoscopy, to check for stomach lining inflammation and mucous erosion, stomach biopsy, to test for gastritis and other conditions.
Over-the-counter antacids in liquid or tablet form are a common treatment for mild gastritis. Antacids neutralize stomach acid and can provide fast pain relief. When antacids don’t provide enough relief, medications such as cimetidine, ranitidine, nizatidine or famotidine that help reduce the amount of acid the stomach produces are often prescribed. An even more effective way to limit stomach acid production is to shut down the acid “pumps” within acid-secreting stomach cells. Proton pump inhibitors reduce acid by blocking the action of these small pumps. This class of medications includes omeprazole, lansoprazole, rabeprazole, and esomeprazole. Proton pump inhibitors also appear to inhibit H. pylori activity. Cytoprotective agents are designed to help protect the tissues that line the stomach and small intestine. They include the meditations sucralfate and misoprostol. If NSAIDs are being taken regularly, one of these medications to protect the stomach may also be taken. Another cytoprotective agent is bismuth subsalicylate. In addition to protecting the lining of stomach and intestines, bismuth preparations appear to inhibit H. pylori activity as well. Several regimens are used to treat H. pylori infection. Most use a combination of two antibiotics and a proton pump inhibitor. Sometimes bismuth is also added to the regimen. The antibiotic aids in destroying the bacteria, and the acid blocker or proton pump inhibitor relieves pain and nausea, heals inflammation, and may increase the effectiveness of antibiotics.