Gastritis is a collection of conditions with one thing in common: swelling and inflammation of the lining of the stomach. The inflammation of gastritis is most often the result of infection with the same bacterium that causes most stomach ulcers. Injury, regular use of certain pain relievers and excessive alcohol consumption also can lead to gastritis.
Gastritis may occur unexpectedly (acute gastritis), or it can occur over a period of time (chronic gastritis). In some cases, gastritis can result in ulcers and an augmented risk of stomach cancer. For most people, however, gastritis recovers rapidly with treatment.
The signs and symptoms of gastritis include:
- Burning pain (indigestion) in the upper abdomen that may become either worse or better with time
- A feeling of bloating in the upper abdomen after ingestion
Factors that increase risk of gastritis include:
- Bacterial Infection: Although infection with Helicobacter pylori is among the most common infections, only some affected people develop gastritis or a similar stomach disorders. Doctors believe susceptibility to the bacterium could be inherited or could be caused by lifestyle choices, such as smoking and stress levels.
- Regular Use of Pain Relievers: Common pain relievers – such as aspirin, ibuprofen can cause both acute gastritis and chronic gastritis. Using pain relievers often may reduce an important substance that helps safeguard the protective lining of the stomach.
- Older Age: Older adults have an increased risk of gastritis because the stomach lining tends to thin with age and because older adults are more probable to have autoimmune disorders than younger people are.
- Excessive Alcohol Use: Alcohol can irritate the stomach lining, which makes the stomach more likely to be harmed by digestive juices. Unwarranted alcohol use is more likely to lead to acute gastritis.
- Stress: Severe stress can cause acute gastritis.
Almost everyone has had indigestion and stomach irritation at some point of time. Most cases of indigestion are innocuous and don’t necessitate medical care. Tests in severe cases may include:
- Tests for H. Pylori: The doctor may recommend tests to determine whether you have the bacterium H. pylori. Which type of test the patient undergoes depends on the situation. H. pylori may be identified in a blood test, in a stool test or by a breathing test.
- Endoscopy: During endoscopy, the doctor passes an endoscope along the mouth and into the esophagus, stomach and small intestine. Using the endoscope, they look for signs of inflammation and also take biopsies to check for H.pylori presence.
- X-ray of the Upper Digestive System. Sometimes called a barium swallow or upper gastrointestinal series, this series of X-rays creates images of the esophagus, stomach and small intestine to look for abnormalities.
Treatment of gastritis depends on the exact cause. Acute gastritis originating from nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or alcohol may be cured by curbing the use of those substances.
In most cases, medications that reduce stomach acid are advised Antacids that neutralize stomach acid are also advised. Lifestyle modification is also advised.