Reference Index - Disease & Conditions

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Digestive system
Digestive system


Stomach and stomach lining
Stomach and stomach lining


Gastritis

Definition:

Gastritis is an inflammation (irritation and swelling) of the lining of the stomach.



Causes, incidence, and risk factors:

There are many causes of gastritis.

The most common are:

  • Alcohol
  • Erosion (loss) of the protective layer of the stomach lining
  • Infection of the stomach with Helicobacter pylori bacteria
  • Medications such as aspirin or other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
  • Smoking

Less common causes are:

  • Autoimmune disorders (such as pernicious anemia)
  • Backflow of bile into the stomach (bile reflux)
  • Eating or drinking caustic or corrosive substances (such as poisons)
  • Excess gastric acid secretion (such as from stress)
  • Viral infection, especially in people with a weak immune system

Gastritis can last a short time (acute gastritis ) or for months to years (chronic gastritis ).



Symptoms:

Signs and tests:

Tests vary depending on the specific cause. An X-ray of the upper digestive tract, EGD , or other tests may be advised.



Treatment:

Treatment depends on the specific cause. Some of the causes will disappear over time. Medications to neutralize stomach acid or decrease its production may be recommended.



Support Groups:



Expectations (prognosis):

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



Complications:

See the specific types of gastritis.



Calling your health care provider:

Call for an appointment with your health care provider if you develop gastritis symptoms.



Prevention:

Avoid long-term use of irritants (such as aspirin, anti-inflammatory drugs, or alcohol).



References:

Kuipers, E. Acid peptic disease. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D. Cecil Textbook of Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 141.




Review Date: 1/28/2009
Reviewed By: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine; George F Longstreth, MD, Department of Gastroenterology, Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program San Diego, California. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.

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