Gastritis is a general term that describes several conditions that cause the stomach lining to become inflamed and irritated. Most gastritis is associated with bacteria called Helicobacter pylori. Gastritis can be divided into two main “types”: acute gastritis, which occurs suddenly, and chronic gastritis, which develops more slowly over time. Without treatment, gastritis can increase your risk for stomach ulcers, stomach bleeding, and cancer. Scheduling an office visit early is important for preventing these complications and finding long-lasting relief for your discomfort.
Most people with gastritis have symptoms like:
Anyone can develop gastritis, but it tends to be more common in people who:
Gastritis also occurs more often in older people, and some people may be more susceptible to the bacteria associated with gastritis.
Diagnosis of gastritis begins with a physical exam and a review of your symptoms and your medical history. In some cases, your exam will provide enough information for Dr. McKenzie to diagnose gastritis, but in other cases, you might also need a blood test or stool sample test to look for the presence of H. pylori bacteria, the most common cause of gastritis. Sometimes, additional testing is needed to confirm a diagnosis. In those cases, Dr. McKenzie may recommend a special X-ray to evaluate your stomach lining or an endoscopy procedure to see inside your upper digestive tract and to obtain tiny tissue samples for further evaluation. An endoscopy is an outpatient procedure performed while you’re sedated. The scope is inserted through your mouth; no incisions are necessary.
Gastritis treatment will depend on what’s causing your symptoms. When gastritis is caused by over-the-counter pain medication or stress, for instance, changing to a different medication or learning to manage stress may be all that’s needed to relieve symptoms. When gastritis is caused by a bacterial infection, Dr. McKenzie can prescribe antibiotics to get rid of the infection and prevent more serious complications. Other medications can be used to reduce or block acid production in the stomach or to neutralize stomach acids to reduce irritation and help your stomach heal.
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