Answers to common questions
- Gastritis is a term used to describe a group of conditions characterized by inflammation of the lining of your stomach
- In some cases, gastritis can lead to ulcers and an increased risk of stomach cancer. For most people, however, gastritis isn’t serious and improves quickly with treatment.
Who Gets In?
Factors that may increase your risk of gastritis include:
- H. pylori Infection - H. pylori is a bacteria that is common worldwide. Most people have no signs or symptoms of H. pylori infection. Infection with H. pylori bacteria is a risk factor and common cause for gastritis.
- Regular Use of Aspirin or Other NSAID - Long-term use of aspirin and other anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can cause stomach irritation and bleeding.
- Older Age - Older adults have an increased risk of gastritis because the stomach lining tends to thin with age. In addition, older adults are more likely to have H. pylori infection or autoimmune disorders than younger people.
Signs And Symptoms May Include:
- A burning ache or pain (indigestion) in your upper abdomen that may become either worse or better when you eat
- Loss of appetite
- Belching or bloating
- A feeling of fullness in your upper abdomen after eating
- Weight loss
How Is It Detected/Diagnosed?
- Blood Tests - Your doctor may order a blood test to check for the presence of H. pylori antibodies. A positive test shows that you’ve come in contact with the bacteria at some time in your life, but it doesn’t necessarily indicate current infection.
- Breath Test - This simple test can help determine whether you are currently infected with H. pylori bacteria.
- Upper Gastrointestinal Endoscopy - This procedure allows your doctor to see abnormalities in your upper gastrointestinal (GI) tract that may not be visible on X-rays. If any tissue in your upper intestinal tract looks suspicious, your doctor can remove a small sample (biopsy) using instruments inserted through the endoscope. The sample is then sent to a lab for examination by a pathologist.
How Is It Treated?
- Treatments and Drugs - Treatment of gastritis depends on the specific cause. Gastritis caused by NSAIDs or alcohol may be relieved by stop-ping use of those substances. Gastritis caused by H. pylori infection is treated by eradicating the bacteria. Most gastritis treatment plans also incorporate medications that treat stomach acid in order to reduce the signs and symptoms you’re experiencing and promote healing in your stomach.
- Medications to Treat Stomach Acid - Stomach acid irritate inflamed tissue in your stomach, causing pain and further inflammation. That’s why, for most types of gastritis, treatment involves taking drugs to reduce or neutralize stomach acid. Examples include:
2) Acid blockers
- Medications to Shut Down Acid ‘Pumps’ - Medications called proton pump inhibitors reduce acid by blocking the action of tiny pumps within the acid-secreting cells of your stomach.
- Medications to Treat H. pylori - Doctors use several regimens to treat H. pylori infection including antibiotics.
To ensure that H. pylori have been eliminated, your doctor may test you again after treatment.
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This publication is intended for patient education and information only. It does not constitute advice, nor should it be taken to suggest or replace professional medical care from your physician. Your treatment options may vary, depending upon your medical history and current condition.