Gastritis: Symptoms, Causes, Complication, Treatments And Prevention
Gastritis describes a group of conditions with one thing in common: inflammation of the lining of the stomach. The inflammation of gastritis is often the result of infection with the same bacterium that causes most stomach ulcers. However, other factors — such as injury, regular use of certain pain relievers or drinking too much alcohol — also can contribute to gastritis.
Gastritis may occur suddenly (acute gastritis) or it can occur slowly over time (chronic gastritis). In some cases, gastritis can lead to ulcers and an increased risk of stomach cancer.
The signs and symptoms of gastritis include:
A gnawing or burning ache or pain (indigestion) in your upper abdomen that may become either worse or better with eating
A feeling of fullness in your upper abdomen after eating
Gastritis usually develops when your stomach’s protective layer becomes weakened or damaged. A mucus-lined barrier protects the wall of your stomach from the acids that help digest your food. Weaknesses in the barrier allow your digestive juices to damage and inflame your stomach lining. A number of diseases and conditions can make your stomach’s protective layer vulnerable to damage and increase your risk of gastritis.
Gastritis can occur suddenly or develop over weeks and months:
Acute gastritis is stomach inflammation that develops quickly and lasts for a short period of time.
Chronic gastritis develops gradually and may last for an extended period of time.
Left untreated, gastritis may lead to stomach ulcers and stomach bleeding. Some forms of chronic gastritis may increase your risk of stomach cancer, especially if you have extensive thinning of the stomach lining and changes in the lining’s cells.
Tell your doctor if your signs and symptoms aren’t improving despite treatment for gastritis.
Treatment of gastritis depends on the specific cause. Acute gastritis caused by NSAIDs or alcohol may be relieved by stopping use of those substances. Chronic 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 signs and symptoms you’re experiencing and promote healing in your stomach.
Preventing H. pylori infection
It’s not clear just how H. pylori spreads, but there’s some evidence that it could be transmitted from person to person or through food and water. You can take steps to protect yourself from infections, such as H. pylori, by frequently washing your hands with soap and water and by eating foods that have been cooked completely.