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Gastritis commonly refers to inflammation of the lining of the stomach, but the term is often used to cover a variety of symptoms resulting from stomach lining inflammation and symptoms of burning or discomfort. True gastritis comes in several forms and is diagnosed using a combination of tests.

An inflammation of the gastric mucosa, gastritis may be acute or chronic. Acute gastritis produces mucosal reddening, edema, hemorrhage, and erosion. Chronic gastritis is common among elderly people and those with pernicious anemia. It's often present as chronic atrophic gastritis, in which all stomach mucosal layers are inflamed, with reduced numbers of chief and parietal cells.


Acute and chronic gastritis vary in causative factors.

Acute gastritis

Acute gastritis has a number of causes, including:

  • chronic ingestion of irritating foods, spicy foods, or alcohol
  • drugs, such as aspirin and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agents (in large doses), cytotoxic agents, caffeine, corticosteroids, antimetabolites, phenylbutazone, and indomethacin
  • ingestion of poisons, especially DDT, ammonia, mercury, carbon tetrachloride, and corrosive substances
  • endotoxins released from infecting bacteria, such as staphylococci, Escherichia coli, and salmonella.

Acute gastritis also may develop as a complication in acute illnesses, particularly major traumatic injuries, burns, infectious processes, major surgical procedures, and hepatic, renal, or respiratory failure.

Chronic gastritis

Chronic gastritis may be associated with peptic ulcer disease, which causes chronic reflux of pancreatic secretions, bile, and bile acids from the duodenum into the stomach.

Recurring exposure to irritating substances, such as drugs, alcohol, cigarette smoke, and environmental agents, also may lead to chronic gastritis. Chronic gastritis may occur in patients with a history of pernicious anemia, underlying kidney disease, or diabetes mellitus.

Bacterial infection with Helicobacter pylori is a common cause of nonerosive chronic gastritis.

Signs and symptoms

Sometimes there are no symptoms at all. When symptoms are present, some of the most common symptoms are: hiccups, abdominal indigestion, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, vomiting blood or coffee-ground like material, and dark stools.

Signs and tests

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


H. pylori infection with gastritis may be eradicated with a number of tripledrug regimens. Eliminating the cause of gastritis is the first step to treating it.

Histaminez-receptor antagonists, such as cimetidine and ranitidine, may block gastric secretions. Antacids may also be used as buffers.

For critically ill patients, antacids administered every 4 hours when the pH of the stomach is less than 4.0, with or without histamine-receptor antagonists, may reduce the frequency of gastritis attacks. Some patients also require analgesics. Until healing occurs, oxygen needs, blood volume, and fluid and electrolyte balance must be monitored.

When gastritis causes massive bleeding, treatment includes blood replacement, nasogastric lavage, angiography with vasopressin infused in normal saline solution and, sometimes, surgery.

Vagotomy and pyloroplasty have achieved limited success when conservative treatments have failed. Rarely, partial or total gastrectomy may be required.

Simply avoiding aspirin and spicy foods may relieve chronic gastritis. If symptoms develop or persist, antacids may be taken. If pernicious anemia is the cause, vitamin B12 may be administered parenterally.

Gastritis Diet

  • Avoid alcohol, tobacco, spices, meat, sweet, strong tea/coffee.
  • Curds and cottage cheese should be used freely. Too many different foods should not be mixed at the same meal. Meals should be taken at least two hours before going to bed at night.
  • After the acute symptoms subside, the patient should adopt an all-fruit diet for the next three days and take juicy fruits such as apples, pears, grapes, grapefruit, oranges, pineapple, peaches, and melons.
Preventing gastritis
  • Eat regularly and moderately
  • Stop smoking
  • Limit or avoid alcohol and caffeine
  • If possible avoid drugs that are irritating to your stomach
  • Avoid foods that you don't digest easily.

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Disclaimer: website is designed for educational purposes only. It is not intended to treat, diagnose, cure, or prevent any disease. Always take the advice of professional health care for specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment. We will not be liable for any complications, or other medical accidents arising from the use of any information on this web site. Please note that medical information is constantly changing. Therefore some information may be out of date.