Gastritis describes a group of conditions involving inflammation of the stomach lining. Gastritis may occur suddenly (acute), or it can occur slowly over time (gastritis). In some cases, gastritis can lead to ulcers and an increased risk of stomach cancer. For most people, it isn't serious and improves quickly with treatment.
Signs and symptoms of gastritis may include:
Nearly everyone has experienced indigestion and stomach discomfort. Most cases are short-lived and not serious. See your gastroentolorogist in NC if symptoms persist or if you are vomiting blood or have bloody stools.
Gastritis is most often the result of infection with the same bacterium that causes most ulcers. Injury, regular use of certain pain relievers, and drinking too much alcohol may also contribute to gastritis. Gastritis may also develop as the result of an autoimmune disorder, in which the immune system mistakenly attacks healthy body tissue. In a condition known as autoimmune gastritis, the immune system attacks the cells of the stomach lining, which can wear away the stomach’s protective barrier to cause gastritis.
Your Northeast Digestive Health Center gastroenterologist in Concord, NCmay be able to diagnose gastritis following a physical exam. However, additional tests may be required to confirm or rule out other causes. This may include blood, stool, or breath tests. Your doctor may order an endoscopy to examine for signs of inflammation. If a suspicious area is located, a biopsy can be taken during the procedure.
Certain factors can increase the likelihood that you will develop gastritis. These risk factors include:
Left untreated, gastritis can cause complications. The specific complications depend largely on the type of gastritis a person has. Many types of gastritis can lead to stomach bleeding and ulcers, or sores on the lining of the stomach. Some types of gastritis can even increase the risk of stomach cancer, especially in people with thinned stomach linings.
Other complications of gastritis include:
Treatment of gastritis in Concord depends on the underlying cause. Acute gastritis caused by frequent alcohol consumption or use of certain medications may be relieved by discontinuing use.
Chronic gastritis caused by bacterial infection can be treated with antibiotics. In most cases, your doctor will recommend medications that treat stomach acid to reduce symptoms and promote healing in your stomach.
About 8 in every 1,000 people in the United States develop acute gastritis. Chronic gastritis is less common, affecting about 2 out of every 10,000 Americans.
Gastritis is not a contagious condition, but the H. pylori bacteria can spread from the infected stool of one person into the mouth of another; good handwashing and sanitation are the first lines of defense against the spread of H. pylori.