Gastritis: Symptoms and Causes

Gastritis in medical term is inflammation of lining of stomach. However, gastritis generally denotes a group of medical disorders with a common thing, which is inflammation of gastric/stomach lining. The inflammation is mostly due to infection of stomach, although inflammation of stomach lining may also be due to use (overuse) of pain relievers (NSAIDs medications), injury or excessive alcohol drinking, which irritates the stomach lining and cause inflammation and gastritis. Gastritis may be acute (acute gastritis that occur suddenly) or chronic gastritis that develop. Gastritis may sometimes lead to gastric ulcer and gastric cancer, hence should not be ignored.

What are the symptoms of gastritis?

Gastritis symptoms include:

  • Burning pain in stomach area or upper abdominal area. The pain may become worse or better after eating
  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Bloating of abdomen or feeling of fullness of stomach
  • Gastritis may also be without any symptom or asymptomatic.

Now the question is when to consult a doctor for your gastritis problem, because sometimes it may be without any symptoms or may have only mild symptoms. Most of us suffer from indigestion and stomach irritation. However, mostly they are for short time and do not cause much trouble. Hence, we usually do not seek medical attention and usually do not need any medical attention. One must consult a doctor if signs and symptoms persist for a week or more or if they become worse over time. You also must consult a doctor if you experience pain or other symptoms of gastritis after taking over the counter pain medication such as aspirin or ibuprofen or other prescription pain relievers. You also need to see a doctor immediately if you vomit blood or if your stool become black in color, as they may indicate bleeding in gastrointestinal tract.

What are the causes of gastritis?

Gastritis occurs when there is inflammation of gastric or stomach lining. A rich blood supply, mucus lining, presence of bicarbonates etc. acts as protective barrier for stomach lining. This protective barrier can be broken down by acid (stomach acid), infection, injury etc. and all these may lead to gastritis. Drugs such as NSAIDs can destroy the protective barrier and cause gastritis and the same is true for infection.

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