GASTRITIS

Gastritis is a group of conditions that develop the inflammation of the lining of the stomach.  It is more commonly caused by the infection with Helicobacter pylorii in the stomach or taking NSAIDs for pain.  It may also be caused by drinking alcoholic beverages, bile reflux, stress, or trauma.

In some cases, it may lead to ulcers in the stomach, but when treated early it improves quickly with treatment and prevention of the causative factors.

Types of gastritis:

  • Acute gastritis may occur suddenly.
  • Chronic gastritis lasts for a long time.

Symptoms of gastritis vary among individuals, and in many people there are no symptoms. However, the most common symptoms include:

  • Nausea or recurrent upset stomach
  • Abdominal bloating
  • Abdominal pain
  • Vomiting
  • Indigestion
  • Burning or gnawing feeling in the stomach between meals or at night
  • Hiccups
  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting blood or coffee ground-like material
  • Black, tarry stools

DIAGNOSIS

To diagnose gastritis, your doctor will review your personal and family medical history, perform a thorough physical evaluation, and may recommend any of the following tests:

  • Upper endoscopy. An endoscope, a thin tube containing a tiny camera, is inserted through your mouth and down into your stomach to look at the stomach lining. The doctor will check for inflammation and may perform a biopsy, a procedure in which a tiny sample of tissue is removed and then sent to a laboratory for analysis.
  • Blood tests. The doctor may perform various blood tests, such as checking your red blood cell count to determine whether you have anemia, which means that you do not have enough red blood cells. He or she can also screen for H. pylori infection and pernicious anemia with blood tests.
  • Fecal occult blood test (stool test). This test checks for the presence of blood in your stool, a possible sign of gastritis.

 

RECOMMENDED MEDICATIONS

Medications used to treat gastritis include:

  • Antibiotic medications to kill H. pylori. For H. pylori in your digestive tract, your doctor may recommend a combination of antibiotics, such as clarithromycin (Biaxin) and amoxicillin or metronidazole (Flagyl), to kill the bacterium. Be sure to take the full antibiotic prescription, usually for 10 to 14 days.
  • Medications that block acid production and promote healing. Proton pump inhibitors reduce acid by blocking the action of the parts of cells that produce acid. These drugs include the prescription and over-the-counter medications omeprazole (Prilosec), lansoprazole (Prevacid), rabeprazole (Aciphex), esomeprazole (Nexium), dexlansoprazole (Dexilant) and pantoprazole (Protonix). Long-term use of proton pump inhibitors, particularly at high doses, may increase your risk of hip, wrist and spine fractures. Ask your doctor whether a calcium supplement may reduce this risk.
  • Medications to reduce acid production. Acid blockers — also called histamine (H-2) blockers — reduce the amount of acid released into your digestive tract, which relieves gastritis pain and promotes healing. Available by prescription or over-the-counter, acid blockers include ranitidine (Zantac), famotidine (Pepcid), cimetidine (Tagamet) and nizatidine (Axid).
  • Antacids that neutralize stomach acid. Your doctor may include an antacid in your drug regimen. Antacids neutralize existing stomach acid and can provide rapid pain relief. Side effects can include constipation or diarrhea, depending on the main ingredients.

Once the underlying problem disappears, the gastritis usually does, too.

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