Gastritis is an inflammation of the stomach lining. In some cases, gastritis can lead to ulcers]]> in the lining of the stomach. Gastritis can be:

  • Acute—comes on suddenly and lasts briefly
  • Chronic—either long lasting or recurrent


© 2009 Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.



Causes of gastritis include:

  • Drugs (such as aspirin]]> and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications [NSAIDs], as well as steroid drugs)
  • ]]>Alcohol]]>
  • ]]>Smoking]]>
  • Severe illness, which can occur from:
    • Surgery
    • Burns
    • Liver or kidney disease
    • ]]>Shock]]>
    • Respiratory failure
    • Head injury
    • ]]>Sepsis]]>
  • Viral infection (for example, ]]>herpes]]> or ]]>cytomegalovirus]]> )
  • Bacterial infection, such as Helicobacter pylori
  • Fungal infection
  • Injury to the blood vessels that bring blood to the stomach
  • Excess production of stomach acid
  • Reflux of bile into the stomach, especially after surgery of the bile system
  • ]]>Crohn's disease]]>
  • Atrophy of the lining of the stomach (atrophic gastritis), usually associated with older age
  • ]]>Pernicious anemia]]> (causes autoimmune gastritis)
  • ]]>Syphilis]]>
  • ]]>Sarcoidosis]]>
  • ]]>Radiation treatment]]>
  • Swallowing caustic substances


Risk Factors

Factors that increase your chance of gastritis include:

  • Age 60 and older
  • NSAID use
  • Heavy alcohol use
  • Pernicious anemia
  • Diseases of the lymph system
  • Severe illness, such as can occur with:



Symptoms include:

  • Stomach pain
  • Indigestion]]>
  • Burping
  • Hiccuping
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Bloody or black vomit
  • Dark black, tarry stools



The doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done.

Tests may include:

  • Upper GI Series (Barium Swallow)]]> —a series of x-rays of the upper digestive system taken after drinking a barium solution
  • ]]>Endoscopy]]> —a thin, lighted tube inserted down the throat and into the stomach to examine the inside of the stomach
  • ]]>Biopsy]]> —removal of a sample of stomach tissue to examine in a lab
  • Blood, breath, or stool tests—to check for infection with the bacteria Helicobacter pylori

Upper GI Endoscopy

Nucleus factsheet image
© 2009 Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.



Treatment may include:


These include:

  • Antacids]]>
  • H 2 blockers
  • Proton pump inhibitors
  • Antibiotics to treat Helicobacter pylori infection

If you are diagnosed with gastritis, follow your doctor's instructions .



To help prevent gastritis:

  • Avoid alcohol]]> .
  • If you smoke, ]]>quit]]> .
  • Ask your doctor if any of the medications you are taking might be irritating your stomach. You might need to change your current medicines. You may need to take another medication to coat and protect your stomach lining.
  • If you notice that certain foods are irritating, stop eating them. Spicy food may cause irritation. Some people feel better when they eat a bland diet.