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Understanding Gastritis

Gastritis is a painful inflammation of the stomach lining. It has a number of causes. Gastritis and its symptoms can be eased with treatment. Work with your healthcare provider to find ways to treat your symptoms.

Outline of woman showing mouth, esophagus, and stomach.

The stomach

To digest the food you eat, your stomach makes strong acids and enzymes. A healthy stomach has built-in defenses that protect its lining from damage by these acids and enzymes.

When you have gastritis

Acids may damage the stomach lining when the built-in defenses of the stomach don’t work as they should. The stomach lining can then become inflamed. When this happens, it is called gastritis.

Causes of gastritis

Gastritis has many causes. They may include:

  • Aspirin and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)

  • Tobacco use

  • Alcohol use

  • Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) bacteria

  • Trauma from injuries, burns, or major surgery

  • Cocaine use

  • Exposure to radiation

  • Critical illness or autoimmune disorders

Common symptoms

With gastritis, you may notice one or more of these:

  • A burning feeling in your upper belly

  • Pain that happens after eating certain foods

  • Gas or a bloated feeling in your stomach

  • Frequent belching

  • Nausea with or without vomiting

  • Loss of appetite

  • Feeling full quickly

  • Blood in vomit

  • Stools that look black and tarry

  • Paleness

  • Tiredness (fatigue)

Online Medical Reviewer: Jen Lehrer MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Kenny Turley PA-C
Online Medical Reviewer: L Renee Watson MSN RN
Date Last Reviewed: 4/1/2019
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