When your stomach lining becomes swollen or inflamed, it can cause gastritis. This is a condition that can be acute where it lasts a short period of time, or chronic where it sticks around for months or even years. A variety of causes lead to gastritis, though it is a treatable condition that in most cases doesn’t cause severe complications or permanent damage. The following is everything you need to know about gastritis.
Causes and Risk Factors
There are a variety of causes of gastritis, some more common than others. The most common causes of this medical condition are drinking too much alcohol, having an infection of the stomach with a bacteria known as helicobacter pylori, or taking certain medications like naproxen, ibuprofen or aspirin over a long period of time. Other causes of gastritis include autoimmune disorders, using cocaine, high levels of stress, bile reflux, eating or drinking corrosive substances or poisons, or having a viral infection. If you have had a major surgery, trauma, kidney failure, or put on a breathing machine, you are at a higher risk of developing gastritis.
Symptoms of Gastritis
It should be known that some people with gastritis will never experience any symptoms or they will be mild and not become obvious. Common symptoms of gastritis include a loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, black stools or blood in the vomit. If you experience blood in your vomit or stools or have severe abdominal pain, you should get medical attention immediately.
If you are showing any signs or symptoms of gastritis, it might warrant a doctor visit. Your doctor will perform a physical examination and ask you about the symptoms you’re experiencing. Some of the tests that might be performed include a complete blood count to check for anemia, an examination of your abdomen with an endoscope, an H. plyori test, or a stool test to look for blood in the stools which signals bleeding in the stomach.
The treatment used for gastritis depends on what the underlying cause of the condition is. This includes not taking the over-the-counter medications which led to the condition or taking antacids. Your doctor might also prescribe medications to treat other side effects like low blood sugar with an iron supplement. The prognosis for most people with gastritis looks good, though this also depends on the main cause of the condition. Complications include a higher risk for gastric cancer, and blood loss.