What is acute gastritis?

Acute gastritis is sudden inflammation of the stomach lining resulting in abdominal pain, bleeding, or other gastrointestinal symptoms. In contrast, chronic gastritis occurs slowly over a long period of time and generates different symptoms. In some cases, acute gastritis is characterized as erosive, meaning that it wears away the stomach lining. Both erosive and nonerosive acute gastritis are likely to improve quickly with treatment.

The stomach is a gastrointestinal organ located between the esophagus and the small intestine. It churns chewed food into smaller pieces through muscular contractions and further breaks it down with digestive acids. The stomach is lined with special cells that protect it from its own digestive acids. Acute gastritis can develop when the stomach’s protective lining is damaged or compromised by diseases or substances.

The symptoms of gastritis can be constant or sporadic, and the disease course varies among individuals. Some people with gastritis have no symptoms at all, while others may have burning abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, dark-colored stools, or appetite loss.

Acutegastritis is commonly caused by alcohol use, tobacco use, stress, and the use of aspirin and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Severe illness and consumption of caustic substances have also been associated with the development of acute gastritis. Another common cause of acute gastritis is a stomach infection caused by Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori), a type of bacteria found in up to half of all people in industrialized nations (Source: NIDDK).

Acute gastritis can be prevented in many cases by controlling risk factors. This includes lifestyle changes, such as limiting alcohol consumption and reducing the use of NSAIDs. Treatment of acute gastritis will vary depending on the underlying cause. For example, H. pylori infection can be treated successfully with antibiotics and medications that reduce stomach acid.

Seek prompt medical care if you have symptoms of acute gastritis, such as indigestion, pain in the upper area of your abdomen (epigastric pain), nausea, vomiting, or loss of appetite, or if you are being treated for acute gastritis but mild symptoms recur or are persistent.

Seek immediate medical care (call 911) if you, or someone you are with, have serious symptoms of acute gastritis such as severe abdominal pain; sudden onset of bloody or black, tarry stools; or vomiting bloody or black material.


What are the symptoms of acute gastritis?

Acute gastritis is a sudden inflammation and swelling of the stomach lining that may result in a number of symptoms. However, some people with gastritis may have no symptoms at all. When symptoms occur, they can vary in nature and severity among individuals. Symptoms can include:


What causes acute gastritis?

Your stomach is lined with special cells that secrete mucus to form a protective barrier between stomach acid and your stomach wall. When that protective barrier is damaged or breached in some way, the stomach lining can become inflamed, resulting in gastritis.

There are a wide variety of factors and conditions that can make your stomach lining more easily damaged. These include p... Read more about acute gastritiscauses


How is acute gastritis treated?

Treatment of acute gastritis varies depending on the underlying cause and the nature and severity of the symptoms. Endoscopy of the stomach with small biopsies taken from the stomach lining are necessary to confirm the diagnosis.

Antibiotic treatment for acute gastritis

If your gastritis is caused by H. pylori infection, antibiotic therapy is the mai... Read more about acute gastritistreatments

Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Annual Review Date: Aug 9, 2013 Copyright: © Copyright 2014 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

This Article is Filed Under: Digestive System

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