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What is gastritis?

Gastritis commonly refers to inflammation of the lining of the stomach, but the term is often used to cover a variety of symptoms resulting from stomach lining inflammation and symptoms of burning or discomfort. True gastritis comes in

several forms and is diagnosed using a combination of tests.

Gastritis occurs when the normal protective mechanisms in the stomach are overwhelmed and damage occurs to the stomach lining. The lining of the stomach becomes irritated and inflamed. Gastritis may occur suddenly, which is called acute gastritis, or develop gradually over a long period of time, which is called chronic gastritis. Gastritis can be either acute (with severe attacks lasting a day or two) or chronic (with long term appetite loss or nausea). In many cases, gastritis has no symptoms (asymptomatic). Some forms, including chronic atrophic gastritis, have been associated with an increased risk of stomach cancer. Treatment options include avoiding exposure to known irritants, and medication to reduce the amount of gastric juices.

The stomach is an organ of the digestive system, located in the abdomen just below the ribs. Swallowed food is mixed with gastric juices containing enzymes and hydrochloric acid. The lining of the stomach, called the epithelium, is layered with multiple folds. The epithelium is coated with mucus (gastric mucosa) secreted by special glands. Inflammation occurs in this lining.

More information on gastritis

What is gastritis? - Gastritis is the irritation of lining of stomach which may be evident as stomach pains, vomiting, or diarrhea, etc. Gastritis can be either acute or chronic.
What causes gastritis? - Gastritis can be caused by infection, irritation, autoimmune disorders, or backflow of bile into the stomach. The main cause of true gastritis is H. pylori infection.
What are the symptoms of gastritis? - The most common symptoms of gastritis are stomach upset or pain. Nausea and intermittent vomiting can result from erosive gastritis, radiation gastritis.
How is gastritis diagnosed? - Clinical history of the patient may be particularly important in the diagnosis of this type of gastritis. H. pylori gastritis is easily diagnosed through the use of the urea breath test.
What're the complications of gastritis? - Left untreated, gastritis may lead to stomach ulcers and stomach bleeding. Postgastrectomy gastritis and atrophic gastritis may cause symptoms of anemia.
What're the treatments for gastritis? - Dual therapy for gastritis involves the use of an antibiotic and a proton pump inhibitor. Specific treatment will depend on the cause and type of gastritis. 
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All information is intended for reference only. Please consult your physician for accurate medical advices and treatment. Copyright 2005,, all rights reserved. Last update: July 18, 2005