Gastritis: Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment, & More (2023)

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The stomach has protective membranes that defend it against acid and germs. Sometimes, these membranes can become irritated or damaged, leading to inflammation known as gastritis.

Gastritis: Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment, & More (1)

Gastritis can occur due to bacterial infection or the frequent use of anti-inflammatory painkillers. (1)

There are two types of gastritis. The first type is acute gastritis, which is a short-lived stomach inflammation that manifests as pain and unusual bowel movements that usually go away on their own after a few days.

The second type is chronic gastritis. This one is a bit trickier because it may not show any obvious signs, and you won’t even know it’s there until stomach ulcers show up. (1)


Acute gastritis is very common; around 20 in 100 people experience acute gastritis at some point in their lives. Most women tend to get gastritis between the ages of 45 and 64 years. In men, it tends to pop up more often after the age of 65 years. (1)

Read on to know more about gastritis.

Other Types of Gastritis

Apart from acute and chronic gastritis, there are also a few other types of gastritis.

1. Gastritis caused by physical agents

Gastritis due to physical agents happens when the stomach is damaged by things such as radiation and strong acidic substances.

(Video) Acute Gastritis (Stomach Inflammation) | Causes, Signs & Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment

For instance, radiation exposure can make the stomach very inflamed and can cause serious problems such as blockages and holes in the stomach.

2. Infectious gastritis

Infectious gastritis is rare, but it can happen when organisms such as Mycobacterium avium and herpes simplex invade the stomach after a lack of blood flow, eating harmful substances, being exposed to radiation, or other events.

This can cause a lot of pain in the stomach and is a serious condition with a high risk of death. (2)

3. Autoimmune atrophic gastritis

Autoimmune atrophic gastritis (AAG) is a long-term condition that affects the upper part of the stomach. It happens when the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks the cells in the stomach. AAG is often seen alongside other autoimmune disorders.

The damage to the stomach cells can cause increased levels of a hormone called gastrin and lower levels of stomach acid, which can raise the risk of certain cancers. It’s important to diagnose AAG early and monitor it regularly. (3)

4. Postgastrectomy gastritis

Postgastrectomy gastritis refers to the inflammation and atrophy of the stomach that occurs after a partial or subtotal removal of the stomach through surgery, except in cases of gastrinoma.

This condition can lead to changes in the stomach lining and reduced production of digestive juices, which can cause digestive problems and discomfort.

Causes of Gastritis

Here are some common causes of gastritis.


1. Bacterial invasion

Helicobacter pylori is bacteria that disrupt the balance of stomach acid and can damage the lining of your stomach. However, not everyone who has these bacteria gets gastritis.

Remember, H. pylori is a common germ that can infect the stomach and cause problems such as stomach inflammation, ulcers, and even stomach cancer. Sometimes, it does not manifest any symptoms, but it can also cause stomach discomfort.

Doctors can diagnose it by doing a breath test or taking samples during an endoscopy. (1)(2)

(Video) Gastritis (Stomach Inflammation) Signs & Symptoms, Complications (& Why They Occur)

2. Painkillers (NSAIDs)

Anti-inflammatory painkillers include aspirin and ibuprofen. If you use them for a short time to tackle pain, they do no harm. However, if you take them for longer periods, they can impair the stomach lining’s protective function. (1)

3. Smoking and spicy food

Smoking, stress, and certain foods can be bad for your stomach. Fatty, sugary, and spicy dishes can irritate the stomach lining and cause problems. Also, too much alcohol can give you an acute case of gastritis. (1)

4. Bile juice

Sometimes, bile from the small intestine might flow back into the stomach. This is damaging to the stomach lining and can cause gastritis. (1)(2)


Symptoms of Gastritis

A bad stomach ache is the most common sign of acute gastritis. Other signs include: (1)

  • Feeling full even if you’ve only had a few bites
  • Heartburn or a feeling of burning in your chest
  • Nausea and sometimes vomiting
  • Burping more than usual
  • No desire to eat, known as loss of appetite
  • Stomach bloating

Some people may also experience hematemesis (vomiting blood), melena (black, tarry stools), and nasogastric bleeding within the first week of the issue.

Note: These symptoms can also be signs of other conditions such as acid reflux, an irritable tummy, and gastroenteritis. If you have chronic gastritis, the symptoms might be milder or even invisible. (1)

Treatment for Gastritis

Gastritis: Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment, & More (2)

Gastritis can be treated in the following ways.

Acute gastritis treatment

To calm down the acid in your stomach, you will be prescribed medicines such as basic antacids, H2 antagonists, and proton pump inhibitors.

Some experts also suggest the use of oral antacids and recommend prophylaxis with acid-suppressing drugs to reduce acute stress gastritis, especially for high-risk patients in the ICU.


For nausea, antinausea medicines are given. (4)

(Video) Gastritis: Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, & Treatment

Chronic gastritis treatment

Treatment for chronic gastritis is a bit complicated. If an infection (usually H. pylori) is causing all the trouble, antibiotics are used to eliminate the infection and prevent gastritis from getting worse.

Note: The usual approach involves using a special type of medication called a proton pump inhibitor along with two different antibiotics.

Sometimes, chronic gastritis can disturb the body’s vitamin B12 levels, and you may need injections to make up for the deficiency. If your stomach lining has undergone some serious changes that could lead to cancer, your doctor may recommend an upper endoscopy every year or so. (4)

Testing for and Diagnosing Gastritis

Gastritis: Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment, & More (3)

When your doctor suspects gastritis, they will run a few tests to figure out what’s going on.


1. Medical history and physical examinations

Your doctor will ask you about your medical history, symptoms, and medications. Next, they’ll conduct a noninvasive physical exam that includes looking for noticeable signs. (5)(1)

2. Endoscopy

Sometimes, doctors suggest an upper gastrointestinal (GI) endoscopy, which involves using a flexible tube with a camera called an endoscope to look at the lining of your esophagus, stomach, and duodenum (the first part of your small intestine).

They may even take small tissue samples (biopsies) to examine under a microscope. (5)(1)

3. Blood tests

Blood tests involve taking a small sample of your blood to check for other causes of gastritis or signs of complications. It’s a quick way to gather important information. (5)(1)

4. Stool tests

Stool tests can help detect H. pylori and check for signs of bleeding in your stomach. (5)

5. Breathalyzer

A urea breath test is used to detect the presence of H. pylori in your digestive tract.

You will be given a substance containing urea to swallow. If H. pylori is present, it will convert the urea into carbon dioxide. You will then exhale into a container, and medical professionals will analyze your breath for specific carbon atoms. This test is a great method to identify an H. pylori infection. (5)

Risk Factors of Gastritis

Some factors that can put you at risk for gastritis are: (6)

Gastritis: Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment, & More (4)
  • Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol can irritate your stomach lining and lead to acute gastritis.
  • Cigarettes aren’t just bad for your lungs; they can also contribute to gastritis.
  • Consuming too much coffee or other acidic drinks can irritate your stomach, making it more susceptible to gastritis.
  • Certain medications such as aspirin and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can irritate your stomach lining and trigger gastritis.
  • Cocaine addiction can be very harmful to your stomach lining and lead to gastritis.
  • Excessive stress can trigger your stomach to produce extra acid, which can irritate the lining.
  • Bacterial gastroenteritis, aka food poisoning, can also cause gastritis.
  • Certain autoimmune disorders such as pernicious anemia, Hashimoto’s disease, and type 1 diabetes can harm your stomach and increase the risk of gastritis.
  • Severe infections caused by viruses or parasites can also irritate your stomach and contribute to gastritis.
  • A low-fiber diet and high consumption of processed foods can upset your stomach and make it prone to gastritis.

Complications of Gastritis

The complications of gastritis include: (2)

(Video) Peptic ulcer disease - causes, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, pathology

  • Peptic ulcer: Painful sores form in the stomach lining.
  • Chronic atrophic gastritis: Stomach glands start disappearing, usually because of H. pylori.
  • Gastric dysplasia: Stomach cells undergo some changes, which can increase the risk of developing gastric cancer.
  • Iron-deficiency anemia: Gastritis can cause long-term inflammation and damage, leading to low iron levels in your body.
  • Vitamin B12 deficiency: Your immune system might start attacking the cells that help absorb vitamin B12.
  • Gastric bleeding: In severe cases of gastritis, the inflammation can cause bleeding in the stomach.
  • Achlorhydria: Gastritis can reduce the production of stomach acid, causing some digestive troubles.
  • Gastric perforation: In rare cases, the inflammation can lead to a hole or tear in the stomach lining.
  • Mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue (MALT) lymphoma
  • Neuroendocrine tumors (NET): Tumors can develop in the stomach due to autoimmune gastritis.
  • Nutrient deficiencies: Gastritis can damage your body’s ability to absorb important nutrients such as vitamin C, vitamin D, folic acid, zinc, magnesium, and calcium.

Final Word

Gastritis is a common condition that can cause inflammation and discomfort in the stomach. It can be triggered by factors such as bacterial infection, painkillers, smoking, stress, and certain foods.

It’s important to recognize the symptoms, seek medical attention for diagnosis, and follow the recommended treatments to alleviate the discomfort and prevent further complications.

By understanding the causes, risks, and treatment options for gastritis, you can take steps to protect your stomach health and maintain your overall well-being.

Continue Reading9 Home Remedies for Gastritis and Tips to Prevent It


  1. [Internet]. Cologne, Germany: Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG); 2006-. Gastritis: Overview. 2015 Jun 30 [Updated 2018 Jun 28]. Available from:
  2. Azer SA, Akhondi H. Gastritis. [Updated 2022 Jul 4]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan-. Available from:
  3. Rodriguez-Castro KI, Franceschi M, Miraglia C, et al. Autoimmune diseases in autoimmune atrophic gastritis. Acta Biomed. 2018;89(8-S):100-103. Published 2018 Dec 17. doi:10.23750/abm.v89i8-S.7919.
  4. Gastritis. MUSC Health | Charleston SC.
  5. Diagnosis of gastritis & gastropathy – niddk. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.
  6. Gastritis risk factors. wikidoc.
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Gastritis: Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment, & More? ›

Gastritis is a condition that inflames the stomach lining (the mucosa), causing belly pain, indigestion (dyspepsia), bloating and nausea. It can lead to other problems. Gastritis can come on suddenly (acute) or gradually (chronic). Medications and dietary changes can reduce stomach acid and ease gastritis symptoms.

What is the number one cause of gastritis? ›

The inflammation of gastritis is most often the result of infection with the same bacterium that causes most stomach ulcers or the regular use of certain pain relievers. Drinking too much alcohol also can contribute to gastritis.

What is the main treatment for gastritis? ›

Acid blockers — also called histamine (H-2) blockers — reduce the amount of acid released into your digestive tract, which relieves gastritis pain and encourages healing. Available by prescription or over the counter, acid blockers include famotidine (Pepcid), cimetidine (Tagamet HB) and nizatidine (Axid AR).

What are the warning signs of gastritis? ›

Symptoms of gastritis include:
  • tummy pain.
  • indigestion.
  • feeling full and bloated.
  • feeling sick (nausea)
  • being sick (vomiting)
  • not feeling as hungry as usual.
  • burping and farting.

How do they diagnose gastritis? ›

Doctors may use upper GI endoscopy to diagnose gastritis or gastropathy, determine the cause, and manage complications. Your doctor may order an upper GI endoscopy with biopsies to diagnose gastritis and gastropathy.

How do you stop gastritis from happening? ›

How can I prevent gastritis?
  1. Avoiding fatty, fried, spicy or acidic foods.
  2. Cutting back on caffeine.
  3. Eating smaller meals throughout the day.
  4. Managing stress.
  5. Not taking NSAIDs.
  6. Reducing alcohol consumption.
  7. Not lying down for 2 to 3 hours after a meal.
Sep 8, 2020

What not to eat with gastritis? ›

Foods that may irritate the stomach and make gastritis worse include:
  • acidic foods, such as tomatoes and some fruits.
  • alcohol.
  • carbonated drinks.
  • coffee.
  • fatty foods.
  • fried foods.
  • fruit juices.
  • pickled foods.

What drinks are good for gastritis? ›

While you should avoid caffeine, some people with mild gastritis can tolerate weak tea or coffee with a splash of low-fat milk or non-dairy creamer. Water, herbal tea, non-dairy milk, and low-sugar/low-acid juices are your best options.

How long does it take for gastritis to heal? ›

Generally, acute gastritis lasts anywhere from 2-10 days and can be greatly improved with symptomatic treatment. People usually recover from acute gastritis without complications or need for further medical intervention.

Do you need surgery for gastritis? ›

Surgical intervention is not necessary for gastritis, except in the case of phlegmonous gastritis or acute necrotizing gastritis. With the latter entity, surgical intervention with resection of the affected area may be the most effective form of treatment. Consult a gastroenterologist in complicated cases.

What are red flags for gastritis? ›

Red flags include: Stomach discomfort that occurs after taking over-the-counter or prescription medications. Vomiting of blood. The presence of blood in stools (faeces)

What happens if gastritis is left untreated? ›

Gastritis can sometimes lead to pain, nausea and vomiting. But it often has no symptoms at all. If left untreated, though, some types of gastritis can lead to ulcers (sores in the stomach lining) or even stomach cancer. People used to think gastritis and ulcers were caused by stress and spicy foods.

Does drinking water help gastritis? ›

Drinking large amounts of water controls the acid levels of gastric juices, which helps accelerate the healing of gastritis. You should avoid drinking too much water immediately before and after meals, as it can be counterproductive.

Does gastritis show up on a CT scan? ›

In addition to gastric malignancies, CT can also help detect inflammatory conditions of the stomach, including gastritis and peptic ulcer disease.

Where is gastritis pain located? ›

Typically, people report a sharp, stabbing, or burning pain in the upper-center or upper-left abdomen. The pain often radiates to the back. Other common symptoms include bloating and nausea. When gastritis causes vomiting, the vomit may be clear, yellow, or green.

What can flare up gastritis? ›

Gastritis can be caused by irritation due to excessive alcohol use, chronic vomiting, stress, or the use of certain medications such as aspirin or other anti-inflammatory drugs. It may also be caused by any of the following: Helicobacter pylori (H.

What is the best probiotic for gastritis? ›

The probiotic strain Bifidobacterium lactis HN019 has been shown in human clinical trials to reduce GI symptoms such as: regurgitation, nausea and vomiting12 whilst improving gut microbial composition13.

Do I have GERD or gastritis? ›

While both involve inflammation, the key difference between gastritis vs. GERD is where that inflammation occurs in your GI tract. Gastritis has to do with inflammation in the stomach while GERD pertains to inflammation in your esophagus.

Is Pepto Bismol good for gastritis? ›

Antacids such as Pepto-Bismol, TUMS, or milk of magnesia can be used to neutralize stomach acid. These can be used as long as a person experiences gastritis, with a dose taken as often as every 30 minutes if needed.

Do bananas help gastritis? ›

Bananas for stomach acid are considered safe because they have alkaline (alkaline) properties. In addition, this fruit is also considered to help balance the acid in the stomach so that symptoms of acid reflux or GERD can be prevented.

Are eggs OK for gastritis? ›

Eat a variety of healthy foods from all the food groups. Eat fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat dairy foods. Whole grains include whole-wheat breads, cereals, pasta, and brown rice. Choose lean meats, poultry (chicken and turkey), fish, beans, eggs, and nuts.

What are the best snacks for gastritis? ›

People with gastritis may benefit from eating berries, fermentable fibers, and whole grains. In contrast, sweets, spicy foods, fried foods and processed meats may make symptoms worse. Gastritis refers to the inflammation of the stomach lining.

Is oatmeal good for gastritis? ›

Light porridge such as warm oatmeal or semolina porridge, which can be served with unsweetened compote, is particularly gentle on the stomach. Oatmeal is recommended for gastritis, as experience has shown that this dish is particularly gentle on the gastric mucosa.

Does stress cause gastritis? ›

Stress can cause a stomachache, and an even more serious condition called gastritis. If your bout of indigestion or inflammation lingers for a week or more – or if there is blood in your vomit or feces – you should see a physician to determine if you have gastritis.

Is Yogurt good for gastritis? ›

Foods to help treat gastritis

Two foods that may help treat gastritis are broccoli and yogurt. Broccoli contains a chemical called sulforaphane, which has antibacterial properties.

When should you go to the hospital for gastritis? ›

Seek medical attention if symptoms of stomach irritation or indigestion last for a week or longer. A person should seek emergency medical attention immediately if there is blood in their vomit or stool, or if the stool is notably black and looks similar to ground coffee.

Do people get hospitalized for gastritis? ›

Chronic gastritis takes a long time to recover and sometimes involves sick leave of several weeks. If gastritis has been around for a long time, complications such as bleeding gastric ulcers (ulcer ventriculi) may need to be operated on. This requires hospitalization.

What is the fastest way to resolve a gastritis flare up? ›

There are prevention strategies for gastritis. But to get fast relief, a person will probably need to use over-the-counter medications that block or reduce stomach acid. Examples include calcium carbonate (Tums) or omeprazole (Prilosec). Learn more about antacids.

How do you know if your gastritis is worse? ›

You should see your doctor if you have:
  1. gastritis symptoms that last more than a week.
  2. vomit that contains blood or a black, tarry substance (dried blood)
  3. blood in your stool (poo), or stool that is black.
  4. your pain gets worse.
  5. you have a fever.
Dec 6, 2017

What are the three 3 types of chronic gastritis? ›

Chronic gastritis is organized into three types based on related causes:
  • Type A is caused by your immune system destroying stomach cells. ...
  • Type B, the most common type, is caused by H. ...
  • Type C is caused by chemical irritants like nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), alcohol, or bile.

What can I drink in the morning for gastritis? ›

Drinking warm water can soothe the digestive tract and make digestion easier on your stomach. One study showed a significant difference in people with gastritis that drank tea with honey just once a week. Manuka honey has also been shown to have antibacterial properties that effectively keep H. pylori in check.

What is the longest gastritis can last? ›

Dr Sarmed Sami advises that gastritis can last between a few days to a month or longer. The treatment will depend on the specific cause for each patient. If you're experiencing gastritis, book an appointment to seek expert care. Dr Sarmed Sami advises that gastritis can last between a few days to a month or longer.

Is coffee good for gastritis? ›

The action of coffee on stomach acid secretion has raised the issue of a possible increase in dyspepsia (poor digestion, discomfort, nausea, heartburns, eructation, and flatulence), or esophageal burns, gastritis or ulcers, and gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD).

Does not eating make gastritis worse? ›

Worries, bad temper, and overexcitement can temporarily increase acid secretion from the stomach, and this can add to the sharp pain in the upper abdomen that happens during acute gastritis (gastritis that lasts for a short period of less than a few days). Myth: Going hungry can cause gastritis. Fact: Not directly.

What foods help heal gastritis? ›

Researchers now know that such a diet is not required to treat gastritis or ulcers. Following these nutritional tips may help reduce symptoms: Foods containing flavonoids, like apples, celery, cranberries (including cranberry juice), onions, garlic, and tea may inhibit the growth of H. pylori.

What does a biopsy show for gastritis? ›

pylori-related gastritic lesions, routine gastric biopsies may reveal findings that indicate special forms of gastritis, such as eosinophilic, lymphocytic, reactive, or granulomatous gastritis (e.g., Crohn's gastritis), or Helicobacter heilmannii gastritis.

How does gastritis show up on endoscopy? ›

Acute gastritis refers to a sudden onset of inflammation of the stomach lining, called the gastric mucosa. When a gastroenterologist performs an endoscopy, the lining appears reddened, and specimens show lots of acute inflammatory cells (mainly white blood cells, called leucocytes).

Can an ultrasound check for gastritis? ›

Sonography can be used effectively to evaluate the stomach and duodenum. A mucosal thickness greater than 4 mm in the gastric antrum may suggest the presence of gastritis. Marked transmural gastric wall thickening is typical of gastritis, with documented resolution after appropriate therapy.

What part of the stomach hurts when you have gastritis? ›

Dr. Lee says gastritis pain usually occurs in the mid-upper stomach region, just below the breastbone and above the belly button. People describe gastritis pain in different ways, but these descriptions are common: Nagging discomfort. Dull or burning pain.

How can you tell the difference between gastritis and pancreatitis? ›

The most common sign for gastritis is vomiting and/or loss of appetite. Signs for acute pancreatitis are vomiting, dehydration, a painful abdomen, lethargy, fever and diarrhea. Sometimes you may see blood in the stool.

Can gastritis ever be cured? ›

While gastritis can be mild and heal on its own, sometimes treatment may be needed, depending on the cause and symptoms.

Is drinking water good or bad for gastritis? ›

Drinking large amounts of water controls the acid levels of gastric juices, which helps accelerate the healing of gastritis. You should avoid drinking too much water immediately before and after meals, as it can be counterproductive.

Is banana good for gastritis? ›

Bananas for stomach acid are considered safe because they have alkaline (alkaline) properties. In addition, this fruit is also considered to help balance the acid in the stomach so that symptoms of acid reflux or GERD can be prevented.

Why won't my gastritis go away? ›

Lingering gastritis

If you experience persistent symptoms of gastritis that don't go away despite the absence of NSAIDs, alcohol, stress, and radiation, then you most likely have a serious infection in your stomach or a severely damaged gastric mucosa.


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