Gastritis is a generalized term for inflammation of the stomach, regardless of the cause, and can be categorized as acute or chronic. Acute gastritis is marked with a sudden onset of pain described as severe bursts. Fortunately, it is often only temporary, and is caused by stress, alcohol or NSAID consumption, some prescription medications, surgery, even spicy food.
Chronic gastritis, as the name suggests, can exhibit symptoms more slowly and last much longer. The pain of chronic gastritis is often described as a constant, dull pain in the upper abdominal area. It can be caused by H. pylori bacterial infection, excessive alcohol use, long-term use of over the counter pain medications (such as aspirin or NSAIDs), certain illnesses, and stress. Additional risk factors would be a diet high in salt, fat, and smoking.
Pain in the upper abdominal area is the main symptom for both acute and chronic gastritis. Other shared symptoms include:
- Loss of appetite
- Blood in the vomit or stool*
Treatment for gastritis depends on the cause found during diagnosis. Your Cary Gastroenterology physician will order tests to determine the exact cause of the symptoms. Testings can include blood work, breath tests, imaging, and an upper endoscopy.
Recommended lifestyle changes include limiting the use of NSAIDs, reducing or eliminating alcohol use, and a temporary bland diet that is low in fat and fiber. This kind of diet allows your system to rest and heal. In the case of a H. pylori infection, your doctor will prescribe a specific regimen of antibiotics.
Over time chronic gastritis can cause damage to the lining of the stomach, and H. pylori infections can lead to ulcers in the stomach and intestines. It is important to report your symptoms to your physician. Contact us to request an appointment with one of your gastroenterology specialists in Raleigh, Cary, or Holly Springs.
*symptom of acute gastritis only.