A woman holding her tummy in pain while having inflammatory bowel disease.

What is Gastritis? Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Gastritis is a painful, debilitating condition that refers to a group of diseases. While there are different forms and types of gastritis, it always refers to inflammation of the stomach and its protective lining. In addition to inflammation, the stomach also becomes red and swollen, leading to many painful symptoms.

Gastritis can be either acute or chronic. A bout of acute gastritis is usually a one-time attack, but it can turn into a chronic condition if left treated. Gastritis can occur due to a bacterial infection, but environmental and lifestyle factors can also play a role.

You’ve come to the right place if you’re curious and want to know more about gastritis. We’ll look at the different things that can cause gastritis, the symptoms that result, how it’s diagnosed and treated, and much more. We’ll also look at what you can do to prevent gastritis using both medical and natural remedies.

Get Treated For Gastritis At Home With Concierge MD

If you have lingering gastritis symptoms, Concierge MD can help. You can make an appointment for one of our healthcare experts to come to your home and conduct a medical exam and consultation to fully understand the impact of your symptoms.

What is Gastritis?

Developing either suddenly or gradually over time, Gastritis is inflammation of the soft mucous lining of the stomach. Inflammation in this stomach lining can occur for a number of reasons, and Gastritis can stem from several origin points within the body as well.

Gastritis shows itself once the immune system detects a problem with this particular barrier in the stomach. Inflammation is meant to help fight off infection and aid the healing process, but it can also cause substantial discomfort.

Types of Gastritis

There are a few variations between acute and chronic Gastritis. Each comes with unique characteristics, some causing more discomfort than others. Nevertheless, Gastritis isn’t something you want to ignore, as it can lead to other health concerns if left unchecked. The list below offers more insight into the different types of this condition.

Acute Gastritis

Onset is quick yet temporary, and the conditions that lead to it are known to also be acute.

Chronic Gastritis

In this circumstance, Gastritis is more long-term, but symptoms may not be consistent. Its chronic state often stems from another chronic condition.

Erosive Gastritis

In this case, Gastritis is eating away at your stomach lining, which can lead to stomach ulcers.

Nonerosive Gastritis

This can potentially cause varying levels of irritation to the lining of the stomach and can also present itself in a specific form called atrophic Gastritis. This leads to atrophy of the stomach lining, which can potentially cause digestive complications.

In a medical setting, you may find that doctors use different identifying names for varying types of Gastritis. Terms like infectious, alcohol-induced, and autoimmune are all identifiers used to highlight the underlying cause of a patient’s Gastritis.

Causes of Gastritis

There are many potential causes of gastritis. Some of these causes are completely preventable, while others may occur despite your best efforts of protection. Let’s take a look.

H. Pylori infection, helicobacter pylori infection, is a bacterial infection and the main cause of gastritis. This bacteria gets spread from one person to another through saliva and other bodily fluids and waste, and it’s also found in contaminated food and water sources.

While many people are carriers of H Pylori bacteria, very few develop gastritis or other conditions caused by the disease. However, if you develop gastritis as a result of this bacteria, your treatment, diagnosis method, and symptoms will be slightly different than gastritis from other causes.


  • A burning sensation in the abdominal area and stomach
  • Severe stomach pains and aches
  • Bloating
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Lack of appetite
  • Weight loss


There are several ways to determine if you have gastritis due to the H. Pylori bacteria. In most cases, doctors will take a stool sample from you and perform a stool or stool PCR test. They will check your stool for the presence of the incriminating bacteria and proceed accordingly. If stool tests are ineffective or inconclusive, they may also use a breath or scope test to check for H. Pylori bacteria.


As with most bacterial infections, antibiotics are the best way to treat gastritis caused by H. Pylori bacteria. However, antibiotics are only effective at treating gastritis caused by bacteria, which is why it’s so important to determine the cause of your condition before starting treatment.

Many over-the-counter pain relievers, such as Advil and Ibuprofen, can help temporarily relieve pain. However, these drugs can break down the lining of your stomach, which may lead to gastritis. Therefore, seeking alternatives to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for pain relief is important.

pills, vitamins, minerals and herbs in bowls on a green table

In the same way that NSAIDs can erode your protective stomach lining and lead to gastritis, so can alcohol consumption. Alcohol is very acidic and irritating and, over time, can break your stomach down from the inside. When this happens, digestive juices and acids start leaking into your stomach, resulting in gastritis.

Alcohol Addiction

Physical stress related to a recent injury, surgery, or procedure, as well as emotional stress, can both lead to stomach problems, which lead to gastritis. For that reason, it’s important to manage stress with meditation, exercise, healthy eating, and other methods.

woman meditating in nature

In addition to some of these more common causes of gastritis, there are also less common causes.

  • Bile reflux
  • Autoimmune disorders
  • GERD
  • Infections
  • Digestive disorders
  • Drug use
  • Pernicious anemia

While anyone can get gastritis at one time or another, a few risk factors may increase your chances of developing the condition.

  • Gastritis is more common in people who have stressful jobs.
  • Gastritis is more common in older adults.
  • People undergoing radiation, chemotherapy, and related cancer treatments are at higher risk.

Prevention of Gastritis

Something important to note is that Gastritis itself isn’t contagious, but the infections that cause it definitely can be. Not only do you want to prevent infection, but general prevention of Gastritis comes with a few considerations.

Practicing consistent hygiene is the best way to ward off infection. However, in the context of different causes, there are many health and lifestyle choices that can lead to Gastritis. It’s also advisable to avoid ingesting things that can irritate the stomach lining, such as spicy or acidic foods.

Antacids and antibiotics may be prescribed depending on the cause of gastritis. If your gastritis is caused by pernicious anemia, B12 supplementation may be used as a treatment. Other alternative methods to treat gastritis include probiotics, essential oils, and stress management techniques.

Overuse of some medicines can slowly damage the stomach lining, such as aspirin and NSAIDs. Overall, hygiene is your best line of defense, as infection is the biggest concern. While Gastritis can be manageable, avoiding it altogether is in your best interest.

Symptoms of Gastritis

Gastritis is a very uncomfortable condition. Therefore, most people will know if they have gastritis based on their physical symptoms. Here are some of the most common signs and symptoms to look for based on the type of gastritis you have.

Acute gastritis is when you have a sudden bout with symptoms the first time. Here are some of the symptoms to watch out for.

  • Pain in the abdomen
  • A burning sensation in the stomach
  • Intense stomach pain
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Hiccups
  • Lack of appetite and ensuing weight loss
  • Irregular stool that’s dark and tarry
  • Vomit and stool with blood present
  • Being extra gassy

If you experience one or more of these symptoms in worsening degrees, it’s important to call your doctor immediately. Even if you don’t have gastritis, you could have another digestive condition that requires medical attention. These symptoms aren’t normal and are dangerous if you leave them unattended.

For the most part, the symptoms of chronic gastritis are identical to those of acute gastritis. The only difference is that you keep having them over and over again. Chronic gastritis can also occur because a one-time bout with gastritis has caused long-term damage to your stomach. As a result, you must receive ongoing treatment and management to keep the damage at bay.

woman holding her stomach in pain

Potential Complications

If Gastritis is left unchecked, this can eventually lead to much more significant health conditions such as stomach ulcers or even internal bleeding. If there’s extensive thinning in the lining of the stomach, there’s a higher chance you could encounter these complications. Changes in the stomach lining cells can cause long-term health problems that can be challenging to fix. In rare circumstances, chronic Gastritis can increase the risk of stomach cancer down the line.

While there are treatments available, some people deal with Gastritis on and off for the rest of their lives. Thankfully, there’s plenty of research available on how to manage the symptoms. With the help of a doctor’s direction, any necessary medication, and a few lifestyle changes, chronic Gastritis can feel rather nonexistent.

Of course, those who are dealing with acute Gastritis are more prone to a more temporary experience. Regardless of whether it’s the acute or chronic variety, Gastritis isn’t fun for anyone. Understanding the main differences between acute and chronic Gastritis can help you better prepare for what steps to take next.

Chronic vs. Acute Gastritis

Chronic Gastritis contributes to many potential health concerns that you’re better off avoiding. Other potential health complications include peptic ulcer disease, gastric polyps, or stomach tumors in more extreme scenarios. Acute Gastritis is the more common variety, and symptoms can be temporary and milder.

Acute gastritis symptoms include:

  • Loss of appetite
  • General stomach discomfort
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Severe discomfort in the upper abdomen
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Feeling too full
  • Nausea
  • Indigestion
  • And more

Diagnosis of Gastritis

Now that you know how painful gastritis can be, let’s look at how your doctor will diagnose the condition. A diagnosis is necessary to determine the underlying cause of your gastritis so that you can receive the most effective treatment.

Here are some of the most common diagnostic tools and tests your healthcare provider may use.

These tests will also help determine the cause of your gastritis.

Your doctor’s appointment will start with a physical examination and complete health history. By evaluating your physical symptoms and asking questions about your background, your doctor can start to zero in on whether or not you have gastritis. If they suspect gastritis, your doctor will proceed to further testing to confirm their diagnosis.

doctor giving a physical examination to a patient

An upper GI endoscopy provides an in-depth look at your upper GI system and stomach to check for inflammation. Your doctor may also take a small tissue sample from your stomach to biopsy for the presence of bacteria and other anomalies.

In addition to the upper GI endoscopy, there are other imaging tests your doctor may use when making a diagnosis. X-rays of your abdomen, MRIs, and CT scans may all be necessary to get a good look at your stomach and GI tract. Additional x-rays might also require you to swallow a barium solution as part of a barium swallow test. Barium amplifies x-ray images and helps your doctor see things more clearly.

doctor looking at an x-ray

A blood test is another way your doctor may check for gastritis. A blood test can show whether or not you have a low red blood cell count, which is an indicator of anemia. This test can also check for other types of anemia as well as the H. Pylori bacteria.

blood test tubes

A stool sample test can indicate whether or not you have the H. Pylori bacteria. Additionally, if there’s blood in your stool, it’s a sign of internal bleeding. Alongside other test results, your doctor can narrow down the exact cause of your symptoms.

Finally, your doctor may also require a breath test. A breath urea test is where you swallow a capsule containing urea and then simply exhale. If you breathe out carbon dioxide atoms, it means that you may have the H. Pylori bacteria.

You should consider seeing a physician if related symptoms to Gastritis seem to persist for more than a week. In circumstances where you’re experiencing consistent, severe pain, you want to seek medical attention as soon as possible.

Treatment of Gastritis

In most cases, gastritis is very treatable, and most people make a full and lasting recovery. However, it’s important that you seek a proper diagnosis and immediate treatment to ensure the best outcome. Here are some of the most common treatment and management techniques to help treat gastritis and prevent future attacks.


The first step in treating gastritis is to get your symptoms under control. To do this, your doctor will likely use various medications and supplements.

  • Antacids

Antacids help stop the production of stomach acid and give your digestive system time to heal.

  • Antibiotics

Antibiotics help fight off the bacteria or virus that’s causing your gastritis.

  • Proton Pump Inhibitors

Proton pump inhibitors are similar to antacids in that they help your body produce less stomach acid.

  • Histamine Blockers

Finally, you may also need histamine blockers which further reduce the amount of acid your stomach produces.

Lifestyle Changes and Alternative Therapies

While medications are a great start to treating your gastritis, making lifestyle changes is important to avoid future attacks. Immediate lifestyle changes can also help treat gastritis and get you on the road to recovery.

  • Start by limiting the number of NSAIDs and pain medications you use.
  • Limit your alcohol consumption or stop drinking altogether.
  • Switch to a less acidic diet by limiting certain foods such as red meat, coffee, and spicy foods.
  • Never use tobacco products.
  • If you struggle with acid reflux, consider taking medications to remedy the problem, as it could lead to gastritis.
  • Find natural and healthy ways to deal with and reduce the amount of stress in your life.
  • Take probiotics and herbal supplements that reduce acidity and increase your digestive health.
  • Avoid foods that are high in fat and switch to foods that are high in fiber.
  • Healthy fruits and vegetables containing flavonoids are also beneficial for gastrointestinal health.


While it’s always best to take the path of least resistance when treating gastritis, medications, and natural remedies might not be enough. In those cases, you will need to consider surgery to make a full and lasting recovery. Surgery might be necessary to repair parts of your stomach and digestive system, but it is a last resort compared to the less invasive alternatives.

The Bottom Line

Even with your own research in front of you, speaking with a medical professional is a quick route to peace of mind. Here at Concierge MD, we aim to provide convenient medical care and expertise to help guide your health in the right direction. Gastritis can be rather debilitating for some people, so let us come to you.

Get Treated For Gastritis At Home With Concierge MD

If you have lingering gastritis symptoms, Concierge MD can help. You can make an appointment for one of our healthcare experts to come to your home and conduct a medical exam and consultation to fully understand the impact of your symptoms.

Our medical professional can perform a blood draw or prepare a stool sample for lab processing to determine the cause of your gastritis, so you can treat the root cause of the problem. Our team can prescribe the necessary medications and treatments necessary to help you get back to feeling your best self.

Concierge MD is proud to offer convenient, professional healthcare in the comfort and privacy of your home. Call or click today!

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