Gastritis occurs when the stomach lining becomes inflamed, causing the body to produce less acid and enzymes to break down food. Though it sometimes causes no symptoms, someone with gastritis can often experience loss of appetite, pain and tenderness in the stomach and even nausea and vomiting.
There are two types of gastritis -- acute and chronic. Acute gastritis typically refers to severe and sudden inflammation, whereas chronic gastritis can be present for a long time if not treated. If gastritis is more severe or lasts for a long time, it can become erosive gastritis. This means that it will ultimately break down the lining of the stomach and lead to ulcers and other complications.
Causes of Gastritis
The main cause of gastritis throughout the world is a type of bacteria known as Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori). This is seen frequently in third world nations but also in the United States. Overuse of over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen or aspirin can also contribute to gastritis, as can use of alcohol, cocaine and radiation therapy. Sometimes gastritis is related to autoimmune disorders, in which the body’s immune system attacks its own tissues. Injuries, burns or major surgeries can contribute to a form of gastritis called stress gastritis.
If a case of gastritis is related to an infection caused by H. pylori bacteria, it’s important to treat the condition with antibiotics. Left untreated, H. pylori can lead to many complications, including ulcers or cancer. Otherwise, the symptoms of gastritis are typically treated with a variety of over-the-counter or prescription medications, including antacids, proton pump inhibitors and histamine 2 blockers.
SOURCE:U.S. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases