Inflammation, erosion, or damage of the stomach lining is known as gastritis. The lining of the stomach contains cells that produce the acid and enzymes used to break down food during the digestive process. When those cells are damaged, they don’t produce adequate amounts of acid, enzymes, and the mucus that is necessary to coat the stomach.
Sudden, severe inflammation is called acute gastritis. Less severe inflammation that lasts for a long time is called chronic gastritis. Untreated, chronic gastritis can last years, even a lifetime. There is also a type of gastritis known as erosive, that produces less inflammation but can cause bleeding and ulcers.
Symptoms include pain or discomfort in the upper abdomen, but some patients experience little or no symptoms. They main cause of non erosive types of gastritis is the bacteria H. pylori. This bacteria infects the stomach lining causing the inflammation. The most common cause of erosive gastritis is the prolonged use of NSAIDs, such as aspirin and ibuprofen. Alcohol, cocaine, and radiation treatments can also be the cause of erosive gastritis.
Treatment depends on the diagnosis of type and cause. To get an accurate diagnosis your gastroenterologist may order a series of tests that could include an upper GI series of contrast X-rays, blood to stool tests, and test for H. pylori. Treatment for H. pylori is very important. Left untreated, the infection can lead to cancer or development of ulcers in the stomach and small intestine. Treatment is a combination of two antibiotics and a PPI. Make an appointment with Dr. Islam to talk about your treatment options.