Gastritis is inflammation of the stomach lining. In many cases, it does not cause symptoms. However, gastritis symptoms may include upper abdominal pain, feeling too full after a meal, and more.

Gastritis can be acute or chronic and also increase the risk of developing other conditions, such as stomach ulcers. Acute gastritis develops quickly and has a short duration. In contrast, chronic gastritis might last for months or even years if the condition continues without treatment.

This article explores the symptoms, complications, and causes of gastritis in more detail.

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A person with gastritis might not experience any symptoms.

However, when symptoms do occur, they typically include symptoms of indigestion, such as:

According to the United Kingdom’s National Health Service (NHS), in addition to the symptoms above, gastritis may also cause belching and farting.

Gastritis can lead to stomach ulcers, which cause gastrsointestinal bleeding.

People should seek immediate medical attention if they experience any symptoms of bleeding in the stomach. These may include:

Sometimes, gastrointestinal bleeding leads to small amounts of blood in the stool that a person may not notice. However, a healthcare professional may be able to detect this in a stool sample as part of diagnostic testing. Doctors refer to this as occult blood.

Complications of gastritis vary depending on the underlying cause but may include:

  • Peptic ulcers: This refers to ulcers that form in the lining of the stomach and duodenum, which is the first part of the small intestine.
  • Iron deficiency anemia: This is a condition in which a person does not have enough red blood cells due to a shortage of iron in the body.
  • Vitamin B12 deficiency: This refers to a lack of vitamin B12 in the body.
  • Immune thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP): ITP is an autoimmune condition in which the body does not have enough platelets, which are an important component of blood. It is associated with Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection.
  • Growths in the stomach lining: The risk of both benign and malignant growths increases in people with gastritis. If H. pylori bacteria cause gastritis, they also increase the risk of a specific form of cancer known as gastric mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue (MALT) lymphoma.

There are many possible causes of gastritis. These include:

The NHS states that experiencing stress and malaise, following surgery, for example, and excessive alcohol consumption may also cause gastritis.

Older research included in a 2021 study suggests that acute gastritis may last for 1 or 2 days or less than a month. In contrast, chronic gastritis lasts for more than a month or possibly a few years.

People should contact a doctor if they notice any symptoms of gastritis. A healthcare professional can determine the underlying cause and recommend appropriate treatment.

Treatment for gastritis will depend on the underlying cause.

If gastritis results from H. pylori infection, a doctor may prescribe:

People should make sure to take medications according to a doctor’s instructions. This means finishing the whole course of antibiotics even if symptoms go away. Taking these medications as instructed helps to prevent antibiotic resistance.

If gastritis results from an autoimmune condition, a healthcare professional may prescribe:

Doctors may recommend vitamin B12 injections to treat pernicious anemia that has developed due to autoimmune gastritis.

If food allergies or celiac disease may be causing gastritis, doctors may suggest a person makes dietary changes.

For gastritis resulting from other causes, healthcare professionals may recommend a range of medications to treat the underlying cause or ease symptoms.

Gastritis is the medical term for inflammation of the stomach lining. A person with gastritis may not experience any symptoms.

However, common symptoms may include upper abdominal pain, nausea, and feeling too full too soon while eating a meal.

Severe symptoms resulting from gastrointestinal bleeding may include bloody stools, blood in vomit, and shortness of breath. A person should seek immediate medical attention if they experience any symptoms of gastrointestinal bleeding.

People should also consider speaking with a doctor if they experience any other symptoms of gastritis. Healthcare professionals can work out the underlying cause and recommend appropriate treatment.