Gastritis and gastroenteritis may have similar names, but they are different health conditions. Gastritis tends to affect the lining of the stomach, whereas gastroenteritis affects the intestines.

Gastritis is inflammation, or irritation, of the stomach lining. Gastroenteritis, on the other hand, is inflammation of the intestine, or the stomach and the bowel.

Gastritis can be acute or chronic. The symptoms of acute gastritis come on suddenly and tend to go away on their own. Chronic gastritis comes on gradually and may require medical treatment.

Gastroenteritis is a short-term condition that will usually resolve on its own. People sometimes call it stomach flu.

This article will explain the key differences between the two conditions, what causes them, and their main symptoms. It will also look at treatments and prevention and when to consult a doctor.

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Gastritis and gastroenteritis are two separate conditions with different causes and symptoms, and they affect different parts of the digestive system. Therefore, one cannot cause the other.

Infections usually cause gastroenteritis. Infections are also the most common cause of gastritis, but other things can lead to the condition as well.


Viruses, bacteria, and parasites may cause gastroenteritis.

Viral gastroenteritis is the second most common condition in the United States. Norovirus infection tends to cause it.

Norovirus is highly contagious. People can pick it up from contaminated food or water or from coming into contact with someone who has the infection.

Bacterial gastroenteritis tends to develop after a person consumes contaminated food or water. People also refer to it as food poisoning.


Gastritis occurs when an infection or a substance weakens the protective lining of the stomach.

One of the common causes is Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori)bacteria. H. pylori may spread from person to person through contact with vomit, stool, or saliva or sometimes through contaminated food or water.

Regularly using nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as aspirin and ibuprofen, can also damage the stomach lining, leading to gastritis.

Other causes include:

  • smoking
  • experiencing stress
  • consuming excessive amounts of fatty, sugary, or spicy foods
  • drinking too much alcohol

Symptoms of gastritis and gastroenteritis differ.

Symptoms of gastroenteritis may be severe enough to cause dehydration. By contrast, individuals with gastritis will experience either mild symptoms or no symptoms at all.


The main symptoms of gastroenteritis are:

Sometimes, these symptoms can lead to dehydration. That is why it is important for a person with gastroenteritis to drink plenty of fluids.

Dehydration is most common in:


The main symptoms of acute gastritis are:

People with chronic gastritis tend to have mild symptoms or no symptoms at all.

Gastroenteritis and acute gastritis will usually resolve on their own after a few days.

However, undiagnosed and untreated chronic gastritis can lead to serious complications, such as stomach ulcers and bleeds. Anyone who has ongoing gastritis symptoms should seek guidance from a doctor.

A person should consult a doctor if they experience any of the following symptoms:

People who take anti-inflammatory pain relievers regularly and suspect they have gastritis should ask a doctor for an alternative pain-relieving medication.

It is important that individuals with gastroenteritis drink plenty of water. Not replacing the fluids lost due to diarrhea and vomiting can lead to dehydration.

People with gastritis should try to avoid:

  • drinking alcohol
  • eating spicy, sugary, or fatty foods
  • taking too many anti-inflammatory pain relievers
  • exposure to stress

Some people with viral or bacterial gastritis or gastroenteritis may need antibiotics to clear the infection.

Other common treatments for gastritis include:

Bacteria and viruses are among the main causes of gastritis and gastroenteritis.

The Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology recommends the following to prevent infection:

  • thoroughly and frequently washing the hands, including after going to the toilet and after eating
  • covering the mouth when coughing or sneezing
  • refrigerating food within 2 hours of preparation
  • using separate chopping boards for vegetables and raw meats
  • always washing fruit and vegetables before eating them

Lifestyle changes that can help prevent gastritis or stop the infection from returning include avoiding:

  • smoking
  • drinking alcohol
  • eating too much spicy food

People who need to regularly take anti-inflammatory pain relievers should speak with a doctor. They may be able to suggest an alternative medication.

Taking antacids alongside the anti-inflammatory pain reliever may also be an option.

Gastritis and gastroenteritis are two different health conditions.

Gastritis affects the lining of the stomach. The most common causes are infections and a regular use of anti-inflammatory pain relievers. The condition can be acute or chronic.

Acute gastritis comes on suddenly but tends to go away on its own. Chronic gastritis develops gradually, and people may not notice it happening. Untreated, it can lead to ulcers and bleeds.

Gastroenteritis tends to result from infections. It affects the intestines and will usually resolve on its own after a few days. Doctors recommend remaining hydrated to avoid dehydration.

It is important to consult a doctor for either infection if symptoms remain or get worse, to prevent any further complications.