Gastritis is a condition that causes inflammation in the stomach lining. GERD is when a person often and repeatedly has acid reflux or heartburn. Symptoms can be similar but treatments and complications can differ.

Bacterial infections are the most common cause of chronic gastritis.

GERD is a serious condition that can eventually lead to a person experiencing complications. About 1 in 5 people in the United States have GERD.

Gastritis and GERD have some similar symptoms, share some treatments, and may lead to complications without treatment. In this article, we compare the symptoms of gastritis with those of GERD.

Man sitting on window sill in living room looking outside holding a cupShare on Pinterest
Westend61/Getty Images

Gastritis and GERD can share certain symptoms. For example, people may have upper abdominal pain and nausea with either condition.

Gastritis symptoms

Most people with gastritis do not have symptoms. If they do, gastritis may cause a person to have indigestion-like symptoms, including:

Learn more about gastritis symptoms.

GERD symptoms

Not all people with GERD have symptoms. However, some people may experience a burning feeling that rises from the middle of a person’s chest to their throat, or they may taste stomach acid in their mouth.

Other GERD symptoms may include:

Similar factors can cause a person to develop gastritis or GERD, including smoke inhalation and medication side effects. However, the conditions typically have different causes.

Gastritis causes

The most common cause of chronic gastritis is a bacterial stomach infection. Bacteria cannot cause a person to develop GERD.

Other common causes of gastritis include:

GERD causes

A person can develop GERD due to dysfunction in their lower esophageal sphincter (LES). The LES is a set of muscles that open and close the esophagus (a hollow tube that pushes food from a person’s throat to their stomach).

The LES typically stops food, liquid, and stomach acid from flowing back into the throat. If a person’s LES weakens or relaxes at the wrong times, stomach acid may flow upward into the esophagus.

Factors that can affect a person’s LES and could lead to GERD are:

Some medicines can cause GERD or make a person’s GERD symptoms worse:

A doctor will start the diagnosis of gastritis or GERD by reviewing a person’s symptoms and medical history. In some cases, a doctor may order further testing.

A doctor can use upper gastrointestinal endoscopy to diagnose either condition. During this test, a doctor uses a camera on a flexible tube to internally examine a person’s esophagus or stomach.

Other tests are specific to each condition.

To investigate whether a person has GERD, a doctor may use esophageal pH monitoring. For this, they use catheters or capsules to check a person’s stomach acid level over time.

For gastritis, other tests include a:

Doctors use different treatments for gastritis and GERD.

Gastritis treatment

If gastritis is the result of an infection with bacteria such as H. pylori, a doctor may recommend treatment including:

In cases where gastric irritation results from medication or other ingested means, avoiding these irritants may effectively treat symptoms. However, a person should not stop taking prescribed medications without first talking with a doctor.

GERD treatment

To manage GERD, doctors often prescribe lifestyle changes as well as medication, including:

Learn more about foods to limit or avoid to help ease GERD.

Medications for GERD management include:

If medication and lifestyle changes do not help reduce a person’s symptoms, doctors may recommend surgical options. However, surgical options increase a person’s risk of complications.

One surgical option for treating GERD is fundoplication. For this procedure, a surgeon sews around the end of a person’s esophagus to add pressure to their esophageal sphincter.

Another surgical option is gastric bypass surgery to help people lose weight.

If a person has any of the following symptoms, they should contact a doctor immediately:


Untreated gastritis or GERD can lead to a person developing serious complications. Untreated gastritis can lead to peptic ulcers and gastrointestinal bleeding.

Untreated GERD can lead to complications such as:

  • ulcers and bleeding in the lining of a person’s esophagus
  • problems swallowing
  • other complications outside the esophagus

Learn about the advanced stages of GERD.

Below are answers to some frequently asked questions about gastritis and GERD.

Can gastritis turn into GERD?

Gastritis is not a cause of GERD. Studies show that H. pylori bacteria that causes gastritis cannot cause GERD.

What might a doctor mistake for gastritis?

A doctor may mistake several conditions for gastritis due to shared symptoms. These conditions include:

Gastritis and GERD cause similar symptoms. However, doctors treat them differently. Left untreated, both conditions can cause serious complications.

If a person suspects they may have gastritis or GERD, they should seek medical advice.