Gastritis is characterized by the inflammation of the lining of stomach. It can be caused by excessive alcohol intake, chronic stress, use of anti-inflammatory drugs, or infections. Symptoms will depend on the cause of gastritis, and may appear very suddenly or worsen over time, They emerge especially after eating spicy or fatty food, after drinking alcoholic beverages, or during stressful or anxiety-inducing situations.
The most common symptoms of gastritis include:
- Stomach pain or painful cramping
- Bloating that is uncomfortable;
- Headache and general malaise;
- Frequent belching;
- Loss of appetite;
- Vomiting or gagging;
- Full stomach sensation.
Gastritis symptoms can be quite uncomfortable and can persist even after taking antacids such as Pepto-Bismol or Gaviscon. Therefore, if your symptoms do not resolve on their own, you should be assessed by your doctor or gastroenterologist. Once the cause of your gastritis is identified, appropriate treatment can be started.
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How gastritis is confirmed
Diagnosis of gastritis is usually confirmed through a subjective assessment of the reported symptoms, however the doctor may recommend a procedure called an endoscopy. An endoscopy involves the use of a small camera that travels down the throat and into the stomach to examine the inner walls of the stomach. Through this exam, the doctor can assess whether H. pylori bacteria, a common cause of gastritis, is present within the stomach and causing symptoms.
H. pylori infection is confirmed by performing a urease test. The doctor retrieves a small sample of stomach cells during the endoscopy, and places it in a test tube containing urea and a pH indicator. A positive test will change the test tube color from yellow to pink, thus indicating an H. pylori infection. Learn more about the other causes and types of gastritis.
To alleviate gastritis symptoms and to prevent the formation of stomach ulcers, it is important to avoid eating fatty and spicy foods. These can irritate the lining of the stomach and provoke more symptoms. It is also important to follow the treatment plan as indicated by your doctor or gastroenterologist. They may prescribe antacids, antibiotics or other drugs that inhibit acid production or secretion.