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Gastritis in Children

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Nov 5, 2023.

What is gastritis?

Gastritis is inflammation or irritation of the lining of your child's stomach.

Abdominal Organs

What increases my child's risk for gastritis?

  • Infection with bacteria, a virus, or a parasite
  • A toxic object your child swallowed, such as a button battery
  • Trauma such as an injury to your child's stomach or intestine
  • NSAIDs or steroid medicine
  • Autoimmune disorders such as diabetes, thyroid disease, or Crohn disease

What are the signs and symptoms of gastritis?

  • Stomach pain, burning, or tenderness when you press on your child's stomach
  • Stomach fullness or tightness
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Bad breath
  • Fatigue or feeling more tired than usual

How is gastritis diagnosed?

Your healthcare provider will ask about your child's signs and symptoms and examine him or her. Your child may need any of the following:

  • Blood tests may be used to show an infection, dehydration, or anemia.
  • A bowel movement sample may be tested for blood or the germ that may be causing your child's gastritis.
  • A breath test may show if H pylori is causing your child's gastritis. Your child will be given a liquid to drink. Then your child will breathe into a bag. The amount of carbon dioxide in your child's breath will be measured. Extra amounts of carbon dioxide may mean your child has an H pylori infection.
  • An endoscopy may be used to look for irritation or bleeding in your child's stomach. An endoscope (tube with a light and camera on the end) will be used during the procedure. The provider may take a sample from your stomach to be tested.

How is gastritis treated?

Your child's symptoms may go away without treatment. Treatment will depend on what is causing your child's gastritis. Symptoms caused by a toxic object such as a button battery need immediate treatment. Medicines may be given to help treat a bacterial infection or decrease stomach acid.

Treatment options

The following list of medications are in some way related to or used in the treatment of this condition.

How can I manage or prevent gastritis?

  • Keep batteries and similar objects out of your child's reach. Button batteries are easy to swallow and can cause serious damage. Keep battery covers taped closed. This includes electronic devices such as remote controls. Store all batteries and toxic materials where children cannot get to them. Use childproof locks to keep children away from dangerous materials.
  • Do not give your child foods that cause irritation. Foods such as oranges and salsa can cause burning or pain. Give your child a variety of healthy foods. Examples include fruits (not citrus), vegetables, low-fat dairy products, beans, whole-grain breads, and lean meats and fish. Encourage your child to eat small meals, and drink water with meals. Do not let your child eat for at least 3 hours before he or she goes to bed.
  • Do not smoke around your child. Nicotine and other chemicals in cigarettes and cigars can make your child's symptoms worse and cause lung damage. Ask your healthcare provider for information if you currently smoke and need help to quit. E-cigarettes or smokeless tobacco still contain nicotine. Talk to your healthcare provider before you use these products.
  • Help your child relax and decrease stress. Stress can increase stomach acid and make gastritis worse. Activities such as yoga, meditation, mindful activities, or listening to music can help your child relax.

Call 911 for any of the following:

  • Your child develops chest pain or shortness of breath.

When should I seek immediate care?

  • Your child vomits blood.
  • Your child has black or bloody bowel movements.
  • Your child has severe stomach or back pain.

When should I contact my child's healthcare provider?

  • Your child has a fever.
  • Your child has new or worsening symptoms, even after treatment.
  • You have questions or concerns about your child's condition or care.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your child's care. Learn about your child's health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your child's healthcare providers to decide what care you want for your child. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

© Copyright Merative 2023 Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes.

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Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.