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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
What is gastritis?
Gastritis is inflammation or irritation of the lining of your stomach.
What increases my risk for gastritis?
- Infection with bacteria, a virus, or a parasite
- NSAIDs, aspirin, or steroid medicine
- Use of tobacco products or alcohol
- Trauma such as an injury to your stomach or intestine
- Autoimmune disorders such as diabetes, thyroid disease, or Crohn disease
- Age older than 60 years
- Illegal drugs, such as cocaine
What are the signs and symptoms of gastritis?
- Stomach pain, burning, or tenderness when you press on it
- Stomach fullness or tightness
- Nausea or vomiting
- Loss of appetite, or feeling full quickly when you eat
- Bad breath
- Fatigue or feeling more tired than usual
How is gastritis diagnosed?
Your healthcare provider will ask about your signs and symptoms and examine you. You may need any of the following:
- Blood tests may be used to show an infection, dehydration, or anemia (low red blood cell levels).
- A bowel movement sample may be tested for blood or the germ that may be causing your gastritis.
- A breath test may show if H pylori is causing your gastritis. You will be given a liquid to drink. Then you will breathe into a bag. Your healthcare provider will measure the amount of carbon dioxide in your breath. Extra amounts of carbon dioxide may mean you have an H pylori infection.
- An endoscopy may be used to look for irritation or bleeding in your stomach. Your healthcare provider will use an endoscope (tube with a light and camera on the end) during the procedure. He or she may take a sample from your stomach to be tested.
How is gastritis treated?
Your symptoms may go away without treatment. Treatment will depend on what is causing your gastritis. Your healthcare provider may recommend changes to the medicines you take. Medicines may be given to help treat a bacterial infection or decrease stomach acid.
How can I manage or prevent gastritis?
- Do not smoke. Nicotine and other chemicals in cigarettes and cigars can make your 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.
- Do not drink alcohol. Alcohol can prevent healing and make your gastritis worse. Talk to your healthcare provider if you need help to stop drinking.
- Do not take NSAIDs or aspirin unless directed. These and similar medicines can cause irritation of your stomach lining. If your healthcare provider says it is okay to take NSAIDs, take them with food.
- Do not eat foods that cause irritation. Foods such as oranges and salsa can cause burning or pain. Eat a variety of healthy foods. Examples include fruits (not citrus), vegetables, low-fat dairy products, beans, whole-grain breads, and lean meats and fish. Try to eat small meals, and drink water with your meals. Do not eat for at least 3 hours before you go to bed.
- Find ways to relax and decrease stress. Stress can increase stomach acid and make gastritis worse. Activities such as yoga, meditation, or listening to music can help you relax. Spend time with friends, or do things you enjoy.
Call 911 for any of the following:
- You develop chest pain or shortness of breath.
When should I seek immediate care?
- You vomit blood.
- You have black or bloody bowel movements.
- You have severe stomach or back pain.
When should I contact my healthcare provider?
- You have a fever.
- You have new or worsening symptoms, even after treatment.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.
Care AgreementYou have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. 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.
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