Gastritis/Abdominal Pain: Causes and Treatments
Patients suffering from gastritis can experience a range of symptoms, from mild nausea or a feeling of fullness in the upper abdomen after eating, to more severe symptoms like severe pain, a burning sensation, and vomiting. The root of these symptoms is an inflammation of the mucus lining of the stomach.
For people experiencing chronic gastritis, symptoms appear gradually over a long period of time and don’t go away quickly on their own. Acute gastritis, on the other hand, appears suddenly, usually after eating. Gastritis, left untreated, can lead to stomach ulcers and bleeding. Though rare, chronic gastritis can even increase the risk of stomach cancer.
What triggers gastritis?
One of the most common causes of gastritis is an H. pylori infection. This is the same type of bacteria that causes most stomach ulcers. It is uniquely suited to withstand the destructive affects of gastric acids and penetrate the mucus lining to infect the stomach tissue, causing inflammation.
Gastritis can also be caused by ingesting certain pain relievers or drinking alcohol to excess. Chronic stress is another potential trigger for the worsening of existing gastritis symptoms because it causes a fight-or-flight reaction that includes spasms in the esophagus and an increase in stomach acids, which can aggravate existing symptoms.
Other potential causes of gastritis include:
- As we age, the lining of the stomach tends to get thinner, increasing the risk of gastritis. That leaves the stomach less able to fight off other causes such as a bacterial infection or excessive use of alcohol.
- Autoimmune disease. In some people, the body’s immune system attacks the cells in the stomach lining, causing autoimmune gastritis. This is more common in people who have other autoimmune disorders such as type 1 diabetes or Hashimoto’s disease. It can also be linked to a deficiency in vitamin B-12.
What you should do.
If your symptoms of gastritis are infrequent, mild, and only last a day or two before clearing up on their own, you probably don’t need medical attention. Stick to a bland, healthy diet and avoid greasy or spicy food for a few days until the symptoms pass.
On the other hand, you should make an appointment with a physician as quickly as possible if your symptoms are accompanied by signs of internal bleeding, such as vomiting blood, blood in your stool, or stools that appear black. You should also see a doctor if you have suffered from gastritis for a week or longer.
The Center for Advanced Gastroenterology
At the Center for Advanced Gastroenterology, we have dedicated our practice to providing effective diagnostic and treatment solutions for issues of the upper and lower gastrointestinal tract and liver for our patients. These issues include such conditions as:
- Viral hepatitis
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- Crohn’s disease
- Persistent diarrhea
- Rectal bleeding
- Acid reflux/GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease)
- Gastritis/abdominal pain
- Severe nausea
- Ulcerative colitis
Convenient Locations and Caring Staff
In addition to the treatment we provide, we are also committed to your physical and emotional comfort. We have six locations throughout Central Florida for your convenience, and our highly specialized physicians and clinical staff members take the time to listen to you and make sure you understand your diagnosis and any treatment we may prescribe.
The procedures we offer include:
- Diagnostic colonoscopy
- Colon cancer screening
- Upper endoscopy
- Capsule endoscopy
- Banding of internal hemorrhoids