Gastritis - acute
Acute gastritis is a sudden inflammation of the stomach lining.
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
Acute gastritis may be caused by:
- Certain medications, such as aspirin, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), or corticosteroids
- Eating or drinking corrosive substances
- Extreme stress
- Infections, such as the bacteria Helicobacter pylori, or much less often, cytomegalovirus or herpes simplex virus
Acute gastritis is often associated with a severe, acute illness or trauma. The following increase your risk of acute gastritis:
- Aspirin or NSAID use
- Recent heavy alcohol use
- Major surgery
- Kidney failure
- Liver failure
- Respiratory failure
- Dark stools
- Loss of appetite
- Vomiting blood or material that looks like coffee grounds
Signs and tests
Tests that may be done to diagnose acute gastritis include:
- Complete blood count (CBC, shows anemia)
- Stool test for bleeding
- Upper GI and small bowel x-ray series
Treatment depends on the cause of the gastritis. Antacids or other medications to decrease or neutralize stomach acid will usually relieve the symptoms and promote healing. Stop taking any medications that cause gastritis. Gastritis may progress to a gastric ulcer, requiring additional treatment.
Gastritis due to stress is best treated by prevention. Medications to decrease gastric acid production, such as proton pump inhibitors, should be considered for stressed hospital patients.
Most gastritis improves rapidly with treatment.
A potential complication is a severe loss of blood.
Calling your health care provider
Call for an appointment with your health care provider if symptoms of gastritis persist longer than 2 or 3 days. Call your health care provider if you vomit blood or have bloody stools.
Controlling risk factors may help prevent this condition. For example, do not use or limit your use of NSAIDs and alcohol.
Kuipers EJ, Blaser MJ. Acid peptic disease: epidemiology and pathobiology. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 141.