Gastritis - acute

Alternative names
Acute gastritis

Definition
Acute gastritis is a sudden inflammation of the lining of the stomach.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors
Causes include medications, alcohol, ingestion of corrosive substances, extreme physiological stress, and infections. Acute gastritis is often associated with a severe, acute illness, or trauma. The risk factors include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug use (NSAIDs), recent heavy alcohol use, and physiological stress such major surgery, head trauma, renal failure, liver failure, or respiratory failure.

Symptoms

     
  • Abdominal indigestion  
  • Loss of appetite  
  • Nausea  
  • Vomiting  
  • Vomiting blood or coffee-ground like material  
  • Dark stools  
  • Hiccups

Signs and tests

     
  • An upper GI and small bowel series  
  • A stool guaiac  
  • Gastroscopy showing gastritis  
  • A CBC showing anemia

Treatment
Treatment depends on the cause of the gastritis. Antacids or other medications to decrease or neutralize gastric acid in the stomach will usually eliminate the symptoms and promote healing. Medications that cause gastritis should be discontinued. A gastric ulcer may be present, requiring treatment.

Gastritis due to stress is best treated by prevention. Medications to decrease gastric acid production such as proton pump inhibitors should be given to stressed hospital patients.

Expectations (prognosis)
Most gastritis improves rapidly with treatment.

Complications
A 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 vomiting blood or if bloody stools develop.

Prevention
Control of risk factors may play a preventative role.

Johns Hopkins patient information

Last revised: December 4, 2012
by Amalia K. Gagarina, M.S., R.D.

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