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What is gastritis?

Gastritis is a common condition that happens when the lining of your stomach becomes inflamed. It can cause some discomfort and it should be treated to avoid the condition becoming chronic (long term).

Simple lifestyle changes and over the counter mediation could be all that you need to treat your gastritis if it is mild. However, if it is severe, persistent or not treated correctly, it can lead to further problems.

Gastritis symptoms

In some cases, you may not have any symptoms at all (particularly if it is caused by a bacterial infection like the H. pylori infection), but it can cause:

  • Indigestion or heartburn (this is the most common symptom)
  • Vomiting, nausea or a recurrent upset tummy
  • Burning or gnawing tummy pain between meals or at night
  • Feeling full after eating
  • Bloating
  • Loss of appetite

Read a more comprehensive list of the symptoms of gastritis.

Gastritis diagnosis

A doctor will ask you about your lifestyle, including whether you drink alcohol, how much sleep you get, if you are stressed and your diet. This is to make sure you receive an accurate diagnosis and get the best possible treatment.

Often, a diagnosis will be able to be made without you needing any further tests. However, in some cases, further investigation may be needed. Test that may be used to diagnose gastritis include:

  • Endoscopy
  • A stool test
  • A breath test

For more detailed information on what will happen during your video consultation with a Push Doctor GP, click here.

Gastritis causes

There are several things that can cause gastritis. A common culprit is the Helicobacter pylori bacteria (H. pylori). It is relatively common, but as it does not always cause symptoms, you may not even know that you have it. If you do have symptoms, you may just think it is indigestion.

Other causes of gastritis include:

  • Regular vomiting
  • A stressful event
  • An autoimmune reaction, where the body’s immune system attacks the tissues and cells of the stomach lining

There are certain lifestyle factors that can put you at more risk of gastritis, including:

  • Excessive consumption of alcohol
  • Smoking
  • Regularly taking ibuprofen, aspirin or other painkillers, known as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)

Read more about the causes of gastritis.

Gastritis treatment

There are several treatments for gastritis, ranging from diet and lifestyle changes, to medication.

You can try treating it at home by:

  • Eating little and often.
  • Lowering your alcohol consumption or stopping drinking completely.
  • Limiting or avoiding hot and spicy, fried, fatty or acidic foods (or drinks, such as fruit juices).
  • Trying to reduce your stress levels.
  • Switching painkillers, if you think that is what is causing your symptoms - you can speak to a doctor for more guidance on this, and whether it is an option for you.

In more persistent or serious cases, medications can be used to treat gastritis, which include:

  • Antacids
  • Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs)
  • Histamine 2 (H2) blockers

Read more about how to treat gastritis.

Diet changes for gastritis

Avoiding spicy, fatty or very acidic food can help to reduce your symptoms. As can eating little and often.

Gastritis in pregnancy

Gastritis in pregnancy may be treated slightly differently, as some medicines are not licensed for use in pregnant women.

An early diagnosis of gastritis in pregnancy will help to prevent other conditions, such as stomach ulcers and the further complications that these can create.

If you are already taking medicines for gastritis and you become pregnant, then you should speak to a doctor to ensure that the medicines you are using are safe. If they are not, the doctor can provide an effective alternative.

If you are worried about having gastritis when you are pregnant or would like to know more about how it may affect your pregnancy, then our doctors can help. They will provide all the advice and reassurance you need.

For further information about gastritis in pregnancy.

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