Acute Gastritis


Update Date 11/05/2020 . 4 mins read

What is acute gastritis?

In this article:

  • Knowing the basics
  • Identifying the symptoms
  • Determining the causes
  • Understanding the diagnosis & treatment
  • Taking the necessary preventive measures

Knowing the basics

What is acute gastritis?

Acute gastritis is a sudden inflammation or swelling in the lining of the stomach, causing severe pain and discomfort. However, this pain is usually temporary and only lasts for a short time.

Gastritis is different from gastroenteritis. Gastritis directly affects the stomach and often entails vomiting and nausea. In contrast, gastroenteritis can affect both the stomach and intestines. As a result, it can cause diarrhea in addition to the vomiting and nausea.

In fact, the prevalence of chronic gastritis in developing countries has reduced, but acute gastritis is still common.

Identifying the symptoms

What are the signs and symptoms of acute gastritis?

In essence, most people with acute gastritis do not experience any symptoms. However, some may show signs of mild to severe conditions.

The common symptoms include:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Indigestion
  • Black stool
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Bloody vomit similar to that of coffee grounds
  • Pain in the upper part of the abdomen
  • Bloated feeling in the upper abdomen after eating

Some symptoms of acute gastritis may also be related to other health conditions. And so, to determine the exact disease, it is advised to see a doctor.

If symptoms of gastritis last a week or longer, you should definitely contact a doctor. If you experience vomiting blood, seek medical attention immediately.

Some health conditions may cause symptoms that are similar to signs of the condition such as:

  • Peptic ulcers
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Gallstones or gallbladder disease, or food poisoning which can cause severe abdominal pain, vomiting, and diarrhea

Determining the causes

What are the causes of acute gastritis?

Acute gastritis occurs when the lining of the stomach is damaged or weak, which in turn allows digestive acids to irritate the stomach. The causes of acute gastritis include:

  • Medications such as non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and corticosteroids, which are the most common causes of acute gastritis.
  • Bacterial infections such as H. pylori
  • Excessive alcohol consumption

All things considered, NSAIDs and corticosteroids have been determined to be the most common causes of acute gastritis.

Other less common causes include:

  • Viral infection
  • Extreme stress
  • Autoimmune disorders, which can cause the immune system to attack the stomach lining
  • Digestive diseases and disorders, like Crohn’s disease
  • Bile reflux
  • Use of addictive substances
  • Surgery
  • Kidney failure

Who is at risk of acute gastritis?

Factors that increase the risk of developing acute gastritis include:

  • Using non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and corticosteroids
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • Surgery
  • Kidney failure
  • Liver failure
  • Respiratory failure


Understanding the diagnosis & treatment

The information provided herein is not a substitute for any medical advice. Therefore, ALWAYS consult with a doctor for more information.

How does a doctor diagnose acute gastritis?

Normally, a doctor would ask you detailed questions to learn about your symptoms. In addition, some tests will be performed to help your doctor diagnose acute gastritis, which include:

  • A complete blood count (CBC) to check your overall health
  • A blood, breath, or saliva test to check for H. pylori
  • A fecal test to help check for blood in your stool
  • An esophageal or endoscopy to help doctors explore the lining of the stomach
  • A gastric tissue biopsy
  • An X-ray to help doctors identify structural problems in the digestive system

How do we treat acute gastritis?

In most cases, people with acute gastritis require medical treatment. The treatment and recovery times depend on the cause of gastritis. However, some cases of acute gastritis will go away without treatment. In addition, a bland diet (without stimulating foods) can help you recover quickly.

Foods that are low in natural acids, fats and fibre may be tolerated as well. In any case, if you start experiencing constant vomiting, try consuming warm soups instead.

Other treatments, such as those used to treat viruses, would involve taking medication to reduce symptoms.

Options for treating the condition include:


Your doctor would usually recommend a combination of medications to treat acute gastritis, which include:

  • Antacids , which help in neutralizing stomach acid.
  • H2 antagonists to reduce stomach acid production (taken within 10 to 60 minutes before meals).
  • Proton pump inhibitors to help inhibit stomach acid production, which should only be taken once every 24 hours and for no more than 14 days.
  • Antibiotics, which are only to be ingested in the event of a bacterial infection, such as H. pylori.

Antibiotics may be used with proton pump inhibitors, antacids or H2 antagonists. The treatment usually lasts from 10 days to 4 weeks.

Additionally, a doctor may also recommend that you stop using any NSAIDs or corticosteroids to gauge symptom relief. However, you must not stop taking these medications without your doctor’s advice.

Lifestyle changes

Symptoms of the condition can be reduced by making lifestyle changes such as:

  • Avoiding or limiting alcohol consumption
  • Avoiding spicy, fried or acidic foods
  • Splitting main meals into smaller meals
  • Actively controlling and reducing stress
  • Avoiding medications that irritate the stomach lining, such as aspirin or NSAIDs

Taking the necessary preventive measures

What are measures that can help me prevent acute gastritis?

Some of the following will help you in preventing the condition:

  • Most importantly, washing your hands often with soap and clean water, especially before meals.
  • Next, ensuring that foods are cooked thoroughly.
  • Subsequently, avoiding or limiting your alcohol intake.
  • Last but not least, the frequent use of non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs should be avoided. If you have to, ingest them with food and water to avoid symptoms of gastritis.

Read Also:

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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