Gastritis is an inflammation, irritation, or erosion of the lining of the stomach. It can occur suddenly (acute) or gradually (chronic).
Gastritis can be caused by irritation due to excessive alcohol use, chronic vomiting, stress, or the use of certain medications such as aspirin or other anti-inflammatory drugs. It may also be caused by any of the following:
- Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori): A bacteria that lives in the mucous lining of the stomach; without treatment, the infection can lead to ulcers, and in some people, stomach cancer.
- Bile reflux: A backflow of bile into the stomach from the bile tract (that connects to the liver and gallbladder)
- Infections caused by bacteria and viruses
If gastritis is left untreated, it can lead to a severe loss of blood and may increase the risk of developing stomach cancer.
Symptoms of gastritis vary among individuals, and in many people, there are no symptoms. However, the most common symptoms include:
- Nausea or recurrent upset stomach
- Abdominal bloating
- Abdominal pain
- Burning or gnawing feeling in the stomach between meals or at night
- Loss of appetite
- Vomiting blood or coffee ground-like material
- Black, tarry stools