Gastritis describes a group of conditions with one thing in common: inflammation of the lining of the stomach. The inflammation of gastritis is most often the result of infection with the same bacterium that causes most stomach ulcers. Injury, regular use of certain pain relievers and drinking too much alcohol also can contribute to gastritis.

Gastritis may occur suddenly (acute gastritis), or it can occur slowly over time (chronic gastritis). In some cases, gastritis can lead to ulcers and an increased risk of stomach cancer. For most people, however, gastritis isn't serious and improves quickly with treatment.

Symptoms Causes Risk factors Complications Prevention

The signs and symptoms of gastritis include:

  • Gnawing or burning ache or pain (indigestion) in your upper abdomen that may become either worse or better with eating
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • A feeling of fullness in your upper abdomen after eating

Gastritis doesn't always cause signs and symptoms.

When to see a doctor

Nearly everyone has had indigestion and stomach irritation. Most cases of indigestion are short-lived and don't require medical care. See your doctor if you have signs and symptoms of gastritis for a week or longer. Tell your doctor if your stomach discomfort occurs after taking prescription or over-the-counter drugs, especially aspirin or other pain relievers.

If you are vomiting blood, have blood in your stools or have stools that appear black, see your doctor right away to determine the cause.

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