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Gastritis Specialists in Concord, NC

What is Gastritis?

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

Common Symptoms of Gastritis

Signs and symptoms of gastritis may include:

  • Gnawing or burning pain in your upper abdomen
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • An early feeling of fullness in your upper abdomen when eating

Nearly everyone has experienced indigestion and stomach discomfort. Most cases are short-lived and not serious. See your gastroentolorogist in NC if symptoms persist or if you are vomiting blood or have bloody stools.

Common Causes of Gastritis

Gastritis is most often the result of infection with the same bacterium that causes most ulcers. Injury, regular use of certain pain relievers, and drinking too much alcohol may also contribute to gastritis. Gastritis may also develop as the result of an autoimmune disorder, in which the immune system mistakenly attacks healthy body tissue. In a condition known as autoimmune gastritis, the immune system attacks the cells of the stomach lining, which can wear away the stomach’s protective barrier to cause gastritis.

How To Get Diagnosed

Your Northeast Digestive Health Center gastroenterologist in Concord, NCmay be able to diagnose gastritis following a physical exam. However, additional tests may be required to confirm or rule out other causes. This may include blood, stool, or breath tests. Your doctor may order an endoscopy to examine for signs of inflammation. If a suspicious area is located, a biopsy can be taken during the procedure.

Are There Any Risk Factors For Gastritis

Certain factors can increase the likelihood that you will develop gastritis. These risk factors include:

  • Bacterial infection – infection with the Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) bacteria may increase the body’s vulnerability to the development of gastritis in some people
  • Regular use of pain relievers – using a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen, can cause both acute gastritis and chronic gastritis by reducing a substance that helps preserve the protective lining of the stomach
  • Being older – because the stomach lining often thins over time, older adults have an increased risk of gastritis; older adults are also more likely to have autoimmune disorders or H. pylori infection than are their younger counterparts
  • Excessive alcohol use – alcohol can irritate and erode the stomach lining to make the stomach more vulnerable to caustic digestive juices. Excessive use of alcohol is more likely to cause acute gastritis than chronic gastritis
  • Stress – severe stress from a major surgery, serious injury, burn, or severe infection can cause acute gastritis, sometimes known as stress gastritis
  • An autoimmune disorder – autoimmune gastritis is more common in people with Hashimoto's disease, type 1 diabetes, or other autoimmune disorders; autoimmune gastritis is often associated with vitamin B-12 deficiency
  • Other diseases and conditions – having certain other diseases or medical conditions, such as HIV/AIDS, Crohn's disease, or parasitic infections, can increase the risk of developing gastritis

Possible Complications of Gastritis

Left untreated, gastritis can cause complications. The specific complications depend largely on the type of gastritis a person has. Many types of gastritis can lead to stomach bleeding and ulcers, or sores on the lining of the stomach. Some types of gastritis can even increase the risk of stomach cancer, especially in people with thinned stomach linings.

Other complications of gastritis include:

  • Anemia – infection with H. pylori can cause gastritis or stomach ulcers that bleed, which reduces the number of red blood cells to cause anemia
  • Pernicious anemia – a type of anemia in which autoimmune gastritis prevents the digestive tract from absorbing vitamin B12, which the body needs to create red blood cells
  • Peritonitis – ulcers can break through the stomach wall and spill the contents of the stomach into the abdomen, potentially spreading bacteria to cause the dangerous infection known as peritonitis
  • Sepsis – ruptures and the spread of bacteria can cause widespread inflammation known as sepsis, which can be fatal

What is The Treatment for Gastritis in NC

Treatment of gastritis in Concord depends on the underlying cause. Acute gastritis caused by frequent alcohol consumption or use of certain medications may be relieved by discontinuing use.

Chronic gastritis caused by bacterial infection can be treated with antibiotics. In most cases, your doctor will recommend medications that treat stomach acid to reduce symptoms and promote healing in your stomach.

Frequently Asked Questions

How common is gastritis?

Gastritis is a prevalent digestive condition, affecting a substantial portion of the global population at some point. The incidence of acute gastritis, often linked to factors like excessive alcohol intake or certain medications, is widespread and can occur across different age groups. Chronic gastritis, characterized by long-term inflammation of the stomach lining, tends to be more common among older adults, particularly those with Helicobacter pylori infections. While not everyone with gastritis experiences noticeable symptoms, seeking medical advice is crucial for an accurate diagnosis and the appropriate management of this common digestive issue.

How long does gastritis last?

Gastritis duration varies based on its cause and severity. Acute gastritis may last for a short period, typically a few days to a week, while chronic gastritis can persist for months or even years. The key to a faster recovery often involves identifying and addressing the underlying factors triggering gastritis, such as bacterial infections or long-term use of certain medications.

What to eat with gastritis?

A gastritis-friendly diet typically includes easily digestible foods that don't irritate the stomach lining. Opt for bland, non-spicy foods like plain rice, bananas, yogurt, and lean proteins. Avoid acidic, fried, or heavily seasoned foods. Small, frequent meals can also help ease digestion, and staying hydrated is crucial. It's advisable to consult with a healthcare professional or a nutritionist for personalized dietary recommendations.

Is gastritis contagious?

No, gastritis itself is not contagious. Gastritis is primarily caused by factors such as bacterial infections, certain medications, or lifestyle choices. It does not spread from person to person through direct contact. However, if gastritis is caused by an infectious agent like H. pylori bacteria, that specific infection can be contagious and may spread through contaminated food, water, or close contact.

Where is the pain from gastritis located?

The pain from gastritis is often located in the upper abdomen, near the stomach. Individuals with gastritis may experience a burning or gnawing pain that can be intermittent or continuous. The discomfort can radiate to the chest, and in severe cases, it may be felt in the back. However, the exact location and nature of the pain can vary among individuals.

Does gastritis cause diarrhea?

Yes, gastritis can cause diarrhea, especially if it is related to infections such as H. pylori. Inflammation of the stomach lining can affect the normal digestive process, leading to symptoms like diarrhea. Additionally, certain foods or irritants may exacerbate diarrhea in individuals with gastritis. It's essential to address the underlying cause of gastritis to manage associated symptoms effectively.

Can gastritis cause back pain?

Yes, gastritis can cause back pain in some cases. The pain may be felt in the upper back, between the shoulder blades. This is often a result of the inflammation affecting nerves in the stomach area, leading to referred pain in the back. It's crucial to differentiate gastritis-related back pain from other potential causes, and consulting a healthcare professional for proper diagnosis is recommended.

Can stress cause gastritis?

Yes, stress can contribute to the development or exacerbation of gastritis. Prolonged stress can lead to increased production of stomach acid, which may irritate the stomach lining. Additionally, stress can weaken the immune system, making the body more susceptible to infections like H. pylori, a common cause of gastritis. Managing stress through relaxation techniques and lifestyle changes may help prevent or alleviate gastritis symptoms.

What is chronic gastritis?

Chronic gastritis is a long-term inflammation of the stomach lining that persists over an extended period. It can result from various factors, including H. pylori infection, autoimmune diseases, or repeated exposure to irritants. Unlike acute gastritis, which often resolves within a short time, chronic gastritis may require ongoing management and treatment. It can lead to complications if left untreated.

Can gastritis cause constipation?

While gastritis is more commonly associated with symptoms like stomach pain and diarrhea, it can also lead to constipation in some cases. Disruption of the normal digestive process due to inflammation may slow down bowel movements, causing constipation. Maintaining a balanced diet, staying hydrated, and addressing the underlying causes of gastritis can help manage associated digestive symptoms, including constipation.

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Northeast Digestive Health Center
1070 Vinehaven Drive NE
Concord, North Carolina 28025
Phone: (704)783-1840
Fax: (704)783-1850
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