Gastritis

Gastritis: Description, Causes and Risk Factors: ICD-9-CM: 535.0 to 535.4 depending on type. Inflammation, especially mucosal, of the stomach. GastritisGastritis, an inflammation or irritation of the lining of the stomach, is not a single disease. Rather, gastritis is a condition that has many causes. Common to all people with gastritis is pain or discomfort in the upper part of the belly (abdomen), sometimes called dyspepsia. Gastritis can be a brief and sudden illness (acute gastritis), a longer-lasting condition (chronic gastritis), or a special condition, perhaps as part of another medical illness. Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection causes most cases of chronic nonerosive gastritis. H. pylori are bacteria that infect the stomach lining. H. pylori are primarily transmitted from person to person. In areas with poor sanitation, H. pylori may be transmitted through contaminated food or water. In industrialized countries like the United States, 20 to 50 percent of the population may be infected with H. pylori. Rates of H. pylori infection are higher in areas with poor sanitation and higher population density. Infection rates may be higher than 80 percent in some developing countries.1 The most common cause of erosive gastritis—acute and chronic is prolonged use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as aspirin and ibuprofen. Other agents that can cause erosive gastritis include alcohol, cocaine, and radiation. Traumatic injuries, critical illness, severe burns, and major surgery can also cause acute erosive gastritis. This type of gastritis is called stress gastritis. Less common causes of erosive and nonerosive gastritis include:
  • Autoimmune disorders in which the immune system attacks healthy cells in the stomach lining.
  • Some digestive diseases and disorders, such as Crohn's disease and pernicious anemia.
  • Viruses, parasites, fungi, and bacteria other than H. Pylori.
Symptoms: Symptoms include
  • Abdominal indigestion.
  • Abdominal pain.
  • Dark stools.
  • Vomiting blood or coffee-ground like material.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Nausea.
Diagnosis: The most common diagnostic test for gastritis is endoscopy with a biopsy of the stomach. The doctor will usually give the patient medicine to reduce discomfort and anxiety before beginning the endoscopy procedure. The doctor then inserts an endoscope, a thin tube with a tiny camera on the end, through the patient's mouth or nose and into the stomach. The doctor uses the endoscope to examine the lining of the esophagus, stomach, and first portion of the small intestine. If necessary, the doctor will use the endoscope to perform a biopsy, which involves collecting tiny samples of tissue for examination with a microscope. Other tests used to identify the cause of gastritis or any complications include the following:
  • Tests for H. pylori infection: The doctor may test a patient's breath, blood, or stool for signs of infection. H. pylori infection can also be confirmed with biopsies taken from the stomach during endoscopy.
  • Upper gastrointestinal (GI) series: The patient swallows barium, a liquid contrast material that makes the digestive tract visible in an x ray. X-ray images may show changes in the stomach lining, such as erosions or ulcers.
  • Stool test: This test checks for the presence of blood in the stool, another sign of bleeding in the stomach.
  • Blood test: The doctor may check for anemia, a condition in which the blood's iron-rich substance, hemoglobin, is diminished. Anemia may be a sign of chronic bleeding in the stomach.
  • Tests vary depending on the specific cause. An X-ray of the upper digestive tract, EGD, or other tests may be advised.
Treatment: The choice of treatment depends to some extent on the cause of the gastritis. Some treatments target the exact cause of a particular type of gastritis. Most treatments aim at reducing symptoms. Your stomach often will heal over time if it is protected. Treatment depends on the specific cause. Some of the causes will disappear over time. Medications to neutralize stomach acid or decrease its production may be recommended. antacids, such as aspirin, sodium bicarbonate, and citric acid (Alka-Seltzer); alumina and magnesia (Maalox); and calcium carbonate and magnesia (Rolaids). Antacids relieve mild heartburn or dyspepsia by neutralizing acid in the stomach. These drugs may produce side effects such as diarrhea or constipation. histamine 2 (H2) blockers, such as famotidine (Pepcid AC) and ranitidine (Zantac 75). H2 blockers decrease acid production. They are available both over the counter and by prescription. proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), such as omeprazole (Prilosec, Zegerid), lansoprazole (Prevacid), pantoprazole (Protonix), rabeprazole (Aciphex), esomeprazole (Nexium), and dexlansoprazole (Kapidex). All of these drugs are available by prescription, and some are also available over the counter. PPIs decrease acid production more effectively than H2 blockers. Note: The following drugs and medications are in some way related to, or used in the treatment. This service should be used as a supplement to, and NOT a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. Making lifestyle changes, such as avoiding the long-term use of alcohol, NSAIDs, coffee, and drugs, may help prevent gastritis and its complications (such as a peptic ulcer). Reducing stress through relaxation techniques -- including yoga, tai chi, and meditation -- can also be helpful. DISCLAIMER: This information should not substitute for seeking responsible, professional medical care.  

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