Your Guide to Living With Gastritis

How Can You Treat Gastritis?

Your Guide to Living With Gastritis

Gastritis is an inflammation of the stomach lining. It may occur gradually and persist for a prolonged time. Although it doesn't cause heartburn, some of the symptoms are similar to those produced by heartburn, and it's treated in a similar way to gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), by taking medication to reduce stomach acid.

Tom Kelley Archive / Stringer / Getty Images

There are several causes of gastritis. The most common are:

  • Taking aspirin or anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen.
  • Drinking alcohol
  • Smoking
  • Infection of the stomach with Helicobacter pylori bacteria
  • Erosion of the protective layer of the stomach lining

There are also less common causes of gastritis. These include:

  • Eating or drinking caustic or corrosive substances (such as poisons)
  • Backflow of bile into the stomach (bile reflux)
  • Autoimmune disorders (such as pernicious anemia)
  • Excess gastric acid secretion (which can sometimes occur from stress) 
  • Viral infection, especially in people with a weak immune system

Gastritis can occur suddenly (acute gastritis) or gradually (chronic gastritis).

The most common symptoms of gastritis are:

  • Upper abdominal pain, which may worsen with eating
  • Loss of appetite
  • Abdominal indigestion
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting, which may include vomiting blood or material that looks coffee grounds
  • Dark stools

There are several tests that may be used to diagnose gastritis. These are the three main ones:

  • Upper Gastrointestinal Endoscopy: The doctor eases an endoscope, a thin tube containing a tiny camera, through your mouth (or occasionally nose) and down into your stomach to look at the stomach lining. The doctor will check for inflammation and may remove a tiny sample of tissue for tests. This procedure to remove a tissue sample is called a biopsy.
  • Blood Test: The doctor may check your red blood cell count to see whether you have anemia, which means that you do not have enough red blood cells. In gastritis, anemia can be caused by bleeding from the stomach.
  • Stool test: This test checks for the presence of blood in your stool, a sign of bleeding.
  • Breath test: A breath test can be performed to look for H. pylori, which is a potential cause of gastritis.

Stomach acid irritates the inflamed tissues of the stomach. Treatment usually involves taking drugs to reduce stomach acid, which can help relieve symptoms and promote healing.

Antacids or other medications, such as Famotidine (pepcid), which decrease or neutralize gastric acid in the stomach, or proton pump inhibitors such as Prilosec, will usually eliminate the symptoms and promote healing.

Gastritis caused by pernicious anemia is treated with vitamin B12.

You may also be encouraged to avoid certain foods, beverages or medicines.

If your gastritis is caused by an infection, that problem may be treated as well. For example, the doctor might prescribe antibiotics and proton pump inhibitors to clear up H. pylori infection. Once the underlying problem disappears, gastritis usually does too. Talk to your doctor before stopping any medicine or starting any gastritis treatment on your own.

If gastritis isn't treated, it may lead to stomach ulcers and stomach bleeding. Some forms of chronic gastritis may increase your risk of stomach cancer. Other complications include:

  • Gastrointestinal bleeding
  • Gastric erosion
  • Anemia
  • Dehydration

Several lifestyle modifications can help you manage the symptoms of gastritis:

  • Eat six small meals instead of three big meals. This keeps your stomach from getting too full, and reduces gastric pressure.
  • Eating, diet, and nutrition do not play a role in causing or preventing gastritis, according to researchers. But as you are healing and taking medication to reduce stomach acid, you may want to avoid foods that can increase stomach acid production. There are several foods and beverages that can trigger your heartburn, and increase acid production. You may want to avoid these and consume foods that can decrease heartburn and acid production.
  • Avoid alcohol. Alcohol increases the production of stomach acid.
  • Use an antacid. Antacids, such as Tagamet, decrease or neutralize gastric acid in the stomach. They will usually eliminate the symptoms and promote healing.
  • Don't smoke. Smoking stimulates the production of stomach acid.

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Gastritis Relief: The Key is to Treat the Root Cause – Natural Health Advisory

Your Guide to Living With Gastritis

Home » Daily » Digestive Health » Gastritis Relief: The Key Is to Treat the Root Cause

Coping with gastritis and its many symptoms is about as much fun as getting punched in the stomach. Your first instinct may be to reach for an antacid medication because that usually provides quick gastritis relief.

But if you want to keep painful gastritis symptoms away for good, the key is to discover your own individual gastritis cause.

Identifying the underlying cause of your gastritis will quickly guide you to the best and safest therapies for long-lasting relief.

Common Gastritis Symptoms

Gastritis pain centers in the upper abdomen, just under the rib cage, and stems from inflammation and irritation in the stomach. The following gastritis symptoms can come on quickly or gradually in chronic cases:

  • Nausea or upset stomach
  • Bloating
  • Belching
  • Abdominal pain
  • Vomiting (including vomiting blood or material that looks coffee grounds)
  • Indigestion
  • Heartburn
  • Burning, gnawing, or sore feeling between meals
  • Hiccups
  • Loss of appetite
  • Black, tarry stools

Gastritis: Is Bacterial Infection to Blame?

The most common cause of gastritis symptoms is an infection with the bacteria Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori). The chronic form of gastritis caused by H. pylori infection may eventually lead to peptic ulcers or stomach cancer.[5]

A doctor can test for the presence of this bacteria and then can prescribe a combination of medications, including two or more antibiotics and a proton pump inhibitor (PPI), to try and eradicate the infection. However, conventional drug therapy frequently fails due to increasing antibiotic resistance.

Fortunately, natural protocols for eradicating H. pylori and treating gastritis caused by the bacteria can be very effective. These protocols typically feature certain botanical medicines with either antimicrobial properties or the ability to help heal and protect the gastric mucosa as well as probiotics.[6]

Multiple studies have shown that adding probiotics to conventional treatments improves the eradication of H. pylori, decreases gastritis symptoms, and prevent or reduce antiobiotic side effects.[7]

Extracts and essential oils from medicinal plants from all over the world have demonstrated the ability to kill H. pylori and serves as a gastritis remedy, including: [8-10]

  • Aged garlic extract
  • Hydrastis canadensis (goldenseal) root extract
  • Agrimonia eupatoria (agrimony) extract
  • Filipenula ulmaria (meadowsweet) extract
  • Salvia officinalis (sage) extract
  • Coptis chinensis extract

Although few human studies have been conducted to show whether these and other herbal extracts work as stand-alone therapies for treating H.

pylori infections in patients, they are commonly used by licensed naturopathic doctor or other practitioners trained in botanical medicine with good results, especially when combined with other herbs and nutrients known to help decrease inflammation in increase healing of the gastric mucosa, such as deglycyrrhizinated licorice (DGL), slippery elm, L-glutamine, and zinc carnosine.[10,11]

It is important that you work with a licensed health care practitioner for the appropriate dosages of all these natural treatments. Also, please be aware that if H. pylori infection is the primary cause of your gastritis, your stomach lining won’t heal, and you won’t reduce your risk of peptic ulcers and stomach cancer until you treat this infection.

Consider Gluten and Other Food Intolerances

Gastritis can also be induced by bile reflux (when bile from the gallbladder backwashes into the stomach), pernicious anemia (an autoimmune B12 anemia), and food intolerances. Gluten, in particular, may be associated with gastritis.

A recent study found that people with celiac disease are much more ly to suffer from gastritis.

[12] They are also more ly to have symptoms of heartburn and reflux, and these symptoms have been shown to completely resolve on a gluten-free diet.[13] This may also be true for people with non-celiac gluten sensitivity.

Other food intolerances, such as to dairy, soy, corn, egg, yeast, nuts, grains, or other foods, should also be ruled out as the very cause of your gastritis.

The Dangers of Relying on Antacids for Gastritis Relief

Gastritis flare up symptoms are a red flag your digestive system is in distress. Although antacids and heartburn medications can provide quick gastritis relief, they simply turn off the alarm bells but do not address the underlying causes of your stomach pain. They also come with risks, such as increased development of osteoporosis.

It’s better to identify and then manage the root cause of your gastritis.

An integrative physician knows exactly how to help you identify the etiology of your gastritis and can then offer healing therapies individualized to that cause.

For occasional flare-ups, however, a number of herbs and nutritional compounds have been shown to tame the “fire in your stomach” and provide safe gastritis relief:

  • Deglycyrrhizinated licorice root extract (DGL)
  • L-glutamine
  • Mastic gum
  • Citrus bioflavonoids
  • Bismuth citrate
  • Gamma oryzanol

Change Your Diet for Gastritis Relief

Of course, what you actually put in your stomach can determine whether you have gastritis. Relief and prevention isn’t just about avoiding spicy or acidic food and drink. Rather, it’s about eating a diet that respects the integrity of your stomach lining by focusing on whole, unprocessed, natural foods and the avoidance of foods to which you are intolerant.

Many people find that they can relieve or prevent gastritis symptoms by avoiding a high-carbohydrate diet of processed foods, sweets, sodas, coffee drinks, and foods with trans fats. Instead, opt for a whole foods diet with plenty of protein, natural fats (not processed vegetable oils), and produce.

Medications and Alcohol: Causes of Gastritis

Sometimes, gastritis symptoms can stem from taking medications, including some very common drugs such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs). Such NSAIDs as aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen are widely known to damage the stomach lining and can cause gastritis and ulcers.[1]

If you’ve been taking NSAIDs for chronic pain or inflammation and have any of the symptoms listed above, it’s important to see your doctor to determine whether gastritis and/or an NSAID-induced peptic ulcer is present.

If possible, work with a practitioner versed in natural alternatives to NSAIDs, such as anti-inflammatory diets and natural supplements with inflammation-fighting actions, curcumin.

Despite the widespread belief that alcohol and acidic foods and drinks, such as coffee and citrus, cause gastritis, the evidence for this is absent.

In fact, moderate alcohol consumption and certain antimicrobial essential oils in citrus may even be therapeutic.

[2-4] Nevertheless, some people with gastritis may want to temporarily avoid coffee, alcohol, and acidic foods during treatment as they may aggravate symptoms.

For related reading about gastritis relief, visit these posts:

This blog was adapted from an article written by  Elaine Fawcett N.T.P. and published in 2012 as “Looking for Genuine Relief for Gastritis Symptoms?”

[1]  Arthritis Res Ther. 2013; 15(Suppl 3): S3.

[2]  Int J Cancer. 2009 Dec 15;125(12):2918-22.

[3] BMC Complement Altern Med. 2015 Jul 30;15:256.

[4] Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2012;2012:509451.

[5] Gut. 2015 Oct;64(10):1650-68.

[6] FEMS Immunol Med Microbiol. 2011 Nov;63(2):153-64.

[7] Helicobacter. 2016 Feb;21(1):3-10.

[8] Toxicol Res. 2014 Mar;30(1):45-8.

[9] Phytother Res. 2010 May;24(5):649-56.

[10] Ann Transl Med. 2015 Jun;3(9):122.

[11] Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 1999 Apr;13(4):483-7.

[12] Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2015 Jul;42(2):180-7.

[13] Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2011  Mar;9(3):214-9.

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abdominal pain, alcohol, alcohol consumption, anemia, antacids for gastritis, antibiotics, antimicrobial, appetite, arthritis, b12, bacteria, bacterial infection, belching, bloating, cancer, cause of gastritis, causes of gastritis, celiac, celiac disease, chronic pain, coffee, corn, curcumin, dairy, dangers, diet, digestive, elaine fawcett, food, food intolerances, foods to avoid, gallbladder, garlic, gastritis, gastritis flare up, gastritis flare up symptoms, gastritis pain, gastritis relief, gastritis remedy, gastritis symptoms, gluten, gluten sensitivity, health, heartburn, heartburn and reflux, helicobacter pylori, hiccups, indigestion, infection, inflammation, integrative, licorice root, natural foods, natural supplements, natural treatments, naturopathic, naturopathic doctor, nsaids, nutrients, nuts, osteoporosis, pain, peptic ulcer, ppi, probiotics, processed foods, protein, proton pump inhibitor, reflux, relief for gastritis, side effects, soy, stomach cancer, stomach lining, stomach pain, supplements, the gallbladder, ulcer, ulcers, zinc

Tom P. Vick founded Natural Health Advisory Institute and operated it for nearly 10 years before its 2016 sale to Belvoir Media Group. He launched NHA after moving to Dallas … Read More

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Your Guide to Living With Gastritis

Gastritis occurs when the lining of the stomach becomes inflamed after it's been damaged. It's a common condition with a wide range of causes.

For most people, gastritis is not serious and improves quickly if treated. But if not, it can last for years.

Many people with gastritis caused by a bacterial infection do not have any symptoms.

In other cases, gastritis can cause:

  • indigestion
  • gnawing or burning stomach pain
  • feeling and being sick
  • feeling full after eating

If the stomach lining has been worn away (erosive gastritis) and exposed to stomach acid, symptoms may include pain, bleeding or a stomach ulcer.

The symptoms of gastritis may come on suddenly and severely (acute gastritis) or last a long time (chronic gastritis).

If you have indigestion and stomach pain, you can try treating this yourself with changes to your diet and lifestyle, or with medicines you can get from a pharmacy, such as antacids.

See a GP if:

  • you have indigestion symptoms lasting a week or longer, or it's causing you severe pain or discomfort
  • you think it's brought on by medicine you have been prescribed
  • you're vomiting blood or have blood in your poo (your poo may appear black)

Stomach ache and abdominal pain are not always a sign of gastritis.

The pain could be caused by a wide range of other things, from trapped wind to irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

A GP may recommend 1 or more of the following tests:

  • a stool test – to check for infection or bleeding from the stomach
  • a breath test for Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection – this involves drinking a glass of clear, tasteless liquid that contains radioactive carbon and blowing into a bag
  • an endoscopy – a flexible tube (endoscope) is passed down your throat and into your oesophagus and stomach to look for signs of inflammation
  • a barium swallow – you're given some barium solution, which shows up clearly on X-rays as it passes through your digestive system

Gastritis is usually caused by 1 of the following:

  • an H. pylori bacterial infection
  • excessive use of cocaine or alcohol
  • regularly taking aspirin, ibuprofen or other painkillers classed as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
  • a stressful event – such as a bad injury or critical illness, or major surgery
  • less commonly, an autoimmune reaction – when the immune system mistakenly attacks the body's own cells and tissues (in this case, the stomach lining)

H. pylori gastritis

Many people become infected with H. pylori bacteria and do not realise it. These stomach infections are common and do not usually cause symptoms.

But an H. pylori infection can sometimes cause recurring bouts of indigestion, as the bacteria can cause inflammation of the stomach lining.

This sort of gastritis is more common in older age groups and is usually the cause of chronic (persistent) non-erosive cases.

An H. pylori stomach infection is usually lifelong, unless it's treated with eradication therapy.

Treatment aims to reduce the amount of acid in the stomach to relieve symptoms, allowing the stomach lining to heal and to tackle any underlying cause.

You may be able to treat gastritis yourself, depending on the cause.

Easing symptoms

  • antacids – these over-the-counter medicines neutralise the acid in your stomach, which can provide rapid pain relief
  • histamine 2 (H2) blockers – these medicines decrease acid production and are available to buy from your pharmacist and on prescription
  • proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), such as omeprazole – these medicines decrease acid production even more effectively than H2 blockers

Some low-dose PPIs can be bought from your pharmacist without a prescription.

You'll need a prescription from a GP for stronger doses.

Treating H. pylori infection

If an H. pylori infection is the cause of your gastritis, you'll need to take a course of antibiotics alongside a proton pump inhibitor.

If you think the cause of your gastritis is repeated use of NSAID painkillers, try switching to a different painkiller that's not in the NSAID class, such as paracetamol.

You may want to talk to a GP about this.

Also consider:

  • eating smaller, more frequent meals
  • avoiding foods that can irritate the stomach, such as spicy, acidic or fried foods
  • avoiding or cutting down on alcohol
  • managing stress

Gastritis that lasts for a long time can increase your risk of developing:

  • a stomach ulcer
  • polyps (small growths) in your stomach
  • tumours in your stomach, which may or may not be cancerous
  • Gastroenteritis is inflammation (irritation) of the stomach and bowel, caused by an infection.
  • Gastritis is inflammation of the stomach lining specifically, and not always caused by infection.




Gastritis is a condition in which the stomach lining—known as the mucosa—is inflamed. The stomach lining contains special cells that produce acid and enzymes, which help break down food for digestion, and mucus, which protects the stomach lining from acid. When the stomach

Gastritis may be acute or chronic. Sudden, severe inflammation of the stomach lining is called acute gastritis. Inflammation that lasts for a long time is called chronic gastritis. If chronic gastritis is not treated, it may last for years or even a lifetime.

Erosive gastritis is a type of gastritis that often does not cause significant inflammation but can wear away the stomach lining. Erosive gastritis can cause bleeding, erosions, or ulcers. Erosive gastritis may be acute or chronic.


People who have gastritis may experience pain or discomfort in the upper abdomen, but many people with gastritis do not have any symptoms. The term gastritis is sometimes mistakenly used to describe any symptoms of pain or discomfort in the upper abdomen. Many diseases and disorders can cause these symptoms. Most people who have upper abdominal symptoms do not have gastritis.


Acute gastritis is an irritation or erosion of the stomach’s inner lining.  Alcohol, aspirin, and drugs ibuprofen may erode the mucosal lining of the stomach and cause abdominal pain.


Chronic gastritis refers to a wide range of problems of the gastric tissues, and may be caused by medical conditions such as Crohn’s disease, certain connective tissue disorders, and liver or kidney failure.


Helicobacter pylori is a unique bacteria that colonizes the stomach of more than half of the world’s population, and this bacterial infection plays a key role in the problems many patients experience with gastric disease.


Medications that reduce the amount of acid in the stomach can relieve symptoms that may accompany gastritis and promote healing of the stomach lining. These medications include:

  • antacids, such as Alka-Seltzer, Maalox, Mylanta,Rolaids, and Rio-pan. Many brands on the market use different combinations of three basic salts—magnesium, calcium, and aluminum—with hydroxide or bicarbonate ions to neutralize the 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.

Treating H. pylori infections is important, even if a person is not experiencing symptoms from the infection. Untreated H. pylori gastritis may lead to cancer or the development of ulcers in the stomach or small intestine.

The most common treatment is a triple therapy that combines a PPI and two antibiotics—usually amoxicillin and clarithromycin—to kill the bacteria.

Treatment may also include bismuth subsalicylate (Pepto-Bismol) to help kill bacteria.

Click on image below to download your own printable copy of this handout


Ulcer and Gastritis

Your Guide to Living With Gastritis

Gastritis and an ulcer are conditions that affect the stomach and small intestine, and they share many symptoms, such as abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite and weight loss. There are many differences, though.

Gastritis and an ulcer both inflame the stomach lining, but gastritis is a general inflammation, and an ulcer is a patch of eroded stomach lining. Though gastritis and an ulcer share symptoms, an intense, localized pain is much more common with an ulcer, and an ulcer also carries the risk of bleeding, cancer and eventual stomach perforation.

Doctors use a variety of techniques to diagnose each specific ailment, and the methods of treatment vary as well.


Gastritis can be caused by a variety of reasons irritation due to chronic vomiting, excessive alcohol use, chronic vomiting, stress, or the use of certain medications or other anti-inflammatory drugs. It may also be caused by any of the following bacteria's and infections:

  • Bile reflux: A backflow of bile into the stomach from the bile tract (that connects to the liver and gallbladder).
  • Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori): A bacteria that lives in the mucous lining of the stomach.
  • Infections caused by bacteria and viruses
  • Pernicious anemia: A form of anemia that occurs when the stomach lacks a naturally occurring substance needed to properly absorb and digest

If gastritis is left untreated, it can lead to a severe loss in blood, or in some cases increase the risk of developing stomach cancer.


  • A bacterium. A common cause of ulcers is the bacterium Helicobacter pylori. H. pylori bacteria commonly live and multiply within the mucous layer that covers and protects tissues that line the stomach and small intestine.
  • Regular use of pain relievers. Certain over-the-counter and prescription pain medications can irritate or inflame the lining of your stomach and small intestine. These medications include aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), naproxen (Aleve, Anaprox), ketoprofen and others. Peptic ulcers are more common in older adults who take pain medications frequently, such as might be common in people with osteoarthritis.
  • Other medications. Other prescription medications that can also lead to ulcers include medications used to treat osteoporosis called bisphosphonates (Actonel, Fosamax, others).

Helicobacter Pylori Testing

Torrance Memorial Physician Network provides breath test for Helicobacter Pylori. Helicobacter Pylori (H. pylori) is the bacterium (germ) responsible for most ulcers and many cases of stomach inflammation (chronic gastritis).

What Happens During the Test?

During the test, you will be asked to exhale into a balloon- bag. The air you breathe into this bag is tested to provide a basis for comparison (called a baseline sample).

You will then be asked to drink a small amount of a pleasant lemon-flavored solution. Fifteen minutes after drinking the solution, a second breath sample will be taken.

The air you breathe into this bag is tested for an increase in carbon dioxide.

After The Test

  • Your breath samples are sent to the laboratory where they are tested.
  • You may resume your normal activities.
  • You may resume your normal diet and medicines unless you have other tests that require dietary restrictions.

Test Results

  • Your doctor will notify you as soon as your laboratory test results are available.
  • If the test indicates that you do have a H. pylori infection, it can be treated with antibiotics.
  • One month after antibiotic treatment your doctor might order a repeat breath test to make sure the infection has been cured.

How To Schedule A Test

Please consult with your physician to schedule a testing.

All procedures are directed by the guidance of your Torrance Memorial Physician Network primary care physician.


Gastritis: Overview

Your Guide to Living With Gastritis

Created: June 30, 2015; Last Update: June 28, 2018; Next update: 2021.

The membranes lining the stomach wall protect it from acid and germs. If this protective lining is irritated or damaged, it can become inflamed. Long-lasting inflammations can further damage the stomach lining and lead to stomach (gastric) ulcers.

Inflammation of the stomach lining is called gastritis. It's usually caused by certain bacteria or the regular use of anti-inflammatory painkillers.

There are two kinds of gastritis: acute and chronic. Acute gastritis is typically accompanied by very noticeable stomach and bowel problems that usually go away again on their own after a few days. Chronic gastritis, on the other hand, may go unnoticed. Sometimes it's not discovered until stomach ulcers have developed, which then cause noticeable symptoms.

The symptoms of acute gastritis include the following:

  • Stomach pain
  • Feeling full
  • Heartburn
  • Nausea and sometimes vomiting
  • Belching
  • Lack of appetite
  • A bloated stomach

Some of these symptoms may also be signs of other conditions gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD), an irritable stomach or bowel, and tummy bugs (gastroenteritis).

People with chronic gastritis often only have mild symptoms, or none at all. But they may have symptoms those associated with acute gastritis.

Common causes of gastritis include an infection with Helicobacter pylori bacteria and taking anti-inflammatory painkillers known as NSAIDs.

Helicobacter pylori bacteria

Helicobacter bacteria upset the balance of stomach acid production. As a result, too much acid is made. This can damage the lining and wall of the stomach. But Helicobacter infections only rarely lead to gastritis: Although an estimated 40 100 people in Germany have Helicobacter pylori in their stomach, only about 4 to 8 of them develop gastritis or a peptic (stomach or duodenal) ulcer.

The bacteria can be spread through saliva (spit), vomit, stool, drinking water or food. It is thought that most people already become infected in childhood, through close contact with family members.

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)

This group of drugs includes acetylsalicylic acid (the drug in medicines Aspirin), diclofenac, ibuprofen and naproxen. Side effects are rare when these painkillers are taken for only a short time to treat acute pain.

But if they are used for a longer time – such as several weeks or months – they may affect the protective function of the stomach lining because they block the production of the hormone prostaglandin. One of the things prostaglandin does is regulate the production of gastric (stomach) mucus and substances that neutralize stomach acid.

If there's not enough prostaglandin, the stomach wall no longer has enough protection against stomach acid.

Combining painkillers with steroids can make this damaging effect worse.

Other causes

Smoking, long-term stress and certain kinds of foods ( fatty, sugary or spicy dishes) may also cause stomach problems. Drinking too much alcohol can lead to acute gastritis too.

Another, less common, cause of gastritis is a condition called bile reflux. This is where bile flows upward the small intestine and into the stomach, where it damages the lining.

Gastritis is common in Germany. It is estimated that 20 100 people have acute gastritis at some point in their lives. Most women get gastritis between the ages of 45 and 64, and most men develop it over the age of 65. The risk of gastritis generally increases with age.

If the lining of the stomach or bowel no longer provide enough protection, their walls may become inflamed or damaged. An ulcer may develop in the stomach or duodenum as a result. The duodenum is the first part of the small intestine, just after the stomach. Gastric (stomach) ulcers and duodenal ulcers can lead to serious complications bleeding.

If gastritis becomes chronic and the membrane lining is always inflamed, you might become anemic too. Cancerous tumors may develop, but that is very rare.

To find out what is causing the symptoms, the doctor will first feel your stomach and upper abdomen area. Depending on the type of symptoms, your stomach might also be examined from the inside to find out more. This examination takes five to ten minutes.

It is done using an instrument called a gastroscope which is gently inserted into your stomach through your mouth and food pipe. Doctors can use the gastroscope camera to look at the walls of your food pipe (esophagus), stomach and duodenum. In this way, they can find changes such as inflammation or bleeding in the stomach lining.

They can also use the gastroscope to take some tissue from the lining and then have the sample checked for Helicobacter pylori bacteria or cell changes such as cancer. 

Sometimes a special breath test is done to confirm the presence of a Helicobacter pylori infection. These bacteria can also be detected using a blood test or stool test.

If you notice that certain foods, stress, alcohol or nicotine make the stomach problems worse, you can try changing your diet, avoiding alcohol, quitting smoking and/or reducing stress in your daily life. If these lifestyle changes are not enough to relieve the symptoms, medication is considered.

Gastritis is typically treated with acid-lowering medication. Depending on the type and severity of the symptoms, the following drugs can be used:

  • Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) omeprazole or pantoprazole reduce the production of stomach acid.
  • H2 blockers such as ranitidine and famotidine also reduce acid production.
  • Antacids aluminium hydroxide or magnesium hydroxide neutralize the acid already in your stomach.

If the gastritis is caused by a Helicobacter infection, proton pump inhibitors are combined with two or three antibiotics.

If it's caused by a painkiller, you can consult your doctor about switching to a different medication or combining the painkiller with an acid-lowering drug. Should an NSAID have to be taken regularly, it's possible to take it along with acid-lowering medication from the start, as a precaution.


  • IQWiG health information is written with the aim of helpingpeople understand the advantages and disadvantages of the main treatment options and healthcare services.Because IQWiG is a German institute, some of the information provided here is specific to theGerman health care system. The suitability of any of the described options in an individualcase can be determined by talking to a doctor. We do not offer individual consultations.Our information is the results of good-quality studies. It is written by ateam ofhealth care professionals, scientists and editors, and reviewed by external experts. You canfind a detailed description of how our health information is produced and updated inour methods.


Gastritis: Stomach Inflammation Diet, Symptoms & Cure

Your Guide to Living With Gastritis

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Gastritis is inflammation of the stomach lining. There are two types of gastritis, acute and chronic.

What are the signs and symptoms of gastritis?

Some people with gastritis may not have any symptoms; however, both acute and chronic gastritis may have symptoms and signs of abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, and occasionally, belching, bloating, loss of appetite and indigestion.

What causes gastritis?

A bacterium called Helicobacter pylori or H. pylori, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are the two main causes of gastritis; however, there are many other causes of the condition, for example, infectious agents, autoimmune problems, diseases Crohn's disease, sarcoidosis, and isolated granulomatosis gastritis.

How do you know if you have gastritis?

Gastritis can be diagnosed by the your symptoms and history (for example, NSAID and/or alcohol consumption), or by breath, blood, stool, immunological, and biopsy tests to detect H. pylori, and other tests endoscopy or radiologic studies demonstrate mucosal changes.

What is the treatment for gastritis?

The treatment for gastritis varies according to the cause. Other less common causes may be treated similarly, but do not treat the underlying cause.

Is there a diet for gastritis?

Gastritis symptoms can be aggravated by chemical irritants that cause or aggravate the symptoms of gastritis should be reduced or stopped all together.

For example, stop smoking cigarettes, avoid drinking excessive amounts of alcohol, avoid caffeinated, decaffeinated, and carbonated drinks; and fruit juices that contain citric acid, for example, grapefruit, orange, pineapple, etc., and avoid high-fat foods.

There is no gastritis diet, however, the growth of H. pylori may be stopped by a diet rich in fiber, and foods that contain flavonoids, for example, certain teas, onions, garlic, berries, celery, kale, broccoli, parsley, thyme, foods with soy, and legumes, for example, lentils, kidney, black, soy, pinto, and navy beans.

What home remedies help reduce symptoms of gastritis?

Home remedies may help reduce gastritis symptoms, but usually does not treat the underlying cause of the condition.

How long does it take for gastritis to go away?

People with acute gastritis usually recover completely with no complications. However, chronic gastritis may have a range of outcomes from good (early treatment) to poor if serious complications develop. Rarely, complications can occur from acute gastritis.

Complications from chronic gastritis include peptic ulcer, bleeding ulcers, anemia, gastric cancers, MALT lymphoma, renal problems, strictures, bowel obstruction, or even death.

If underlying causes of gastritis (for example, alcohol, or NSAIDs usage) are treated or not used, gastritis also may be prevented.

Can gastritis be cured?

Gastritis may be cured if the underlying cause(s) is cured.

How can you prevent gastritis?

Since gastritis is infections and can you can avoid it by practicing good hand washing techniques, for example, wash the hands thoroughly and frequently. To reduce the risk of gastritis avoid situations where you are exposed to chemicals, radiation, or toxins.


Gastritis: myths and facts

Your Guide to Living With Gastritis

Gastritis has to be one of our most common complaints in everyday life. We've all experienced that burning pain in our stomachs at some point. Let's look at some of the most common questions around this condition.

Myth: Eating citrus fruits can give you gastritis.

Fact: No.

Citrus fruits on their own won't increase the acidity of the stomach enough to cause gastritis.

What happens is that acidic foods can trigger gastroesophageal reflux or GERD,(food coming back up from the stomach into the esophagus) and cause symptoms such as a burning sensation in the upper central abdomen, heartburn, and bloating, explains gastroenterologist Dr.

Oscar Gutiérrez.

Because there are many causes of inflammation and irritation of the stomach lining, the best thing to do is to pay attention to which foods repeatedly give you digestive problems, because everyone is sensitive to different things and there are no hard and fast rules. What is good for one person can be terrible for someone else and it's best to eliminate those trigger foods from your diet.

Myth: Gastritis is caused by stress.

Fact: No.

Though your mental health can accelerate or worsen your gastritis pain – and many other health problems – there isn't sufficient medical evidence showing that stress is responsible for chronic gastritis, or, gastritis that persists over months or years.

Worries, bad temper, and overexcitement can temporarily increase acid secretion from the stomach, and this can add to the sharp pain in the upper abdomen that happens during acute gastritis (gastritis that lasts for a short period of less than a few days).

Myth: Going hungry can cause gastritis.

Fact: Not directly. Skipping meals and going for a long time without eating can cause the gastric juices to irritate the stomach lining. In addition, when we are very hungry, we tend to eat too much food, which can cause the digestive system to become increasingly sensitive. It's best to eat five to six small meals per day, and enjoy what's on your plate.

Myth: Smoking damages your lungs, but not your stomach.

Fact: Wrong! Most people don't associate smoking with gastritis, but it's been shown that nicotine and other toxins in cigarettes increase production of hydrochloric acid in the stomach, which can cause a b gastritis. Smoking is also a direct cause of esophageal, pancreatic, and stomach cancer.

Until recently, it was believed that coffee could cause this condition, but no extensive studies have demonstrated that moderate consumption of coffee (between three and four cups per day) can cause these symptoms.

On the contrary, the soluble fiber found in coffee contains many substances (antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins) that are beneficial for gut flora.

Myth: Gastritis is an infection.

Fact: Gastritis is caused by a bacterial infection.

In the eighties, Australian gastroenterologist Barry Marshall found that bacteria living in the stomach lining, called Helicobacter pylori, are directly responsible for the majority of cases of gastritis, ulcers, and stomach cancer, because they cause permanent inflammation of the lining. Recently, the World Health Organization gave the bacteria a category 1 carcinogen classification for its proven cancer-causing ability. Some people may take medications that contain a component known as Omeprazole, which reduces the amount of hydrochloric acid in the stomach, in order to alleviate symptoms, but this does not eradicate the bacteria. Treatment involves using specific antibiotics to attack the microorganism at the root.

Myth: Children don't get gastritis.

Fact: Clinical studies have shown that up to 80% of children in developing countries have had a Helicobacter pylori infection before the age of 10. This means that children are susceptible to the illness.

Additionally, children normally follow the habits of adults, and it is increasingly common that conditions which were previously only diagnosed in adults are being diagnosed in children.

Packaged snacks and fast food contain fat, sauces, condiments, preservatives, and additives that irritate the stomach lining.

And let's not forget that soft drinks, carbonated or not, contain a mixture of various chemical elements and artificial flavors that increase acidity and acid secretion in the stomach. Because of these factors, gastritis can happen to anyone, regardless of age, gender, or socio-economic status.

Myth: Pain-killers can help to alleviate gastritis.

Fact: No.

Pain-killing medications analgesics and anti-inflammatories that are sold over-the-counter, as well as antibiotics, weaken the stomach's defenses.
They should only be taken occasionally and even less often if you have stomach pain. Many people take this kind of analgesics to alleviate gastritis, when all they end up doing is aggravating their condition. These people should only take analgesics regularly for certain conditions, such as arthritis, and their dose should be prescribed by their doctor.

They should also avoid medications that interact directly with the stomach, and try to always take the medication with food or with antacids, to reduce pain in the stomach lining.

Myth: Antacids cure gastritis.

Fact: No.

Antacids are a short-acting medication –they alleviate the problem but do not cure it. And they're not harmless.
A Dutch study published last year in The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) showed that antacids can increase vulnerability to other types of infections, while the natural acidity of the stomach is a defense mechanism against pathogens in the food that we eat.

By blocking the production of acid, microorganisms are able to cause a higher number of infections. When it is necessary to take antacids for more than a couple weeks, it is important to see your doctor to determine the cause of your symptoms.

Myth: Drinking lots of water helps.

Fact: No.

Though water is very important, the quantity of liquid that the body needs is between two and three liters per day, including what we get from soups, fruit, salads, coffee, tea, and juice. Drinking more than this can be harmful for many reasons, including the fact that the kidneys are not capable of filtering large amounts quickly enough.

This means that components of the blood (sodium, potassium and chloride) are diluted, which can lead to swelling of the brain and other changes to the vital organs. Drinking too much water also alters the pH of your stomach which can intensify symptoms of gastritis.

The best way to treat gastritis is naturally, with a few simple lifestyle changes: eating more fruits (except citrus) and vegetables, avoiding smoking and excessive drinking, and learning to face difficulties calmly.