Understanding Erosive Gastritis
Erosive gastritis may be caused by several conditions such as a viral infection, alcohol, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications, vascular injury and stress. The severity of the damage to the lining of the stomach determines whether the gastritis is erosive or non-erosive.
In addition, erosive gastritis may be acute or chronic in which significant inflammation may not be present, but the stomach lining wears away. Acute stress gastritis is a type of erosive gastritis that occurs in about 5 percent of critically ill patients, reports Merck Manuals Online Medical Library. The longer a patient stays in ICU without receiving enteral feedings, the chance of acute stress gastritis increases.
Erosive Gastritis Symptoms
In chronic erosive gastritis, symptoms such as bloating, indigestion and belching may appear so gradually that you may ignore them as anything significant. As the condition progresses and the stomach lining starts to wear away, you may experience bleeding, reports the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse.
Signs indicating possible bleeding in the stomach from erosive gastritis include:
- bloody vomit
- bright red blood in the stool
- dark tar-like stools
A sudden onset of bleeding may indicate acute erosive gastritis and should be considered a medical emergency. Contact your doctor or go to the emergency room for immediate treatment.
Diagnosing Erosive Gastritis
A complete medical history including symptoms associated with erosive gastritis is all your doctor will need to start treatment in many cases, according to The Merck Manual of Medical Information Second Home Edition. However, if there is any question about the diagnosis, an examination of your stomach using an endoscope will confirm or rule out erosive gastritis.
An endoscopy is an examination using a lighted flexible tube passed through the mouth into the stomach to examine closely the lining of the stomach for areas of wear or erosion. If indicated, a biopsy of the affected area may be collected for further diagnostics.
Erosive Gastritis Treatment
Treatment of erosive gastritis depends on the extent of the condition. Severe bleeding may require surgical intervention to remove the affected area in your stomach, or maybe the entire stomach, if damage is extreme.
If the cause of your erosive gastritis is nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines, your doctor may discontinue or modify the usage. Other treatment options for erosive gastritis may include acid reducing or neutralizing medications to aid in the healing process.
Preventing Erosive Gastritis
The following suggestions for improving your overall health and changing your lifestyle may reduce the chances of getting erosive gastritis:
- Avoid or limit alcohol consumption.
- Maintain a regular exercise program.
- Eat a well-balanced nutritious diet.
- Manage your stress level.
If you are taking any over-the-counter or prescription medication and notice signs of stomach distress, talk to your doctor or pharmacist. There may be an alternative to the medication, or it may need to be taken with food.
Merck Manuals Online Medical Library: Understanding Erosive Gastritis https://www.merck.com/mmpe/sec02/ch013/ch013c.html
National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse: Symptoms of Erosive Gastritis https://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/gastritis/
The Merck Manual of Medical Information Second Home Edition: Diagnosing Erosive Gastritis https://www.merck.com/mmhe/print/sec09/ch121/ch121b.html