8 symptoms of gastritis
Written by: Editors
What is gastritis?
Gastritis is a general term for a group of conditions with one thing in common: inflammation of the lining of the stomach. Gastritis may occur suddenly (acute gastritis) or appear slowly over time (chronic gastritis). There are two types of chronic gastritis, both types have different causes.
What is the difference between acute and chronic gastritis?
Gastritis often causes a gnawing or burning ache (indigestion) in your upper abdomen. Other common symptoms include nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, weight loss and dizziness. Vomiting, coughing blood or blood in stools can also be symptoms of gastritis.
Gastritis doesn't always cause signs and symptoms. The occurrence of symptoms depends in part on the type of gastritis: chronic or acute.
Chronic gastritis is a long-term condition and is classified into two types: type A gastritis and type B gastritis.
- Type A gastritis is an autoimmune disorder in which the immune system mistakenly attacks the body's own tissues. In this case, the immune system produces antibodies against the cells in the stomach lining. This causes the stomach lining to become inflamed.
- Type B is caused by organisms that have entered the body, such as H. pylori bacteria.
Patients with chronic gastritis may have non-specific symptoms or no symptoms at all. In the case of symptoms, the symptoms are often the same as for acute gastritis.
What are the symptoms of gastritis?
If you have any of the following symptoms, you may have a gastritis:
- Loss of appetite.
- Upper abdominal pain. Often these pain symptoms increase at night and decrease after eating.
- Feeling full after eating a small amount of food.
- Tightness in the upper region of the stomach.
- Vomiting blood.
What are the effects of gastritis?
Chronic gastritis can lead to other health problems inside the stomach. For example, atrophic gastritis, a condition marked by thinning of the inner lining of the stomach wall and the loss of gland cells in the lining. In addition to these symptoms, atrophic gastritis can also lead to anaemia and nerve damage due to reduced Vitamin B12 absorption in the intestines.
Elevated risk for gastric cancer
Gastric atrophy is also associated with an elevated risk for gastric cancer. This serious condition often only causes complaints when it is advanced, many of which are similar to those of gastritis. Other symptoms include weight loss, heartburn, dizziness, fatigue due to anaemia, and food passage problems.
When should I see my doctor?
In most cases, the symptoms of gastritis will go away with time. You should see your doctor right away if:
- Any of the above symptoms last longer than two weeks.
- The symptoms get worse or keep coming back.
- You are unable to swallow your food properly.
- You are vomiting blood.
- You have blood in your stools or have stools that appear black.
- You have persistent abdominal pain.
Gastritis can be difficult to diagnose. Listen to your body and, if you continue to feel unwell, keep a diary and make a note of your symptoms. This way, you can monitor your symptoms closely and inform your doctor accordingly.