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.

Symptoms of gastritis

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

In other cases, gastritis can cause:

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).

When to see a GP

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:

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).

Diagnosing gastritis

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

Possible causes of gastritis

H. pylori gastritis

Gastritis is usually caused by 1 of the following:

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.

Treating gastritis

Easing symptoms

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.

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.

Things you can do to ease gastritis

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:

Possible complications of gastritis

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

Gastritis or gastroenteritis?

Page last reviewed: 20 May 2019
Next review due: 20 May 2022