By Dr Ananya Mandal, MD
Gastritis refers to inflammation of the inner lining of the stomach, which can be caused by a number of factors.
If the onset of gastritis is severe and sudden, the condition is referred to as acute gastritis, while gastritis that occurs slowly over a long period is referred to as chronic.
In some cases, the condition can give rise to ulcers and even increase the risk of stomach cancer, but for most individuals, gastritis is not a severe condition and passes when treated.
Acute gastritis occurs when the mucosal barriers of the stomach are damaged. This can occur as a result of:
- Regular use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). NSAIDs such as aspirin and ibuprofen inhibit cyclooxygenase-1 (COX-1, an enzyme that helps make mediators of inflammation), which can increase the risk for peptic ulcer. Usually, short-term use of these agents is not dangerous, but long-term use can lead to gastritis.
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Major surgery, traumatic injury, infection or burns.
- Gastritis can also result after weight loss surgeries such as gastric banding.
One of the most common causes of chronic gastritis is infection with the bacteria Helicobacter pylori. which can also lead to complications such as peptic ulcer disease and gastric neoplasia.
Other causes include chronic bile reflux, pernicious anemia, some autoimmune disorders, Crohn’s disease, and stress.
Reviewed by Sally Robertson, BSc
Last Updated: Jun 24, 2014