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Erosive Gastritis: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Erosive Gastritis: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Gastritis is a condition where there is inflammation of the lining of the stomach. It can be acute, which means it occurs suddenly and may last for only a short time, or chronic, meaning it develops gradually and lasts longer. One type of gastritis is erosive gastritis.

Here’s what you need to know.

Erosive Gastritis, An Overview

Erosive gastritis, which experts also refer to as reactive gastritis, happens when the lining of the stomach wears away (erodes) due to damage to its defenses.

It can be acute, presenting with bleeding, or subacute and chronic with little to no symptoms.

Doctors diagnose erosive gastritis through an endoscopy procedure. In this imaging test, the doctor inserts a thin tube into the stomach through the mouth and throat. The tube carries a small camera, which enables visualization.

Treatment for erosive gastritis depends on the symptoms and severity of the condition.

Common Causes

Reports say the exact cause of erosive gastritis is unknown. But health experts have identified these common causes:

Of course, they have also accounted for other, less common causes, including:

  • Infections
  • Direct trauma to the stomach (for example, injury caused by nasogastric tube)
  • Vascular injury
  • Radiation
  • Health conditions, like Crohn’s disease.

Signs and Symptoms

Upon checking, the doctors usually see multiple lesions in the lining of the stomach. They might also notice punctates or tiny holes on the surface.

Signs and symptoms vary, but patients with mild erosive gastritis may experience indigestion, nausea, and vomiting.

Other symptoms also include heavy or burning feeling in the pit of the stomach, weakness, and loss of appetite.

Still, in many cases, the first signs are:

  • Hematemesis (vomiting blood)
  • Melena (passage of black, tarry stool)
  • Blood in the nasogastric fluids

Experts say the bleeding is often mild to moderate, but can also be massive, particularly in cases of acute stress gastritis. Severe bleeding may lead to anemia.

It’s worth noting that some people may not experience symptoms at all until the condition has advanced. This lack of symptoms often manifest in chronic cases (patients who persistently take aspirin or NSAIDs).

Can Erosive Gastritis Be Treated?

There are treatment strategies for reactive gastritis, but they depend on several things, primarily on the patient’s symptoms.

For instance, if there’s active bleeding in the stomach, the doctor might recommend endoscopic hemostasis, a procedure that controls bleeding in the upper gastrointestinal tract. Endoscopic hemostasis may use clips, injections, or induce clotting through heat.

Since erosive gastritis also results in excessive acid, the doctor may also give the patient medicines like H2 blocker or proton pump inhibitors.

Severe cases might need aggressive treatment with blood transfusion and IV fluids. On the other hand, mild cases might only require the elimination of triggering agents (alcohol, NSAIDs, etc.) and some medicines to reduce stomach acid.

Correct Diagnosis is Crucial

If you develop any of the symptoms discussed, it’s best to consult your doctor right away, so they can give you a proper diagnosis. You see, several diseases also result in similar symptoms.

For instance, Crohn’s disease (which may be a cause) also manifests as inflammation in the wall of the gastrointestinal tract. Peptic ulcer may likewise result in a single lesion in the esophagus, stomach, or duodenum (the first part of the small intestine).

With correct diagnosis, you’ll receive the appropriate and effective treatment.

Key Takeaways

Erosive gastritis results in inflammation and the wearing away of the lining of the stomach. Symptoms, as well as treatment, vary depending on the severity of the condition. If you have unexplained symptoms, such as vomiting blood and passing out black, tarry stool, set an appointment with your doctor as soon as you can.

Learn more about Digestive Health here.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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Written by Lorraine Bunag, R.N. Updated Apr 05
Fact Checked by Kristel Lagorza