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Gastritis Symptoms

Gastritis Symptoms
Causes and Risk Factors

Symptoms of gastritis
True gastritis can be acute, in which case symptoms are common, or else it may be a chronic, often silent problem. In fact, seniors have a higher likelihood of experiencing painless stomach damage until they are suddenly ill from internal bleeding. Typically, however, people experiencing gastritis vomit. Resulting vomit is clear, green or yellow, has a bloody streak in it, or is completely bloody, depending on the severity of inflammation. Sometimes, blood which has been digested can appear dark to black. Bloating, burning, and a feeling of fullness in the upper abdomen are also signs of gastritis. The main signs and symptoms of gastritis include:

  • a feeling of fullness in the upper abdomen after eating
  • a gnawing or burning ache or pain (indigestion) in the upper abdomen that is worse or better with eating
  • belching
  • bloating
  • dark stools
  • hiccups
  • indigestion
  • loss of appetite
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • vomiting blood or material that looks like coffee grounds
  • weight loss

Symptoms of acute gastritis
Acute gastritis is characterized by some form of abdominal pain. Since gastritis often occurs in severely ill, hospitalized people, the symptoms may be eclipsed by other, more severe symptoms. The most common symptom is pain in the upper abdomen. The pain usually occurs in the upper central portion of the abdomen, or "pit" of the stomach. Gastritis pain can also manifest in the left upper portion of the abdomen and in the back. The pain will seem to travel from the belly to the back. The pain is usually vague, but can also be sharp. Belching either fails to relieve pain or only relieves it momentarily.

Symptoms of severe gastritis
Severe gastritis is possible even without symptoms and may be present despite only minor changes in the stomach lining. Sometimes cases of gastritis become severe and can lead to shock or even death. In addition to the symptoms listed above, a person experiencing a severe case of gastritis may experience dizziness, fainting, tachycardia and shock if not treated quickly with blood supplements. Sometime vomiting may not occur, but other symptoms that suggest hypovolemic shock may appear accompanied with pain in the upper middle abdomen. Signs of severe gastritis include:

  • bloody or dark, sticky, foul-smelling bowel movements
  • feeling faint or short of breath
  • severe chest or stomach pain
  • sickly pallor
  • sweating
  • rapid heart beat
  • vomiting large amounts of blood

Although gastritis may not produce symptoms, its complications do. Left untreated, gastritis may lead to stomach ulcers and stomach bleeding, or even cancer of the stomach. Another potential complication is a severe loss of blood. Others include:

Intestinal metaplasia – The last stage of Barrett's esophagus, this condition is the transformation (metaplasia) of stomach tissue to cells that resemble the intestine.

Pernicious anemia – This condition is a severe form of anemia caused by vitamin B12 insufficiency.

Ulcers - Gastritis caused by H. pylori may eventually leads to peptic ulcers, which are characterized by a dull ache in the upper abdomen occurring 2-3 hours after a meal; the ache is typically relieved by eating.

Stomach cancer - Some forms of chronic gastritis may increase the risk of stomach cancer, especially with extensive thinning of the stomach lining and changes in the lining's cells.

When to seek help
A bout of indigestion and stomach irritation are normal occurrences. In fact, most cases of indigestion are short-lived and don't require medical care. But when signs and symptoms of gastritis last longer than 2 or 3 days, see a doctor. If vomiting blood or blood in the stools develops, see a doctor right away to determine the cause. Finally, inform your doctor if the signs and symptoms aren't improving despite gastritis treatments.

Sometimes gastritis can lead to ulcers and an increased risk of stomach cancer. For most, however, gastritis isn't serious and improves quickly with treatment. Continue reading here to learn more about how doctors test for chronic gastritis.

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Tags: gastritis, barrett's esophagus, coffee grounds, stomach damage, abdominal pain, stomach cancer, complications, stomach pain, treatments, dizziness, treatment, intestine, sweating, addition, symptoms, vomiting, belching, symptom, barrett, stomach
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