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Gastritis

Intro

See your health care provider if your symptoms are new, long-lasting, or worsening despite self-care.

  • If there is an obvious cause for your gastritis symptoms such as taking aspirin on an empty stomach
  • If your symptoms are mild
  • If you are able to take medication to relieve your symptoms
  • If you are better in a short period of time

Seek immediate medical attention if you have any of the following symptoms. Your decision to call 911 or to seek medical care will be based on your judgment of how sick you feel.

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Self-Care at Home

If you know what causes your gastritis, the simplest way to avoid the disease is to avoid the cause.

  • aspirin and alcohol are 2 widely used substances that cause gastritis.
  • If you develop an upset stomach and nausea after drinking alcohol or using aspirin, then avoid these substances.

Sometimes you cannot avoid certain substances that cause gastritis.

  • Your health care provider may have a good reason to recommend aspirin , iron, potassium, or some other medication that causes gastritis.
  • If you develop minor gastritis symptoms, it may be wisest to continue the recommended medication and treat the gastritis symptoms.
  • Consult your health care provider before stopping any medication.

In the case of aspirin, coated aspirin may not cause the same symptoms.

  • This is because coated aspirin does not dissolve in the stomach. Check the contents of any other over-the-counter medication you are taking because more than 300 medication contain aspirin in some form.

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, Nuprin) also cause gastritis.

  • Your health care provider may recommend that these medication be taken with food or with antacids.
  • Doing this may lessen the chance of developing gastritis symptoms.

Switching from aspirin or NSAIDs to another pain reliever may help as well. Acetaminophen (Liquiprin, Tylenol, Panadol) is not known to cause gastritis.

  • Talk with your health care provider before simply switching to acetaminophen, however. He or she may have recommended aspirin or an NSAID for a specific purpose. Acetaminophen and aspirin are both pain relievers, but they are different medication.

If gastritis symptoms continue, antacids are sometimes recommended. Three main types of antacids are available. All 3 are about equal in effectiveness.

  • Magnesium-containing antacids may cause diarrhea. People with certain kidney problems should use these cautiously or not at all.
  • Aluminum-containing antacids can cause constipation.
  • Calcium-containing antacids have received a great deal of attention for their ability to control stomach acid and also supplement body calcium. Calcium supplementation is most important for postmenopausal women. Calcium-based antacids can also lead to constipation, however.
  • Antacids may also change your body's ability to absorb certain other medication.
  • If you require an antacid more than occasionally, let your health care provider decide which one is best for you.

Histamine (H2) blockers have received a lot of attention for stomach problems.

  • Some of these medication—cimetidine (Tagamet) and ranitidine (Zantac) are 2 examples—are available without a prescription.
  • Histamine blockers work by reducing acid secretion in the stomach.
  • This reduces gastritis pain and other symptoms.
  • If you need one of these medication regularly, you should consult your health care provider for a recommendation.

Stronger medication that protect the stomach's lining or lessen acid production in the stomach are available by prescription. Talk to your health care provider if the nonprescription medication do not work for you.

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Follow-up

In general, follow-up care for gastritis is very straightforward.

  • Avoid those things that irritate your stomach or cause your symptoms to flare up.
  • Take your medication as prescribed by your health care provider.
  • Return for medical attention if your symptoms worsen or persist.
  • Report any new symptoms to your health care provider.
Prevention

The mainstay of gastritis prevention is to avoid those things that irritate or inflame your stomach's lining.

  • aspirin (use coated aspirin if you must take aspirin)
  • NSAIDs such as ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) or naproxen (Naprosyn)
  • Smoking
  • Caffeine and other caffeine like substances
  • Alcohol

If your health care provider has prescribed a medication that you think is causing gastritis symptoms, talk to him or her before you stop taking the medication. The medication may be very important for your health.

 
Outlook

Most people recover from gastritis . Depending on the many factors that affect your stomach lining, gastritis symptoms may flare up from time to time. Overall, gastritis is generally a common, mildly troubling ailment that responds well to simple treatments.

On occasion, rare forms of gastritis can be serious or even life threatening. Severe, ongoing symptoms or internal bleeding should alert your health care provider to search for a more serious underlying cause.

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