Gastritis is a general term for a group of conditions with one thing in common: Inflammation of the lining of the stomach. The inflammation of gastritis is most often the result of infection with the same bacterium that causes most stomach ulcers or the regular use of certain pain relievers. Drinking too much alcohol also can contribute to gastritis.

Gastritis may occur suddenly (acute gastritis) or appear slowly over time (chronic gastritis). In some cases, gastritis can lead to ulcers and an increased risk of stomach cancer. For most people, however, gastritis isn't serious and improves quickly with treatment.

When to see a doctor

Nearly everyone has had indigestion and stomach irritation at some point. Usually, indigestion doesn’t last long and doesn’t require medical care. See your healthcare professional if you have symptoms of gastritis for a week or longer.

Seek medical attention right away if you have severe pain or if you have vomiting where you cannot hold any food down. Also seek attention right away if you feel lightheaded or dizzy. Tell your healthcare professional if your stomach discomfort happens after taking medicines, especially aspirin or other pain relievers.

If you are vomiting blood, have blood in your stools or have stools that appear black, see your healthcare professional right away to find the cause.


Gastritis doesn’t always cause symptoms. When it does, the symptoms of gastritis may include:

  • Gnawing or burning ache or pain, called indigestion, in your upper belly. This feeling may become either worse or better after eating.
  • Nausea.
  • Vomiting.
  • A feeling of fullness in your upper abdomen after eating.


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