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What is Erosive Gastritis?

By Jacquelyn Gilchrist
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Gastritis refers to a group of conditions that involve the inflammation of the lining of the stomach. With instances of erosive gastritis, the stomach lining is not only inflamed, it has also started to wear away. This type of condition typically develops slowly; however, a patient may also be stricken with it abruptly. It can occur in otherwise healthy people.

A subcategory of erosive gastritis is called acute stress gastritis. This condition can occur suddenly, due to a serious injury or illness. Acute stress gastritis commonly occurs due to major bleeding injuries or burns that cover an extensive area of the skin. These injuries may decrease blood circulation to the stomach, which results in the stomach lining’s inability to adequately protect itself.

The main cause of this condition is a damaged or weakened stomach lining. This damage can have many different contributing causes; however, the condition is most commonly caused by drugs. Long-term use of even over-the-counter medications can damage the stomach, such as aspirin and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Bacterial or viral infections, as well as Crohn’s disease, can also cause gastritis.

Some of the common symptoms of erosive gastritis may be unpleasant, such as bloating, belching, and indigestion. Patients may also experience weight loss and a loss of appetite. Gastritis, especially acute stress gastritis, can also cause nausea and vomiting. Rarely, the disorder can cause stomach bleeding, which is evident in bloody vomit. Patients who experience stomach bleeding or those who have persistent symptoms for about a week generally should get medical help.

Doctors can begin to diagnose a patient with erosive gastritis after reviewing the patient’s symptoms and medical history, as well as conducting a physical exam. For a definitive diagnosis, a doctor may also run a blood test or a stool test to check for an infection. He or she may also take an x-ray of the stomach or use an endoscope. An upper gastrointestinal endoscopy is a simple procedure that involves the insertion of a thin tube down a patient’s throat to check for damage.

Once diagnosed with erosive gastritis, the doctor can advise a patient on which medication can best treat the condition. For mild cases, over-the-counter antacids may be adequate. In more severe cases, the doctor may prescribe an acid blocker, such as famotidine or ranitidine. Another option is a drug called a proton pump inhibitor, which helps to reduce stomach acid. If the condition is caused by a bacterial infection, the patient may also take a course of antibiotics.

In addition to medications, the patient can also incorporate a healthier lifestyle into the treatment plan. Stress can increase the production of acid in the stomach and aggravate the condition. Patients who live a reduced-stress lifestyle, maintain healthy eating habits, and engage in aerobic exercise are more likely to have a healthier digestive system.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By anon996139 — On Jul 15, 2016

I have erosive gastritis from ibuprofen and smoking for 10 years. I had to quit when all of a sudden when I would smoke or drink caffeine I would get severe panic attacks. I learned later the caffeine was going thru holes in my stomach directly into the blood stream so I was overdosing. Sever graphic and bloody nightmares are a common side effect of too much caffeine. Even decaf is bad for me! It doesn't heal but I can't take antacid pills because the side effects are too harsh. I feel better with a low acid diet. It gives me energy and no stress. The gut bacteria has been linked to social shyness, depression, fatigue , anxiety, etc so I eat prebiotic foods like asparagus, garlic, and onions. Lots of water to dilute the acid. That works better than any pill, so don't be suckered into paying for those toxic pills.

By anon331086 — On Apr 20, 2013

I was recently diagnosed with erosive gastritis. I believe it is caused by stress and my frequent intake of NSAIDs for my arthritis. I've been avoiding food that is difficult to digest (meat and pork, raw veggies), fatty and oily food, and acid forming food (dairy products, most fruit except chocolate) and sugary food. That leaves me with fish, white meat and some grains. Losing weight but this is overall better for me. Just being constantly hungry (every two hours!) is an issue especially when I am at work.

I've been prescribed Omeprazole for 60 days and Gaviscon to alleviate acidic pain. I take Maalox for bloating, too. I have decided to pursue my new diet (and start exercising more- and possibly look for a new job that causes less stress!) even after my medication. Good luck to us gastritis sufferers- hope everyone gets to feel better soon.

By anon256869 — On Mar 23, 2012

I too was diagnosed with erosive gastritis and I'm 17. My symptoms were nausea, vomiting and a lot of acid in my throat. My doctor did an endoscopy and took some biopsies to make sure it wasn't an infection and he put me on nexium to help control the acid.

By anon189657 — On Jun 23, 2011

For a couple of weeks I've been experiencing various abdominal pains, including bloating, indigestion, constipation, etc. I finally decided to go to a G.I. doctor and he scheduled an endoscopy.

Today, immediately after my endoscopy the doctor informed me that I've been suffering from erosive gastritis, and that this has been causing all of my symptoms, including the pain in my lower abdomen.

I haven't yet started a treatment plan, but boy am I glad I checked it out. Now that I know what it is I autamatically feel a little better.

Good luck to anyone out there experiencing any symptoms!

By anon161166 — On Mar 18, 2011

I've been suffering from belching, bloated stomach, constipation for almost one year, until i decided to have upper endoscopy, and it was found i have erosion in the end part of my stomach. My doctor prescribed Nexium, for my erosive gastritis.

By ddljohn — On Feb 08, 2011

An erosive gastritis diet and diet for anyone who suffers from chronic stomach acidity and heartburn must be free of foods and drinks which trigger the release of acids in the stomach. These include foods containing high fat content like fried foods, naturally acidic foods like lemon, vinegar and tomatoes. Also, processed foods are not a very good choice for gastritis patients either and you should limit those to a minimum.

Any drinks containing caffeine- coffee, tea and sodas will trigger acidity. You should drink caffeine free sodas and herbal teas as an alternative.

Raw vegetables can also be difficult for an erosive gastritis patient to digest. I would recommend easy to digest, stomach friendly foods such as mashed potatoes, milk and yogurt products, breads and pastas, boiled vegetables, apples and bananas. These have a calming effect and stay in the stomach for a long time. An erosive gastritis patient must eat small meals often (every 2-3 hours) to help control erosive gastritis symptoms. Regular exercise and a stress free life is always beneficial for this ailment as well.

By serenesurface — On Feb 07, 2011

I have been dealing with hyperacidity for about 3-4 years now. My problem has been the combination of different factors: stress, bacteria and side effects of medications. For the first two years, I was treated for symptoms of heart burn and the like with mild antacids and over the counter medications like Protonix, a proton pump inhibitor. My conditions became worse and even though I had the symptoms of an erosive gastritis, my x-ray suggested no damage to my stomach lining. I was finally treated successfully when I was given a test for stomach bacteria and was diagnosed with helicobacter. After a treatment of strong antibiotics, all of my symptoms disappeared. Now, I am experiencing some acidity again, but this is a side effect of a medication which I must take regularly. If anyone is suffering from chronic erosive gastritis, you should look into some of these factors as well, in case you overlooked something important as I have in the past.

By panda2006 — On Feb 01, 2011

I have used NSAIDs, in my case ibuprofen, regularly for many years to deal with menstrual symptoms. While I have read that this can be a cause of gastritis or an ulcer, I actually have never had a doctor tell me so. Thankfully, though, I have also never had gastritis or stomach ulcer symptoms.

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