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What are the Possible Complications of Gastritis?

Monday 6 September 2021
Gastrointestinal Disorders
3 minute(s) read

Table of Contents


I. How Does Inflammation Affect the Stomach?

II. Gastritis and Stomach Ulcers

III. Bleeding Complications

IV. The Risk of Stomach Cancer

V. Treatment for Prevention


How Does Inflammation Affect the Stomach?

Gastritis describes certain stomach conditions that are associated with inflammation in the stomach lining (mucosa). Often, this inflammation is caused by overusing pain relief medications like aspirin and ibuprofen. Stomach inflammation can also be caused by a variety of other factors, like smoking, a poor diet, alcohol abuse, and bacterial infections. Various autoimmune disorders can also increase the risk of your immune system attacking the cells that form your stomach lining, leading to gastritis. [1]

Over time, this inflammation can affect the stomach in a number of ways. Inflammation can cause a sudden onset of symptoms (acute gastritis) or a gradual worsening of symptoms (chronic gastritis).

Inflammation in the stomach lining can cause pain in your upper abdomen, nausea, and vomiting. You will want to ask your doctor about gastritis medications if symptoms persist. At Canadian Med Center, we carry a range of prescription gastritis drugs like Nexium and Protonix. Read on to learn more about the complications of gastritis if the condition goes untreated.

a person’s belly button

Gastritis and Stomach Ulcers

One of the most common complications of untreated gastritis is stomach ulcers. When pain medications, alcohol, or bacteria erode the mucosa, painful ulcers can form. You may have a stomach ulcer if you experience:

  • Pain between the belly button and the breastbone
  • Pain between the belly button and the breastbone between meals or at night
  • Pain that briefly subsides while eating or after taking antacids
  • Pain that comes and goes, lasting minutes to hours [2]

Stomach ulcers from gastritis aren’t always serious. If your gastritis condition is caused by pain relievers or alcohol, the stomach ulcers are likely to disappear once you stop consuming the problematic substances. However, you should contact your doctor if your stomach ulcers become severe. Signs of severe stomach ulcers include:

  • Blood in vomit or vomit that resembles coffee grounds
  • Blood in stool or black stool
  • Sudden sharp stomach pain that does not dissipate [2]

Bleeding Complications

If you do not treat a severe stomach ulcer, it can lead to serious stomach bleeding, known as gastrointestinal (GI) bleeding. GI bleeding should not be taken lightly because it can cause dangerous symptoms, such as drops in blood pressure, and increased pulse, and unconsciousness. If GI bleeding becomes chronic, you may develop anemia, causing you to feel constantly fatigued. [3]

a toilet

How do you watch out for GI bleeding? Ideally, you’ll want to seek treatment if you have stomach ulcers in the first place. However, some types of stomach ulcers may not present symptoms. To look for GI bleeding, watch out for the following symptoms:

  • Bright red blood in the stool or vomit
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Fatigue, dizziness, or faintness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Weakness [3] 

The Risk of Stomach Cancer

If your gastritis is caused by a Helicobacter pylori infection, you may be at risk of developing stomach cancer. Your age at the time of infection may also factor into your risk level.

The good news is that there are effective treatment methods for H. pylori, and not everyone with this infection will develop stomach cancer. [4] If you have H. pylori in your digestive tract and stomach, ask your doctor about antibiotics that can kill this type of bacteria. Your doctor will also likely prescribe a proton pump inhibitor to suppress stomach acid and expedite healing. [5]

doctors performing a surgery

Treatment for Prevention

To prevent gastritis, you will want to seek treatment as soon as you experience symptoms. Along with your gastritis treatment plan, you may want to alter your lifestyle to improve your stomach health.

Studies have shown that drinking green or black tea once a week can help remove H. pylori from the digestive tract. Manuka honey contains many antibacterial properties, so adding it to your diet can help fight infections. Additionally, eating an anti-inflammatory diet and keeping your gut healthy with probiotics can go a long way in preventing gastritis. [6] Take control of your stomach health today and talk to your doctor about gastritis treatment methods. 

The content in this article is intended for informational purposes only. This website does not provide medical advice. In all circumstances, you should always seek the advice of your physician and/or other qualified health professionals(s) for drug, medical condition, or treatment advice. The content provided on this website is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

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