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Gastritis (cont.)

Gastritis Symptoms

Patient Comments

Symptoms of gastritis do not always correspond to the extent of physical changes in the lining of the stomach.

  • The stomach lining can be examined with an endoscope, a thin probe with a tiny camera on the end that can be inserted into the stomach.
  • Severe gastritis may be present when the stomach is viewed without symptoms being present.
  • Conversely, severe gastritis symptoms may be present despite only minor changes in the stomach lining.
  • Elderly people in particular have a much higher likelihood of developing painless stomach damage. They may have no symptoms at all (no nausea, vomiting, pain) until they are suddenly taken ill with internal bleeding.

In people who have gastritis symptoms, pain or discomfort in the upper abdomen is the most common symptom.

  • The pain is usually in the upper central portion of the abdomen (the "pit" of the stomach).
  • Sometimes gastritis pain occurs in the left upper portion of the abdomen and in the back. The pain seems to "go right straight through."
  • People often use the terms burning, aching, gnawing, or soreness to describe the pain. Usually, a vague sense of discomfort is present, but the pain may be sharp, stabbing, or cutting.

Other symptoms of gastritis include the following:

  • Belching: Belching usually either does not relieve the pain or relieves it only briefly.
  • Nausea and vomiting: The vomit may be clear, green or yellow, blood-streaked, or completely bloody, depending on the severity of the stomach inflammation.
  • Bloating
  • Feeling of fullness or burning in the upper part of the belly

In more severe gastritis, bleeding may occur inside the stomach. Any of the following symptoms can be seen as well as those already mentioned.

  • Pallor, sweating, and rapid (or "racing") heart beat.
  • Feeling faint or short of breath
  • Chest pain or severe stomach pain
  • Vomiting large amounts of blood
  • Bloody bowel movements or dark, sticky, very foul-smelling bowel movements

Any or all of these symptoms can occur suddenly. This is particularly true in adults older than 65 years of age.

Medical Editor:

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Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Gastritis, Acute »

Acute gastritis is a term covering a broad spectrum of entities that induce inflammatory changes in the gastric mucosa.

Read More on Medscape Reference »


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