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Gastritis (cont.)

Gastritis Diagnosis

The diagnosis of gastritis can be established by a complete history and physical or in some cases may include blood tests and other tests (endoscopy) or consultation with a specialist (usually a gastroenterologist).

The health care practitioner first interviews you about your symptoms, medical history, habits and lifestyle, and the medications you take.

  • This information is enough to make the diagnosis in many people.
  • Be sure to tell the doctor about all the medications the patient takes, including nonprescription drugs, herbal and botanical preparations, and supplements such as vitamins.
  • Also report any measures the patient has taken to relieve the symptoms and how well those measures worked.

Laboratory testing: No laboratory tests can pinpoint a diagnosis of gastritis.

  • Often, no tests are necessary.
  • If the health care practitioner orders tests, it is probably to rule out certain medical conditions.
  • If all other possibilities are ruled out, that leaves gastritis as the most likely cause of the patient's symptoms.

The following tests are most likely to be ordered:

  • H. Pylori test
  • Blood cell counts (looking mostly for anemia, a low blood count)
  • Liver and kidney functions
  • Urinalysis
  • Gallbladder and pancreas functions
  • Pregnancy test
  • Stool test to check for blood

X-rays films or other diagnostic images may be ordered, although they are usually not necessary.

An electrocardiogram (ECG, EKG) might be ordered if the patient's heartbeat is rapid or they are having chest pain.

The patient may be referred to a gastroenterologist, a doctor who specializes in diseases of the digestive system.

  • The gastroenterologist may in turn recommend an endoscopy.
  • During the endoscopy, a thin, flexible probe with a tiny camera on the end is sent into the stomach for a direct look.
  • At the same time, samples of the stomach lining can be taken to test for a wide variety of conditions.
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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