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Gastritis (cont.)

How is gastritis diagnosed?

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

The health-care professional first interviews the person about their symptoms, medical history, habits and lifestyle, any medications that are taken by the patient.

  • 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: Tests are available for the most common bacterial organism that causes ulcers that can lead to gastritis

  • Often, no tests are necessary.
  • If the health-care professional orders tests, it is probably to rule out certain medical conditions that can cause gastritis or mimic gastritis.
  • Once 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 at the end is passed 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.

What is the treatment for gastritis?

Once the diagnosis of gastritis has been confirmed by a medical professional, treatment can begin. The choice of treatment depends to some extent on the cause of the gastritis. Some treatments target the exact cause of a particular type of gastritis. Most treatments aim at reducing stomach acid and symptoms. The patient's stomach often will heal over time if the underlying cause is identified and corrected.

If a person has gastritis they should avoid substances that trigger gastritis symptoms..

  • Almost all health-care professionals would recommend this as the first step in preventing gastritis.
  • First, the person has to identify the triggers of gastritis.
  • Most people are aware of their triggers before seeking medical care.
  • If a person does not know what triggers their gastritis, a health-care professional can assist them in determining the triggers.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 7/26/2016

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