Gastritis is a condition where an individual experiences inflammation in the stomach lining responsible for protecting the stomach tissues from being eroded by its acidic contents. An acute case of gastritis is inflammation that comes on suddenly and severely, where a chronic case of gastritis is inflammation that is ongoing for years. Gastritis occurs when digestive juices find a weakness in the lining of the stomach, allowing them to penetrate it and cause inflammation. An individual who contracts a Helicobacter pylori infection can also develop gastritis. Extreme alcohol consumption, tobacco use, thinning of the stomach lining due to age, and routine use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can all cause gastritis. Symptoms of gastritis may include vomiting, nausea, a sensation of fullness, indigestion, bloody vomit, and bloody stool.
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An individual affected by gastritis may need to undergo an upper endoscopy procedure to properly diagnose their condition. An endoscopy is a noninvasive, nonsurgical procedure used to evaluate the digestive tract. It is performed with the use of a specialized tool referred to as an endoscope, which is a flexible tube equipped with a camera and light on the end of it. The camera transmits real-time video of the inside of the patient's esophagus and stomach to a high definition monitor so the doctor can evaluate the condition of the organs. The physician can also use the endoscope to remove a small piece of tissue from the stomach lining that can be sent to a laboratory for further analysis. The characteristic microscopic findings in granulomatous gastritis patients include multiple aphthous ulcers, thickened antral folds, mucosal nodularity with cobblestoning, serpiginous or linear ulcerations, duodenal strictures, and hypoperistalsis. Microscopic characteristics found in lymphocytic gastritis include apthoid erosions, enlarged folds, and the appearance of small mounds with a crater in the center.
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