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A bacteria called H. pylori, or Helicobacter pylori, is one of the leading causes of gastritis. Some people may be more susceptible to it than others, and over time it can cause serious damage to the lining of the stomach. This usually results in bouts of gastritis. Other gastritis causes can include bile reflux, overuse of pain medication, and drinking too much alcohol. People who live high-stress lives also tend to have more problems with gastritis than those who don't. Diseases like HIV and Crohn's disease are other possible gastritis causes.
It is possible that one of the causes of gastritis may be old age. When a person ages, he might become more susceptible to gastritis because his stomach lining has gotten thinner over time. A thinner stomach lining will usually contribute to increased sensitivity to acidic digestive juices in most people, which can result in gastritis. This is also why people who drink alcohol to excess tend to have more problems with gastritis. Alcohol use over a long period of time burns away at the stomach lining, causing it to become thinner and thinner.
If a person is experiencing a burning feeling in her stomach, black stools, and noticeable abdominal bloating combined with gas, there is a good chance she is suffering from gastritis. A doctor can usually diagnose gastritis by asking the patient a few questions about his symptoms and then conducting a few tests. The tests might include a blood test and a stool test followed by an endoscopy exam before the doctor can make a final diagnosis. An endoscopy is a procedure involving a tiny scope that is inserted into the patient's mouth and down into the digestive tract. A doctor may be able to detect the presence of gastritis by using the scope to get a close-up look of the stomach lining and possibly by taking a sample of the lining to examine under a microscope.
The treatment for gastritis typically depends on possible gastritis causes. If the H. pylori bacteria is to blame, a combination of antibiotics and acid-blocking medications may be used. Gastritis that came about as a result of other factors is typically not treated with antibiotics and is instead treated with antacids and acid blockers. Doctors usually recommend that patients make some lifestyle changes, such as losing weight and eating healthier foods, in addition to prescribing medication. A person may additionally be able to prevent future problems with gastritis by changing the way she eats and eliminating potentially harmful habits, such as overuse of pain relievers and alcohol.
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