Gastritis and duodenitis both refer to the inflammation of organs within the abdominal cavity, but they are different because they refer to inflammation of two distinct organs. Duodenitis occurs when the first portion of the small intestine that begins at the lower region of the stomach becomes inflamed. This part of the small intestine is known as the duodenum. Gastritis refers to the inflammation of the stomach lining, although it is often referred to when describing a wide array of symptoms that can occur as a direct result of the stomach lining being inflamed. These disorders are often caused by the same factors, often show the same symptoms, are detected in the same way, and are treated with the same medications.
Typically, gastritis occurs when the barrier that protects the stomach walls from the corrosive effects of natural stomach acids becomes weak or damaged. When this happens, the acid reaches the stomach wall and inflames the stomach lining. This can cause a variety of harmful effects.
A similar process occurs in the duodenum during duodenitis. In this case the lining of the duodenum becomes weak and damaged and is subsequently susceptible to the inflammatory effects of stomach acids. Due to the proximity of the duodenum to the stomach, stomach acid is often present in the duodenum, and is usually the main inflammatory agent in a case of duodenitis.
Often, gastritis and duodenitis are caused by the same factors. For instance, the presence of the bacteria known as Helicobacter pylori, or H. pylori, has been linked to both gastritis and duodenitis, although the presence of the bacteria does not automatically result in the occurrence of symptoms. Another common cause of both disorders is the repeated use of pain relievers that are categorized as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). NSAIDs irritate the protective lining of the stomach and the intestine by decreasing the chemicals known as prostaglandins, which are responsible for the production of the protective agents of the stomach and duodenal linings.
Symptoms of gastritis and duodenitis are often identical. Both disorders can cause nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, bleeding, and appetite suppression. Also, gastritis and duodenitis are often diagnosed by a procedure known as a gastrointestinal endoscopy. During this procedure, a narrow tube is inserted through the mouth and is moved past the esophagus into the stomach and the duodenum. Doctors can then search for any tissue damage which can be removed and examined.
Treatment of these disorders is also often the same. If the condition is caused by the frequent use of NSAID’s, then discontinuing their use can treat it. In other cases, medications that are directed at reducing the amount of stomach acid, neutralizing the acid that is present, or limiting the amount of acid produced in the stomach are used.