Gastritis

Overview:

Gastritis is inflammation of the lining of the stomach. It most commonly occurs in patients taking aspirin or anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), or in people infected with a bacteria called Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori).

Symptoms:

Although many patients with gastritis have no symptoms, it can cause abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, or bleeding.

Testing:

Gastritis is diagnosed with an endoscopy, which involves passing a flexible tube through the mouth into the esophagus and stomach to directly look at the lining of the stomach.

Treatment:

Gastritis is often treated by medications that reduce acid production, and by eliminating inciting medications.

Patients with Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection should also receive antibiotic therapy to eliminate the infection from the stomach, as this will reduce the risk of developing peptic ulcer disease and cancer of the stomach.

Gastroparesis

Overview:

Gastroparesis is a disorder characterized by abnormal emptying of food from the stomach into the small intestine.

After ingestion into the stomach, food is normally ground into smaller pieces, mixed with acid and other digestive enzymes, and then slowly released into the small intestine over several hours. In patients with gastroparesis, this process is delayed and food remains in the stomach for prolonged periods of time.

Symptoms:

Patients often complain of bloating after meals, filling up after only a few bites of food, nausea, vomiting, and even abdominal pain.

Gastroparesis may be a complication of long-standing diabetes, a side effect from certain medications, or the result of a recent viral illness.

Testing:

The diagnosis is confirmed by performing a nuclear medicine gastric emptying scan, a study that measures the rate at which the stomach empties.

Treatment:

Treatment consists of dietary modification and medications that promote more efficient stomach motor function.

Hiatal Hernia

Overview:

Hiatal hernia is a common condition in which the upper portion of the stomach protrudes into the chest cavity through an opening in the diaphragm. The diaphragm is a muscular structure that separates the chest and abdominal cavities.

Normally the stomach resides completely below the diaphragm in the abdominal cavity. A hiatal hernia often contributes to gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), the abnormal backflow of stomach contents and acid up into the esophagus.

Symptoms:

Although many patients with a hiatal hernia have no symptoms, others complain of heartburn, regurgitation, or bloating.

Rarely, a large hiatal hernia can twist on itself and cause severe abdominal pain.

Testing:

A hiatal hernia can be diagnosed by x-rays, or with an endoscopy, which involves passing a flexible tube through the mouth into the esophagus to directly visual the lining of the esophagus and stomach.

Symptoms:

Symptoms from a hiatal hernia typically respond to acid-reducing medications and dietary modification. Large symptomatic hernias unresponsive to these measures can be repaired surgically.

Stomach Ulcer

Overview:

A stomach ulcer is an open sore on the lining of the stomach.

Stomach ulcers most commonly occur in patients taking aspirin or anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) or in people infected with a bacteria called Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori). Cancerous growths can also cause ulceration of stomach lining.

Symptoms:

Patients with an ulcer of the stomach often complain of a burning or gnawing pain in the upper abdomen, especially after eating. Other symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, or bleeding (vomiting blood or passing black or bloody stools).

Testing:

Stomach ulcers can be diagnosed by x-rays or an endoscopy, which involves passing a flexible tube through the mouth into the esophagus and stomach to directly look at the lining of the stomach.

Treatment:

Stomach ulcers are easily treated by medications that reduce acid production. Patients with Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection should also receive antibiotic therapy to eliminate the infection from the stomach, as this will reduce the risk of ulcer recurrence.