Gastritis isn't a disease but a range of conditions, which are characterized by inflammation of the lining of your stomach.

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Commonly, the inflammation results from infection by the same bacterium that causes most stomach ulcers. Yet other factors — including traumatic injury and regular use of certain pain killers — also can contribute to gastritis.

Although many conditions can be linked with gastritis, the signs and symptoms of the disease are very similar: A burning pain in your upper abdomen, bloating, belching, nausea or vomiting.

In some cases, gastritis can lead to ulcers and can cause stomach cancer. For most people, however, gastritis isn't serious and improves quickly with treatment.

Your stomach sits in the upper left corner of the abdomen, just under your rib cage. The typical adult stomach is around 10 inches long and can expand to hold about 1 gallon of food and liquid. When your stomach is empty, its tissues fold in on themselves, a bit like a closed accordion. As your stomach fills and expands, the folds gradually disappear.

The stomach digests and stores food, which it gradually releases into your small intestine. When food arrives from your esophagus, a muscular ring at the joining of your esophagus and stomach, relaxes to let it in. The stomach walls, lined with powerful muscles, begin churning the food, mixing it into smaller pieces. At the same time, glands in the wall of your stomach pump out gastric juices, including enzymes and stomach acids, that help break food down further.

Infections can be bacterial or viral. Irritation can be caused by medications(such as aspirin), alcohol, chronic vomiting, excess gastric acid secretion (such as from stress), or eating or drinking caustic or corrosive substances (such as poisons).

Other sources of information for these topics.

Jackson Gastroenterology's Web Site includes office information and paient education material on digestive and liver disorders, and nutrition.

Gastritis is not a single disease, but several different conditions that all ... Gastritis can be caused by drinking too much alcohol, prolonged use of ...

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