What causes gastritis?

Gastritis can be caused by infection, irritation, autoimmune disorders, or backflow of bile into the stomach. Infections can be bacterial or viral. Irritation can also be caused by medications. Some of the common medications that may irritate your stomach are: aspirin or anti-inflammatory drugs. Other stomach irritants are: alcohol, chronic vomiting, excess gastric acid secretion, and eating poisons. The

main cause of true gastritis is H. pylori infection. H. pylori is indicated in an average of
90% of patients with chronic gastritis. This form of nonerosive gastritis is the result of infection with Helicobacter pylori bacterium, a microorganism whose outer layer is resistant to the normal effects of stomach acid in breaking down bacteria. The resistance of H. pylori means that the bacterium may rest in the stomach for long periods of times, even years, and eventually cause symptoms of gastritis or ulcers when other factors are introduced, such as the presence of specific genes or ingestion of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS). Study of the role of H. pylori in development of gastritis and peptic ulcers has disproved the former belief that stress lead to most stomach and duodenal ulcers and has resulted in improved treatment and reduction of stomach ulcers. H. pylori is most likely transmitted between humans, although the specific routes of transmission were still under study in early 1998. Studies were also underway to determine the role of H. pylori and resulting chronic gastritis in development of gastric cancer. After H. pylori, the second most common cause of chronic gastritis is use of nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs. These commonly used pain killers, including aspirin, fenoprofen, ibuprofen and naproxen, among others, can lead to gastritis and peptic ulcers. Other forms of erosive gastritis are those due to alcohol and corrosive agents or due to trauma such as ingestion of foreign bodies. Chemical and environmental irritants can damage the stomach lining and cause gastritis. Common culprits include alcohol, cigarette smoke, aspirin and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin and others) and naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn and others).