Digestive Disorders > Upper Abdomen

Duration and course of gastritis – How long does an inflammation of the stomach last?

Dr. med. Andre Sommer

Dr. med. Andre Sommer

When doctors talk about gastritis, they mean an inflammation of the gastric mucosa. There are many reasons for such inflammation and the course of the disease is variable. How long gastritis lasts depends on many factors. We can influence some of them and accelerate the healing of gastritis.

What is gastritis?

The term gastritis is composed of the Latin terms “gaster” (stomach) and “–itis” (inflammation). Gastritis means, for example, an inflammation of the gastric mucosa through more aggressive formation of stomach acid, which irritates the sensitive mucous membrane and can also damage it in the long term. You can find more information here on the exact development of gastritis and its treatment options.

How long does gastritis last?

Inflammation in the body can have different durations - including gastritis. The duration of the symptoms mainly depends on the trigger. They must be treated differently, which is why it is recommended in any case that you visit a specialist who can correctly assess and treat the extent of gastritis.

Basically, a distinction is made between acute and chronic forms an inflammation. To decide what type of gastritis the patient has, the doctor assesses the mucosa as part of a gastroscopy. The diagnosis is influenced by how

  • severely the gastric mucosa is inflamed
  • long the inflammation has been going on
  • early the gastritis was discovered

How long does acute gastritis last?

If the symptoms of gastritis last only a few days to a few weeks **it is referred to as **acute gastritis. It can either disappear on its own or the trigger can stop. In order to achieve independent regeneration of the gastric mucosa, strongly irritating substances and foods should be avoided. For example, on excessive consumption of

  • Alcohol
  • Nicotine
  • Coffee
  • Spices, spicy food

    Keep in mind: Stress **can also cause acute gastritis. This stress can have **psychological causes but also physical causes such as an operation, accident, burn, radiation therapy or competitive sports.

Drug treatment of acute gastritis is initially not necessary. If there is no improvement in the absence of risk products, the doctor can prescribe preparations that have a protective effect on the gastric mucosa. This includes **proton pump inhibitors **(PPIs), which prevent the mucous membrane from producing too much stomach acid. The symptoms should improve after only a few days with a PPI.

How long does chronic gastritis last?

Any acute inflammation can possibly long-term (chronify). Chronic gastritis is the term for gastritis that occurs for weeks to months. The diagnosis is made using a small piece of gastric mucosa, which is removed during a gastroscopy and sent to the pathologist for examination. If the microscopic assessment discovers inflammatory cells, germs or antibodies against gastric cells in the tissue sample, the diagnosis of chronic gastritis is considered certain.

Chronic gastritis is often an accidental finding during preventive examinations and gastroscopies. It is not uncommon for the stomach inflammation to have existed for months to years and remained unnoticed. Possible symptoms such as feeling of fullness are non-specific and are perceived by the patient as stressful, but are often accepted as such. In addition to the burden of symptoms, inflammation that persists can also do more serious damage to the stomach lining. If it remains untreated for a long time, ableeding gastric ulcer (ulcer ventriculi) **can arise. If this is not treated, the risk of degeneration and thus of a malignant **cancer of the stomach increases.

If gastritis becomes chronic, it can be divided into one of three subcategories based on its cause.

Duration / course of a Type A gastritis Duration / course of a Type B gastritis Duration / course of a Type C gastritis
  • Through your own immune system (autoimmune)
  • Through bacteria (Helicobacter pylori)
  • Through chemical substances (drugs/medications)
  • Insufficiently researched so far and cannot yet be completely cured - so the duration of the inflammation unpredictable
  • Treatment of the complaints and deficiency is however possible (for example, anemia, lack of vitamin B12). We thus treat the symptoms, but not their trigger
  • Improves after a few weeks of taking a combination of three medications - including acid blockers and antibiotics against the bacteria
  • Disappears a few days after the critical preparation has been discontinued and the gastric mucosa is normalized

Tab. 1. Duration and course of gastritis types A, B and C.

Can my doctor give me a sick not for gastritis?

Nausea, vomiting and severe abdominal pain are typical symptoms of gastritis. Working in these circumstances is difficult. Basically, the treating doctor decides on whether the patient is able to work. The doctor takes into account the severity of the symptoms of the illness and the stress at the patient's workplace. The form of gastritis also plays a crucial role in sick leave. With a medical certificate for up to 6 weeks the patient is entitled to full salary during the inability to work.

  • For acute gastritis, which subsides after a short time, a sick of a few days is sufficient.
  • Chronic **gastritis takes a long time to recover and **sometimes involves sick leave of several weeks.
  • If gastritis has been around for a long time, complications such as bleeding gastric ulcers (ulcer ventriculi) may need to be operated on. This requires hospitalization. In this case, the sick leave will of course cover your stay.

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How long should I eat only light food?

A light diet, or basic gastroenterological diet, will be prescribed by the doctor especially after abdominal surgery, severe gastritis and other gastrointestinal disorders. The gastrointestinal tract is gradually prepared for the digestion of more substantive food.

Level 1 Level 2 Level 3
  • Tea
  • Fat-free soup / broth
  • Zwieback
  • Vegetables
  • Lean meat/ fish
  • Rice
  • Noodles
  • Potatoes
  • Lean milk products
In addition to level 2
  • Bread
  • Grain products
  • Ripe fruit
  • Eggs

Tab. 2: Step-by-step scheme of light food for gastritis

Important: Our stomachs usually tell us what is right for it - we just have to listen to them. Nevertheless, it is important to enjoy particularly some things with caution. This includes:

  • Alcohol
  • Nicotine
  • Coffee or black tea
  • Carbonated drinks
  • Spices, spicy dishes
  • High-fat dairy products (whole milk, cream, fat cheeses)
  • Fried dishes
  • Fried or smoked food
  • Flatulent vegetables (leeks, beans, cabbage)

The right nutrition lays the foundation for the a rapid healing of gastritis and thus also prevents other diseases of the gastrointestinal tract. The huge selection and constant availability of food and luxury goods can be overwhelming.

Our certified consultants can offer help and guidance as part of a personal nutritional consultation. They are specially trained about diseases of the digestive system, and they work with you to develop a long-term diet you can tolerate. The therapy program is available online and is generously subsidized by the health insurance companies. Learn more about therapy here and arrange a free initial consultation.

What can I do to speed up healing?

In addition to proper nutrition, other factors play a role in the healing of gastritis. If the doctor prescribes medication, it is important to take it regularly and correctly. Gastritis needs to be cured thoroughly and not dragged out. It is important to relax and take care of yourself. Stress of any kind - be it at work, family or friends - should be avoided. Warmth, relaxation and enough sleep also help.

Once the gastritis is has passed, you should analyze your lifestyle. What do I eat, how much of it and how do I eat?

**Keep in mind:** If you have a sensitive stomach, you should definitely avoid alcohol, cigarettes and spicy foods!

And if nothing helps?

Then there is only one option left: Go to the doctor again and work out a new treatment strategy. You should not delay and risk a stomach ulcer.

Arbeitsgemeinschaft der Wissenschaftlichen Medizinischen Fachgesellschaften. AWMF – Leitlinien. Langfassung der Leitlinie. S2k-Leitlinie Helicobacter pylori und gastroduodenale Ulkuskrankheit. AWMF-Register-Nr. 021/001. Downloaded on 04/05/2018 from: http://www.awmf.org/uploads/txszleitlinien/021-001lS2kHelicobacter-pylori-gastroduodenaleUlkuskrankheit2016-0401.pdf

Robert Koch-Institut, Statistisches Bundesamt. Gesundheitsberichterstattung des Bundes. Heft 55 – Gastritis, Magen- und Zwölffingerdarmgeschwüre. Downloaded on 04/05/2018 from https://www.rki.de/DE/Content/Gesundheitsmonitoring/Gesundheitsberichterstattung/GBEDownloadsT/gastritis.pdf?__blob=publicationFile

Sipponen, P., & Maaroos, H. I. (2015). Chronic gastritis. Scandinavian journal of gastroenterology, 50(6), 657-667. Downloaded on 04/05/2018 from https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.3109/00365521.2015.1019918

Varbanova, M., Frauenschläger, K., & Malfertheiner, P. (2014). Chronic gastritis – An update. Best Practice & Research Clinical Gastroenterology, 28(6), 1031-1042. Downloaded on 04/05/2018 from https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1521691814001565?via%3Dihub

Watari J, Chen N, Amenta PS, et al. Helicobacter pylori associated chronic gastritis, clinical syndromes, precancerous lesions, and pathogenesis of gastric cancer development. World Journal of Gastroenterology : WJG. 2014;20(18):5461-5473. doi:10.3748/wjg.v20.i18.5461. Downloaded on 04/05/2018 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4017061/

Dr. med. Andre Sommer

Dr. med. Andre Sommer

I’m André, a medical doctor from Berlin. Together with a team of medical doctors, nutritionists and data scientists we empower people to understand digestive issues with our app Cara.

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