Erosive gastritis

by Jason Wasserman MD PhD FRCPC
December 16, 2022

What is erosive gastritis?

Erosive gastritis is a type of injury inside the stomach. It results in a loss of specialized epithelial cells that normally form a barrier on the inside surface of the stomach.

What are the symptoms of erosive gastritis?

Symptoms of erosive gastritis include abdominal pain, bloating, decreased appetite, and black stools. Bleeding associated with erosive gastritis can lead to a condition called anemia.

What causes erosive gastritis?

Erosive gastritis can be caused by prolonged use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as Aspirin and Advil, alcohol, iron pills, stress, physical injury, chemotherapy, or radiation therapy to the stomach.

How do pathologists make this diagnosis?

The diagnosis is usually made after a small sample of tissue is removed in a procedure called a biopsy. When examined under the microscope, the epithelium on the inside surface of the stomach is damaged or completely lost. Pathologists describe this as an erosion. The loss of epithelium leaves the tissue below exposed to the acids inside the stomach. This can lead to pain and bleeding. A combination of acute and chronic inflammatory cells may also be seen. Your pathologist may order additional tests such as immunohistochemistry or special stains to look for bacteria that may be causing gastritis.

What should happen next?

Erosive gastritis is a serious medical condition that needs to be treated quickly to prevent further injury to the stomach. After reviewing your pathology report, your doctors will attempt to determine the cause of erosive gastritis. Make sure to tell your doctors about any medications you are taking or have recently stopped.

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