An inflammation of the stomach lining, gastritis is considered acute when the inflammation occurs suddenly and chronic when the inflammation occurs over a period of time.
The most common causes are medications such as aspirin or anti-inflammatory drugs known as NSAIDs, alcohol or smoking, stomach infections. Less common causes are eating or drinking caustic or corrosive substances, bile reflux, autoimmune disorders, excess stomach acid or viral infection. Acute gastritis can be caused by extreme physiological stress and associated with severe, acute illness or trauma, such as recent heavy alcohol use, major surgery, head trauma, or failure of the kidneys, liver or respiratory system.
Depending on the cause, some cases of gastritis will resolve over time without treatment. For others, antacids or other medications are needed to decrease or neutralize stomach acid, eliminate symptoms and promote healing. Specialized treatment is provided for gastric ulcers.