Gastritis Tests and Diagnosis

The way the doctor determines whether or not you suffer from gastritis is by performing certain tests for gastritis. Your doctor might run a few different tests on you or may run a combination of them.

Upper Gastrointestinal Endoscopy

This type of test involves the use of an endoscope, which is a thin tube wherein a tiny camera is attached to one end. The doctor inserts the endoscope way down a patient’s throat till the tube enters the stomach.  The camera on the endoscope transmits images of the stomach, particularly the stomach lining to a TV in the operating room where the doctor can assess the condition of the lining to determine whether it has been damaged.

An upper gastrointestinal endoscopy is an invasive surgical procedure although it’s not considered a traumatic or painful procedure. The patient’s throat is usually anesthetized before the tube is inserted into it.  The endoscope can also extract a small piece of tissue from your stomach lining for tests and evaluations. The tissue extraction for lab testing is known as a biopsy.

Simple Blood Test

This test uses an indirect approach to diagnosing gastritis. This test is done to ascertain if your RBC or red blood count is less than normal. If the results of the blood test indeed show you have low RBC, you may be suffering from a condition known as anemia which may then indicate that you may have a bleeding stomach.  If you suffer from anemia, it may imply that you either have gastritis or another condition that is the result of a damaged stomach lining.

Stool Test

A stool test is performed to help the doctor determine if your stool has presence of blood. A sample of your stool is examined and if the findings indicate that blood is indeed present in your stool, it may be a sign that there is bleeding in your stomach. A stool test can also help check if you have H. pylori bacterium infection. Presence of this bacterium in your stool may mean that you are suffering from gastritis and the bleeding in your stomach is one sign of this condition.  The presence of the H. pylori bacterium in the stool means that the pathogen is residing in the digestive tract and the stomach and is causing damage to the stomach lining.

If the diagnosis is gastritis caused by the H. pylori bacterium, then the treatment simply involves the use of antibiotics that will eliminate the bacteria as well as your symptoms.

If your gastritis is caused by something else the doctor may recommend medicines that help lessen the acidity of your stomach.  Also, the doctor may require you to temporarily avoid certain drinks and foods until the time your stomach has healed itself.

Dominic Sembello is a licensed and board certified acupuncturist and the clinical director of Health Source Acupuncture in Linwood, NJ.

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