The classic symptom of gastritis is a feeling of fullness or bloating, where the stomach feels full and distended.

Gastritis is inflammation of the stomach lining. The stomach lining, also known as the gastric mucosa, contains cells that produce enzymes and acids essential for digestion.

When the lining becomes inflamed, it can disrupt the typical functioning of the stomach and lead to various symptoms.

Besides bloating, other symptoms of gastritis may include:

  • abdominal pain
  • heartburn
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • loss of appetite
  • black or tarry stools (in severe cases)

Read on to learn about the connection between bloating and gastritis and what you can do to get relief from gastritis bloating.

Gastritis can make your stomach swell or bloat. This uncomfortable symptom is very common among people with acute or chronic gastritis.

When you have gastritis, the lining of your stomach becomes inflamed due to various factors, including long-term use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).

The inflammation can lead to increased blood flow and fluid accumulation in the stomach lining, causing it to become swollen and engorged, leading to sensations of fullness and bloating.

This inflammation and irritation of your stomach lining can also disrupt the regular contractions and movements of your gastrointestinal tract, causing disturbed gastric motility. As a result, the passage of food through your stomach may slow down, leading to delayed gastric emptying.

This extended stay of food can cause distention and lead to sensations of fullness and bloating.

Furthermore, gastritis can interfere with the production and secretion of digestive enzymes essential for breaking down food. When digestion is impaired, food may not be adequately broken down in your stomach, leading to the fermentation of undigested carbohydrates. This fermentation produces gas, resulting in bloating.

The duration of bloating with gastritis can vary depending on the underlying cause and your response to treatment. In acute gastritis, bloating may last a few days to a week, typically improving as the inflammation subsides.

For chronic gastritis, bloating may persist for weeks to months, and in some cases, it may be a recurring symptom.

You should consider reaching out to a healthcare professional if other symptoms accompany bloating, including:

If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, get medical attention. They may be a sign of an underlying gastrointestinal problem.

To diagnose gastritis, a doctor will typically ask about your symptoms, take your medical history, and perform a physical exam to look for signs of gastritis, such as tenderness in the abdomen.

They may also assess any risk factors contributing to gastritis, such as alcohol consumption or medication use.

If they still suspect gastritis, you will likely undergo some tests, including:

  • Endoscopy: In this outpatient procedure, a healthcare professional uses a flexible tube with a camera to examine the lining of your stomach and duodenum. A doctor may take small tissue samples for further analysis during the endoscopy.
  • Blood tests: Blood tests can help identify markers of inflammation and possible underlying causes, such as autoimmune disorders.
  • Stool tests: Stool samples may be collected to check for traces of blood or Helicobacter pylori bacteria.
  • Breath test: A breath test can detect Helicobacter pylori by analyzing breath samples after ingesting a special solution.

The general treatments for gastritis may include medications like proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) and H2 blockers to reduce stomach acid production, antibiotics to eliminate an Helicobacter pylori infection, and lifestyle changes such as avoiding irritants like alcohol.

In addition to the general treatments for gastritis, specific measures may help relieve bloating.

Home remedies

Home remedies for gastritis bloating include:

  • Chamomile: Chamomile tea can help relax the stomach muscles and reduce discomfort from bloating.
  • Ginger: You can consume it in various forms, like fresh ginger slices or ginger tea, to help soothe the stomach and ease bloating.
  • Probiotics: Consuming foods rich in probiotics or probiotic supplements may promote digestion, potentially reducing bloating.
  • Peppermint: Peppermint oil in enteric-coated capsules may have antispasmodic properties that could reduce bloating and gas.

Medical treatments

If home remedies are not providing sufficient relief, or if your bloating is severe and persistent, medical treatments may be necessary.

A doctor may prescribe medications specifically targeting bloating and gas, such as simethicone (Gas-X) or activated charcoal.

Antibiotics may treat a Helicobacter pylori infection if it’s identified as the cause of your gastritis and bloating.

The healing time for gastritis can vary depending on the underlying cause, the severity of inflammation, and individual factors.

Acute gastritis may heal within a few days to a week or two with appropriate treatment, while chronic gastritis may take weeks to months.

While it may not be possible to prevent all bloating caused by gastritis, you can take measures to help reduce the frequency and severity of bloating episodes.

Ways to help prevent bloating include:

  • adopting a gastritis-friendly diet that avoids spicy, greasy, and acidic foods
  • limiting alcohol and caffeine intake
  • managing stress
  • avoiding certain medications like NSAIDs
  • exercising regularly
  • staying hydrated

Bloating is a common symptom of gastritis, a condition characterized by inflammation of the stomach lining. The inflammation and irritation of the stomach lining disrupt typical gastric motility, leading to delayed gastric emptying and distension, resulting in bloating.

While it may not be entirely preventable, managing the underlying causes through medications, dietary adjustments, and stress reduction can help ease bloating and promote overall gut health.