How to Care for Your Child with Gastritis

This leaflet will provide you with information about gastritis causes, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment and home care advice.

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What is gastritis?

Gastritis is a stomach upset and soreness that happens when the lining of the stomach is irritated and inflamed. Although, in many cases, the cause of the gastritis is unknown, many things can irritate the stomach, such as:

  • Viral illness
  • Certain food or drinks
  • Some medicine like ibuprofen, aspirin, and naproxen they are called nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication
  • Certain types of bacteria like (H. pylori)

What are the symptoms of gastritis?

Symptoms of gastritis include:

  • Stomach pain
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Bloating
  • Acid reflux     
  • Decreased appetite
  • Vomiting blood or black stool (in extreme cases)

How is gastritis diagnosed?

The doctor will ask few questions about your child's health and examine your child. Your doctor will decide, depending on the likely cause, if further investigations, blood or stool tests are required.
The investigation may include:

  • Blood test
  • Stool test
  • Breath test
  • Endoscopy- camera test to look at the lining of the stomach                

How is gastritis treated?

Treatment of gastritis depends on the cause. The treatment options are:

  • Medicines to reduce or block the acid production in the stomach
  • Antibiotics if the cause is bacteria
  • If the cause is overuse of pain medications like ibuprofen, aspirin, naproxen, then the doctor will advise to stop giving these medicines

How to care for your child at home?   

  • Write down any foods, medicines, or events that seem to cause stomach upset and try to avoid these in the future.
  • Encourage your child to drink enough  water and other fluids to prevent dehydration(dryness), especially if your child has vomiting or diarrhoea
  • Avoid chocolate and cola drinks because they contain caffeine, which can increase stomach acid.
  • Do not give aspirin to your child or teen. This can cause serious complications.
  • Encourage your child to eat small meals 5-6 times a day instead of 3 large meals
  • Do not smoke around your child. Nicotine and other chemicals in cigarettes and cigars can make your child's symptoms worse

When should I seek medical advice?

Seek medical advice if your child:

  • Has a fever
  • Vomits blood or what looks like coffee grounds.
  • Passes black or bloody stools.
  • Continues to vomit and is not able to keep any fluid down
  • Appears dry or sticky mouth, sunken eyes, crying with little or no tears, or peeing less often (or having fewer wet diapers).
  • Is not responding to treatment