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Burning in the upper stomach, also known as gastritis, can have numerous causes. Some of the causes include heavy drinking, bacterial infection, injury, certain chronic conditions like Crohn's Disease, and overuse of medications like ibuprofen (see Reference 1). It is important to understand the causes of gastritis, both to find relief for your pain and to be aware of possible serious conditions.
Understand the symptoms of gastritis. The burning you feel in your upper stomach is caused by an inflammation of the stomach lining (see Reference 2). Additional symptoms can include bloating, nausea, and vomiting. According to the National Institute of Health, gastritis can also signify a more serious problem, like internal bleeding in the stomach (see Reference 1). Have your doctor test for potentially serious conditions if you have gastritis for more than a week (see Reference 2).
Request a diagnosis for the cause of your gastritis. Depending on the cause of your stomach pain, the treatments will be different. Ask your doctor about performing an upper gastrointestinal endoscopy, which allows the doctor to examine the stomach lining with a small camera, as well as take a sample for further testing. Ask your doctor to assess whether you need additional tests like a blood test or stool test. The specific cause of your stomach pain must be diagnosed before you choose a course of action.
Develop a treatment plan with your doctor. According to the Mayo Clinic, the plan will usually involve treating the cause of the problem, as well as the symptoms to reduce damage to the stomach lining. Consult your doctor about medications that reduce stomach acid. These can include antacids, acid blockers, and medications that reduce your stomach's production of acid. Schedule a follow-up with your doctor to make sure the cause of your gastritis is being handled.
Develop a healthier and less stressful lifestyle. According to the Mayo Clinic, stress heightens the production of stomach acids, increasing irritation to the stomach lining. Maintain a healthy diet to reduce stomach irritation, and eat smaller portions. Exercise daily, as this greatly improves digestion, as well as your overall health.
If your gastritis is accompanied by bloody vomit or black stool, see a doctor immediately.