GERD or Gastritis: Which Culprit Is Behind Your Digestive Discomfort?

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GERD or Gastritis Which Culprit Is Behind Your Digestive Discomfort - My Concierge MD

Have you ever felt a fiery, unwelcome sensation creeping up your chest after a hearty meal? Well, digestive discomfort is indeed a common woe. However, distinguishing between GERD and gastritis can be a totally puzzling mystery.

Now, if you can’t differ the culprit behind your distress, how can you handle it? So, GERD versus gastritis: what are the differences?

GERD and gastritis are both digestive conditions but affect different parts of the digestive tract. GERD is acid reflux causing inflammation in the esophagus, while gastritis is stomach lining inflammation. GERD symptoms may include heartburn, regurgitation, coughing, etc., while gastritis may cause abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, and early satiety.

But how do you manage them? Well, read the article to find out all.

Is GERD And Gastritis The Same Thing?

GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) and gastritis are related but distinct digestive conditions. People often consider them the same, but trust me, they differ in several aspects.


Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a more severe and prolonged version of gastroesophageal reflux (GER). In GER, the stomach’s contents occasionally flow back into the esophagus, but in GERD, the symptoms or complications persist.

The weakened or malfunctioning lower esophageal sphincter (LES), the muscular ring separating the esophagus from the stomach, usually causes this condition.

When you swallow, the LES opens to let food in, then closes. If it’s weak or faulty, stomach acid can flow back into your throat, causing acid reflux and inflammation. This condition can cause heartburn, pain, and other discomforts.

Acid reflux and heartburn are common, but GERD, a chronic condition, affects 20% of Americans. And the rates are increasing.


Gastritis is inflammation of the stomach lining caused by various factors such as bacterial infections, excessive alcohol consumption, or long-term use of NSAIDs. This inflammation can cause abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, and stuffiness after eating. Gastritis can be acute or chronic.

This condition can directly damage the stomach lining and interfere with stomach acid production needed for proper digestion. If untreated over many years, chronic gastritis can also lead to ulcers or other complications.

Gerd Versus Gastritis: The 7 Key Deferences

Let’s study the key differences between gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and gastritis.


GERD and gastritis occur for different reasons.

GERD: Frequent acid reflux or the backflow of stomach contents, including both acidic and non-acidic substances. Factors affecting LES, leading to GERD, include-

  • Health conditions such as hiatal hernia.
  • Spicy foods.
  • Alcohol and smoking.
  • Obesity.
  • Pregnancy.
  • Certain medications – sedatives, asthma medications, tricyclic antidepressants, etc.

Gastritis: Gastritis occurs due to an injury to the mucus lining in the stomach. Several possible factors can cause it, including-

  • Excessive alcohol consumption.
  • Chronic vomiting.
  • Stress.
  • Medication such as pain relievers.
  • Bacterial infection by the bacterium H pylori.
  • Bile reflux.
  • Food allergies.
  • Health conditions such as Crohn’s disease and HIV/AIDS.


To determine if you have GERD or gastritis, you must learn the symptoms of each condition.

GERD Symptoms: GERD symptoms include-

  • Regurgitation – the backwash of food or sour liquid through your throat.
  • Heartburn, usually after eating – often worsens at night or while lying down.
  • Backwash (regurgitation) of food or sour liquid.
  • Upper abdominal or chest pain.
  • Trouble swallowing.
  • The sensation of a lump in your throat.
  • Incessant cough.
  • New or worsening asthma.
  • Inflammation of the vocal cords or laryngitis.

Gastritis Symptoms: gastritis may cause

  • Nausea.
  • Abdominal bloating.
  • Abdominal pain.
  • Vomiting.
  • Indigestion.
  • Hiccups.
  • Black stools.
  • Loss of appetite.


For both GERD and gastritis, diagnosing typically begins with a review of your symptoms and medical history. If needed, your doctor may order an Upper Gastrointestinal Endoscopy. However, to determine the exact condition, doctors usually prescribe particular tests.

GERD: Esophageal pH Monitoring – evaluating your stomach acid levels over time.

Gastritis: For gastritis, diagnostic tests may include-

  • Blood Test.
  • Stool Test.
  • Urea Breath Test for Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) bacteria.


Treatment of both GERD and gastritis includes medication and diet modifications.

GERD Medications:

  • Antacids
  • H-2 receptor blockers
  • Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs)

Gastritis Medications:

  • Antibiotics
  • Supplements
  • Acid blockers
  • Antacids

GERD And Gastritis Diet Modification

Diet restrictions for GERD and gastritis are pretty similar.

Foods To Eat Foods To Avoid
  • High-fiber foods – raw vegetables, whole grains, etc.
  • Low-fat foods – lean meat and dairy products
  • Probiotics – kombucha, yogurt, kimchi, and sauerkraut
  • Alkaline foods – bananas, melons, cauliflower, fennel, and nuts
  • Foods containing water – celery, cucumber, lettuce, watermelon, and broth-based soups
  • Carbonated drinks
  • Fried foods
  • Spicy foods
  • Allergenic foods – tomato-based sauces, citrus fruits, chocolate, and peppermint
  • Foods high in fat, salt, or spice – fried food, fast food, pizza, potato chips, processed snacks, chili powder, pepper, fatty meats, cheese, etc.

Possible Complications

Complications of GERD and gastritis can have severe implications if left untreated.


  • Esophagitis.
  • Barrett’s esophagus.
  • Strictures of the esophagus.
  • Esophageal cancer.


  • Anemia.
  • Atrophic gastritis.
  • Peptic ulcers.
  • Growths in the stomach lining.
  • Polyps.


You may need to follow specific preventive measures to prevent GERD and gastritis.


For Gastritis:

  • Skip trigger foods: No to fatty, fried, salty, and excess alcohol.
  • Stay at a healthy weight.
  • Relax with yoga, tai chi, or meditation.
  • Avoid prolonged use of alcohol, NSAIDs, coffee, and drugs.
  • No smoking.

When To Call Your Doctor

Seeking medical help is essential if you notice certain conditions with GERD and gastritis.


  • Severe or frequent heartburn.
  • Difficulty swallowing, especially with solid foods or pills.
  • Heartburn accompanied by nausea or vomiting.
  • Drastic, unexplained weight loss with heartburn.
  • Chronic cough, choking sensation, or lump in your throat.
  • Over-the-counter antacids for more than two weeks with no relief.
  • Heartburn persists despite prescription or nonprescription meds.
  • Chest pain with neck, jaw, arm, or leg pain
  • Shortness of breath, weakness, irregular pulse, or sweating.
  • Extreme stomach pain.


  • Persisting symptoms for a week or more.
  • Severe stomach pain.
  • Persisting vomiting.
  • Nausea or dizziness.

Can Gastritis Cause Acid Reflux Or GERD?

Can Gastritis Cause Acid Reflux Or GERD - My Concierge MDGastritis does not cause acid reflux or GERD, but they may coexist and influence each other. Chronic gastritis may cause upper abdomen or chest discomfort after consuming certain foods or drinks. On the other hand, GERD occurs when stomach acid rises into the esophagus, causing heartburn or a burning sensation in the chest.

If you have GERD or gastritis symptoms, such as frequent heartburn, difficulty swallowing, or upper abdominal pain, consult your doctor.

Can You Have GERD and Gastritis At The Same Time?

Yes, it is possible to have both GERD and gastritis at the same time. While they are distinct conditions, they can coexist. They may have different causes and treatments, but they can share similar symptoms like abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, etc., and lead to complications without proper medications.

Managing both conditions requires lifestyle changes, dietary adjustments, and appropriate medical treatment.

Gastritis vs. GERD vs. Peptic Ulcer:

Do you have GERD, gastritis, or peptic ulcer? Well, answering correctly can be tricky. So, Here’s a table that compares and contrasts Gastritis, GERD, and Peptic Ulcers across various factors.



GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease)

Peptic Ulcer

Definition Inflammation of the stomach lining A chronic condition where stomach acid flows back into the esophagus Open sores that develop on the lining of the stomach, upper small intestine, or esophagus
Primary Causes Bacterial infection, excessive alcohol use, prolonged use of NSAIDs Weakened lower esophageal sphincter, obesity, smoking, certain foods and drinks H. pylori infection, prolonged NSAID use, excessive acid production
Common Symptoms Abdominal pain, nausea, bloating, loss of appetite Heartburn, acid regurgitation, chest pain, difficulty swallowing Abdominal pain, bloating, heartburn, nausea, vomiting, weight loss
Diagnosis Endoscopy, biopsy, blood tests, stool tests Endoscopy, pH monitoring, esophageal manometry Endoscopy, breath test for H. pylori, stool test, barium swallow
Treatment Antacids, acid blockers, antibiotics (for H. pylori), lifestyle changes antacids, H2 blockers, proton pump inhibitors, Lifestyle modifications Antibiotics (for H. pylori), acid suppressors, proton pump inhibitors, lifestyle changes
Complications Ulcers, increased cancer risk, bleeding in the stomach Esophagitis, esophageal strictures, Barrett’s esophagus Internal bleeding, perforation, gastric cancer risk
Lifestyle Modifications Avoiding irritants (like alcohol and spicy foods), stress management Diet changes, weight loss, avoiding late meals, elevating the head while sleeping Avoiding alcohol and smoking, stress management, dietary adjustments

Bottom Line

Gerd Versus Gastritis: which one do you have, and what may it cause? Both are digestive conditions, but you can only answer the question with a professional’s correct knowledge and guidance.

So, if you experience GERD or gastritis symptoms that are affecting your life miserably, don’t think twice to seek medical help.

Contact Dr. David Nazarian today for a tailored plan to manage all your digestive distress.

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