Difference Between Gastritis and Gastroenteritis

Key Difference – Gastritis vs. Gastroenteritis

Gastritis and Gastroenteritis are misunderstood to be the same by the laypersons as the two words sound similar, but there is a key difference between gastritis and gastroenteritis. Gastroenteritis is an acute infective illness of the gastrointestinal tract that mainly manifest with cramping central abdominal pain and diarrhea. On the other hand, Gastritis is the inflammation of the gastric mucosa with acid irritation due to the damage to mucin barrier that protect the gastric mucosa from the acid attack and it manifest as epigastric burning pain. As you can observe the key difference is that while Gastritis is the inflammation of the gastric mucosa and acid irritation, Gastroenteritis is the infection of GI tract. Through this article let us examine the differences further.

What is Gastritis?

Gastritis is the inflammation of the gastric mucosa causing burning epigastric pain as a result of damaged gastric mucin barrier exposing the inner layers to gastric acid. It has been identified that Helicobacter pylori, which is a gram-negative organism, colonizing gastric mucosa as a leading predisposing cause of gastritis. Other than this, unhealthy food habits and behaviors such as poorly timed meals, coffee, alcohol, chocolate, and smoking have been identified as potential risk factors. Typically, patients with gastritis get burning type of abdominal pain due to the acid irritations. Other than this, they can have vomiting, flatulence, acid taste in the mouth, and loss of appetite. Rarely, autoimmune diseases can cause gastritis that has slightly different pathophysiology.

Nonsteroid anti-inflammatory medications such as Aspirin and Diclofenac sodium are well known causative agents of gastritis. Severe gastritis can end up with gastric ulceration and even perforation. Long term gastritis can be ended up with gastric carcinomas as well. Severe gastritis may need upper GI endoscopy to exclude any other pathologies and to identify complications. Treatment for gastritis is based on avoidance or risk factors. Drug treatment includes proton pump inhibitors, H2 receptor blockers, antacids, etc. Sometimes, long-term treatment is necessary for the complete relief. It is indicated that H. Pylori eradication therapy in confirmed cases with H pylori colonization or resistant cases with long-term symptoms despite treatment.

Difference Between Gastritis and Gastroenteritis

What is Gastroenteritis?

Gastroenteritis is a diarrheal illness mostly caused by infective organisms such as Rota virus, Salmonella, Cholera, Shigella, etc. Patients get severe cramping central abdominal pain with blood mucous or watery diarrhea. Gastroenteritis is spread by fecal–oral transmission hence good hygiene practices and sanitation is the key to preventing these infections. Especially it can cause complications in small children and elderly. Dehydration is an important complication especially with severe watery diarrhea where oral rehydration therapy is required. Simple watery diarrhea is usually managed symptomatically and with rehydration. However, blood mucous diarrhea needs proper assessment to identify the organism with stool full report and culture. It needs antibiotic therapy. It is important to maintain good nutritional intake during the illness.

Key Difference - Gastritis vs Gastroenteritis

What is the difference between Gastritis and Gastroenteritis?


Gastritis is the inflammation of the gastric mucosa and acid irritation.

Gastroenteritis is the infection of GI tract.


Gastritis is caused by H. pylori as well as from non-infective causes such as excess coffee alcohol and smoking.

Gastroenteritis is caused by infective agents.


Gastritis causes burning epigastric pain.

Gastroenteritis causes diarrhea and cramping central abdominal pain.


Gastritis may need upper GI endoscopy and H pylori testing.

Gastroenteritis may need stool full report and culture.


Gastritis is treated with correction of food habits, avoidance of risk factors and pomp proton inhibitors, antacids, etc.

Gastroenteritis is treated with rehydration therapy and antibiotics in some cases.


Gastritis can lead to gastric ulcers, perforations. It has a long-term risk of gastric cancer.

Gastroenteritis can lead to dehydration and renal failure, sepsis, etc


Image Courtesy:

1. Gastritis PET By Hg6996 (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

2. “Eosinophilic gastroenteritis CT” by The original uploader was Countincr at English Wikipedia – Transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons. [CC BY-SA 2.5] via Commons