Gastritis is the acute or chronic inflammation of the mucous membrane that lines the stomach. Gastritis is characterized by nausea, vomiting, and cramp like pain and often by loss of appetite.
   Acute gastritis is a common form of upset stomach. It is usually caused by the consumption of irritating foods or liquids, particularly alcohol. These substances produce a mild temporary inflammation that is cured by avoiding the offending substance and by eating bland foods. If the condition results from prolonged use of alcohol, it may be chronic, as well as acute, and abstinence from alcohol is necessary to effect a cure.
   Severe cases of acute gastritis may be caused by the swallowing of acids, lyes, or other poisons. If the condition is not promptly treated, death may result.
   Chronic irritation, which may develop from acute gastritis or other disturbances in the intestinal tract, can cause thickening of the stomach lining or partial destruction of the lining. Chronic gastritis may lead to ulceration and other disorders of the stomach.