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Gastritis vs. weight loss

  Hi, I'm 26 and have recently been suffering from intermitten abdominal discomfort. It seems to come on more strongly after eating and is generally in the upper left quadrant but will radiate to the middle and even the right side.  My primary care physician
  has done blood work wich showed only a small concentration of helicobactor (I got the impression that this was not abnormal) but I had him refer me to a gastroenterologist who will be doing an endoscopy sometime in the future. I am currently on prilosec which seems to ease if not remove the discomfort. (I haven't taken any inflammatory drugs in the past).
  My big concern is that my appetite has been significantly diminished and even when I'm hungry I don't feel comfortable eating a heavy meal.  Traditionally, I have always been a big eater although I have kept my weight in check with a modest fitness program. My question is, these symptoms began about six weeks ago and since then I have lost about 15 pounds (which puts me at my ideal weight) even though I eat about half of what I usually do (excersize has been minimal), and very little dairy and meat, I  try to keep up with eating, yet I still feel like I'm losing weight. Is this much weight loss unusual for someone with a decreased appetite and gastritis or a potential ulcer. If not, what could cause this.  
  Thank you,
Dear Eric,
Left upper abdominal pain, weight loss and evidence of Helicobacter pylori infection all suggest acid peptic disease (gastritis or ulcer). Another possible cause could be gastroesophageal reflux disease and esophagitis. Less likely possibilities would be related to the pancreas or biliary tract (ex. gallstones) or a gastric emptying disorder. I would continue omeperazole (Prilosec) for now, adhere to anti-reflux measures, analyze your diet for offending foods (caffeine, spicy foods, chocolate, onions, tomatoes, peppermint, citrus drinks), avoid all aspirin and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (such as naproxen, ibuprofen) and wait to see what the endoscopy shows. If you have evidence of Helicobacter pylori infection, I generally will recommend treatment. Although it may not relieve your symptoms, it's worth a try. I hope you feel better soon. Good luck.
This response is being provided for general informational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice or consultation. Always check with your personal physician when you have a question pertaining to your health.
If you would like to be seen at our institution please call 1-800-653-6568 our Referring Physicians' Office and make an appointment to see Dr. Muszkat, one of our experts in Gastroenterology.
*Keywords: abdominal pain, weight loss, Helicobacter pylori, endoscopy

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