Chronic gastritis



Chronic gastritis

Definition

Chronic gastritis is an inflammation of the lining of the stomach that occurs gradually and persists for a prolonged time.

Alternative Names

Chronic gastritis

Causes

Chronic gastritis may be caused by prolonged irritation from the use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), infection with the bacteria Helicobacter pylori, pernicious anemia (an autoimmune disorder), degeneration of the lining of the stomach from age, or chronic bile reflux.

Many people with chronic gastritis have no symptoms of the condition.

Symptoms

  • Upper abdominal pain, possibly aggravated by eating
  • Abdominal indigestion
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Vomiting blood or coffee-ground like material
  • Dark stools
Note: there may be no symptoms

Exams and Tests

  • EGD (esophagogastroduodenoscopy) and biopsy showing gastritis
  • CBC showing anemia
  • A guaiac stool test

Treatment

The treatment depends on the cause of the gastritis. Antibiotic therapy will treat chronic gastritis caused by infection with Helicobacter pylori.

Antacids or other medications, such as cimetidine (to decrease or neutralize gastric acid in the stomach) or proton pump inhibitors such as Prilosec, will usually eliminate the symptoms and promote healing. Medications known to cause gastritis should be discontinued. Gastritis caused by pernicious anemia is treated with vitamin B12.

Outlook (Prognosis)

Most gastritis improves rapidly with treatment. Prognosis depends on the underlying cause. Most chronic gastritis does not cause symptoms and does not result in significant illness.

Possible Complications

Loss of blood and increased risk of gastric cancer

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Call your health care provider if symptoms of gastritis do not improve with treatment. Call your health care provider if you are vomiting blood or producing bloody stools.

Prevention

Avoid use of aspirin or NSAIDs if you are prone to gastritis.

Howden CW, Hunt RH. Guidelines for the management of Helicobacter pylori infection. Ad Hoc Committee on Practice Parameters of the American College of Gastroenterology. Am J Gastroenterol. 1998 Dec;93(12):2330-8.

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