Gastritis - chronic

Chronic gastritis is inflammation of the lining of the stomach that persists for a long time.

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.

Symptoms

  • Upper abdominal pain, possibly made worse by eating
  • Dark stools
  • Indigestion
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Vomiting blood or coffee-ground like material

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

Exams and Tests

  • Complete blood count (CBC) showing anemia
  • EGD (esophagogastroduodenoscopy) and biopsy showing gastritis
  • Stool guaiac test to check for blood in the stools

Treatment

Treatment depends on the specific cause. Some of the causes will disappear over time.

Medications known to cause gastritis should be discontinued.

Medications to neutralize stomach acid or decrease its production will usually eliminate the symptoms and promote healing.

Antibiotics are used to treat chronic gastritis caused by infection with Helicobacter pylori.

Gastritis caused by pernicious anemia is treated with vitamin B12.

Outlook (Prognosis)

The outlook depends on the cause, but is usually good.

Possible Complications

Loss of blood and increased risk of gastric cancer are potential complications.

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.

Alternative Names

Chronic gastritis