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Gastritis - chronic

Alternative names

Chronic gastritis


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

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

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 with age, or chronic bile reflux.

Many people with chronic gastritis have no symptoms of the condition. Risk factors include infection with the bacteria Helicobacter pylori, pernicious anemia, and use of NSAIDs. The incidence is 2 out of 10,000 people.


  • 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

Signs and tests

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


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), 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 .

Expectations (prognosis)

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


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

Calling your health care provider

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.


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

Update Date: 10/9/2003

Christian Stone, M. D., Division of Gastroenterology, Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.

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Last updated: Tue, 06 Jan 2009 00:20:03 GMT