How to Identify Chronic Gastritis
The inside of your stomach is a delicate environment.
A healthy stomach produces plenty of enzymes, acid and mucus, which help it process food effectively and keep things moving along in your gastrointestinal tract. Yet when the stomach lining becomes inflamed, a condition called chronic gastritis can result.
What is chronic gastritis?
Gastritis is a condition that is characterized by inflammation of the stomach lining. When gastritis occurs slowly over time, this is called chronic gastritis. If left untreated, it can last for years - or even a lifetime.
Chronic gastritis is often caused by the bacterial infection that causes most stomach ulcers. However, some experts say that the most common cause of nonerosive chronic gastritis is the prolonged use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Other things like injury, drinking too much alcohol, smoking or chronic binge eating might also contribute to the condition. For most people, gastritis isn't serious and can improve quickly with treatment. But in some cases, gastritis can lead to ulcers, as well as an increased risk for stomach cancer.
Chronic gastritis can be difficult to detect, as it may not produce any symptoms at all. Some people might experience upper abdominal discomfort or pain, nausea or vomiting. Erosive gastritis - which causes ulcers or erosions in the stomach lining - can result in black, tarry stools, blood in the stools or blood in vomit.
The most common test for gastritis is an endoscopy, along with a biopsy of the stomach to test for cancerous cells.
Medications that help to restore acid balance in the stomach are usually recommended for chronic gastritis. Antacids, histamine 1 (H2) blockers and proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) may be helpful. Additionally, treating H. pylori infection is crucial, even if a person isn't experiencing symptoms. H. pylori gastritis can lead to the development of cancer, so a doctor might prescribe antibiotics to treat it. Curing H. pylori can cure gastritis and the conditions associated with it, like peptic ulcer disease and gastric cancer.
Source: Mayo Clinic, Medicine Net