Gastritis is when the lining of the stomach becomes inflamed or swollen. This usually happens after the stomach lining has been damaged. Gastritis that is long-lasting or recurring is known as chronic gastritis.
Chronic gastritis is one of the most common Trusted Source chronic conditions and can last for years or even a lifetime if left untreated. A wide range of different conditions and factors are known to cause or contribute to the development of chronic gastritis.
Resolving mild cases of gastritis can often be through the use of medication and lifestyle changes. However, for some people with severe chronic gastritis, a cure may not be possible, and the focus of treatment will be on managing the symptoms.
In this article, we look at the symptoms, causes, risk factors, and possible complications of chronic gastritis. We also cover when to see a doctor, diagnosis, treatment, and lifestyle and dietary changes.
People with minor cases of gastritis that are caused by the bacterium Helicobacter pylori may not always notice any symptoms.
However, most people with chronic gastritis experience a variety of symptoms, including:
- a burning or gnawing feeling in the stomach
- the sensation of being full after eating a small amount
- nausea and vomiting
- unintentional weight loss
- loss of appetite
- upper abdominal pain or discomfort
- bleeding, usually only in erosive gastritis
- Gastritis is termed “erosive” if the stomach lining has been worn away, exposing the tissue to stomach acids.
Chronic gastritis refers to a group of conditions that cause chronic inflammation of the mucosal lining of the stomach.
There are many different causes of chronic gastritis, but most cases are related to one of the following:
H. pylori bacterial infection
H. pylori bacterial infection is the most commonTrusted Source cause of gastritis worldwide. Many people first become infected during childhood, but not everyone experiences symptoms.
While H. pylori infection can cause both acute and chronic gastritis, it is not often associated with erosive gastritis.
Researchers think H. pylori spreads through infected food, water, salvia and other bodily fluids.
Damage to the stomach lining
Damage to the stomach lining can lead to chronic inflammation. Causes of this include:
- overuse or long-term use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen and naproxen
- excessive alcohol consumption
- chronic stress
- injuries and impact
- exposure to radiation
- recurring bile reflux from the small intestine
- cocaine use
In people with autoimmune gastritis, their immune system attacks the stomach lining for no apparent reason. Autoimmune gastritis is usually chronic but non-erosive.
In some people, autoimmune gastritis may be linked to chronic or severe H. pylori infection.
Less common causes of chronic gastritis include: