Atrophic Gastritis

What is Atrophic Gastritis?

Atrophic Gastritis refers to an inflammation or infection of the stomach mucosa (mucous membranes). The ailment is chronic in nature. This is a difficult disease that is accompanied by additional disorders and malignant transformations.

The two most recognized variants of this disease are:

  • Autoimmune Metaplastic Atrophic Gastritis (AMAG)
  • Environmental Metaplastic Atrophic Gastritis (EMAG)

Atrophic Gastritis Classification

There are two types of atrophic gastritis :

  1. H pylori- associated atrophic gastritis – It has multi-focal and multi-level processes involving antrum and oxyntic mucosa inside gastric corpus and fundus.
  2. Autoimmune gastritis – It is solely restricted to the gastric corpus and fundus borders. People suffering from this form of the disorder are likely to develop pernicious anaemia (which results from heavy loss of parietal cell mass and anti-intrinsic factor antibodies).

As advocated by Takemoto and Kimura of Tokyo University in 1966, Atrophic Gastritis can be classified into two other categories – Close and Open. This classification is based on the progress level of the ailment.

Atrophic Gastritis Causes

The disease is caused by the persistent negative actions of Helicobacter pylori (bacteria) present in people who are diagnosed with chronic gastritis and gastric ulcers. AMAG, which inherits its existence from Atrophic Gastritis, is caused by parietal cells that are attacked by the immune system. EMAG is caused by dietary malfunction and H. Pylori (bacteria) infection. Patients suffering from and diagnosed with EMAG run the risk of being associated with Gastric Carcinoma.

Atrophic Gastritis Symptoms

The disorder leads to the gradual damage of gastric glandular cells which are replaced by intestinal and fibrous tissues in the long run. Basic stomach mechanisms like secretion of hydrochloric acid, pepsin, and intrinsic factor get severely affected. The impairment of the development of essential substances by the stomach leads to severe digestive problems, vitamin B12 deficiency, and megaloblastic anemia.

Since Atrophic Gastritis is typically autoimmune in form, it has a fast development. Some of the common symptoms of Atrophic Gastritis that possibly require immediate medical attention include:

  • Persistent feeling of Nausea
  • Gas
  • Belching
  • Abdominal bloating
  • Abnormal weight loss
  • Indigestion
  • Heartburn

Patients also suffer from other discomforts, such as:

Stomach Discomfort

This may include stomach upset which is a common symptom of Atrophic Gastritis.

Acute stomach ache

Inflammation of the stomach results in severe pain in the low abdominal region. Usually stomach pain tends to be persistent. At times, abdominal pain becomes very uncomfortable. Pain is often accompanied by a worsening of problems, such as stomach upset.

Vomit with blood discharge

It is caused in chronic cases of the disorder. It needs immediate medical attention and diagnosis.

Stomach fullness

This is usually caused by loss of appetite. Patients may suffer from fullness even after having little or no food. Fullness of stomach is often accompanied by hiccups and belching.

Chest pain

Patients suffering from chronic atrophic gastritis often experience pain in their chest area. Painful symptoms usually subside soon after eating.

Atrophic Gastritis Associated Ailments

Patients diagnosed with atrophic gastritis are often in the risk of developing gastric adenocarcinoma. In this case neither the diagnosis procedure nor the medication process is known. However, all nodules and polyps must be removed from the body of patients.

The condition takes several years to develop. People suffering from this disease run the risk of developing ulcers and stomach cancer.

Atrophic Gastritis Conditions

Atrophic Gastritis, being caused by chronic gastritis, results from infection by H. Pylori bacteria. The infection further results in weakening the stomach’s protective mucous layers. It further allows the gastric acid to reach the stomach lining and damage it.

Atrophic Gastritis Treatment

The condition can be treated well by medicines and nutrition control. The menacing H. pylori infection has to be cured for complete treatment of this disorder. The removal of the bacteria lessens the risk of ulcers and stomach cancer. There is a wide range of effective treatments for the disease. These include:

  • Proton Pump Inhibitors – These are used to stop the H. Pylori bacteria from continuing its negative activity inside the stomach. These inhibitors are also used to stop the formation of gastric acid.
  • Coating Agents – These are an integral type of medication that helps protect the stomach and the small intestine lining. This is a very different form of medication involving coating drugs. These are available both as prescription drugs and over the counter drugs. Bismuth subsalicylate is a type of coating drug that impedes the H. Pylori activity and gradually bottles up the bacteria activity completely.
  • Antibiotic drugs – These are used to remove H. pylori infection. Drugs are often prescribed along with other medical procedures and treatments. At times, multiple drugs are prescribed. Medical practitioners have often been found to prescribe multiple antibiotics along with a proton pump inhibitor which is called “triple therapy”. Triple therapy is very effective in killing the bacteria up to 90% of the time.
  • Vitamin B12 Injections – These are prescribed to many patients suffering from Atrophic Gastritis. The injections are given at regular intervals to prevent and reverse pernicious anaemia.

Atrophic Gastritis Diet

In order to prevent Atrophic Gastritis few basic steps should be followed. Proper nutrition is important in complete alleviation of digestive problems. Smoking, Alcohol Intake, having caffeine and very spicy foods are major stomach irritants. Avoiding these can stop the generation of Atrophic Gastritis.

Yoghurt, low salt foods, foods low on acid and oil, mineral water, light foods (low on fat) are best for the sensitive stomach. Chicken, salmon, potato, rice, carrot juice and vegetables are best for an Atrophic Gastritis-ridden stomach.

It is best to have bland food during this ailment since the stomach is hyper-sensitive at this time. This will prevent stomach upsets and also let treatment work better.

Atrophic Gastritis is an acute stomach ailment. This chronic disorder takes a long time to develop inside the human body. It is necessary to follow a healthy lifestyle and have a suitable diet plan to prevent this discomforting ailment.


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