The term gastritis denotes a group of conditions that cause inflammation, irritation or erosion of the lining of the stomach.
Prognosis of gastritis
Gastritis is a common condition and can be acute or chronic. The good news is that in most people, gastritis improves quickly after the cause is diagnosed and treatment is started. In many people, there is no precipitating factor such as alcohol or NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs). In most of these cases, outlook for a full recovery is very good with treatment. With appropriate treatment, avoiding precipitating factors such as smoking or alcohol use is a must to improve symptoms.
Many people may have flare-up from time to time depending on the many factors that affect the stomach lining. In general, gastritis is a mildly troubling ailment that responds well to simple treatments. Only rarely can it become serious or even life-threatening.
Complications of gastritis
Ulcers: If gastritis is not treated, it may lead to chronic gastritis, stomach ulcers and stomach bleeding. Ulcers can cause symptoms such as severe pain in abdomen, bloating sensation, bleeding and fever, but they are rarely life threatening. Ulcers can bleed or develop other complications if they are not treated appropriately. Bleeding is usually slow and chronic from ulcer, which can lead to low blood count (anaemia) and symptoms are tiredness (fatigue), lethargy and pallor. Fast or severe bleeding is less common and causes symptoms such as vomiting blood that looks like coffee grounds or black and tarry stools.
Perforation: only rarely can an ulcer can get very bad and eat all the way through the intestinal wall leading to perforation (hole in the intestine). Leaking of food, intestinal juice and bacteria from the perforation can injure other tissues and cause serious infection.
Stomach cancer: The risk of stomach cancer is increased in some types of gastritis, especially if extensive thinning of the stomach lining and changes in the lining's cells occurs. Chronic H. pylori gastritis or autoimmune gastritis can lead to atrophic gastritis. The cells in the stomach lining that secrete digestive acids and enzymes are damaged in atrophic gastritis. Atrophic gastritis increases the risk of stomach cancer (gastric cancer and gastric mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue lymphoma).
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