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Digestive Disorders

Chronic Gastritis

05/13/2002

Question:

Six Months ago I had a mild caes of gastritis as a result of H-Pylori. The H-Pylori was eradicated, but Six months later I`ve developed chronic gastritis. This is very alarming to me as I`ve always been in great health and have always had excellent eating habits. I`m 27 and fear that this will cause me to develop stomach cancer as it will not go away. Could you possiblt tell me the likely hood of cancer developing as a result of chronic gastritis? Also, how long DOES it take for this nasty disease to to go away?

I really appreciate your comments.

Answer:

There are several parts of your question which are missing important information which makes it impossible to give you a more precise answer. For example, you state that you developed gastritis due to H. pylori. How was gastritis diagnosed, because an endoscopy test with biopsies is the only way to definitively confirm gastritis. If you did not have an endoscopy test, then you can`t be sure whether you have gastritis. Then you say that the H. pylori was eradicated. Do you mean you were treated with antibiotics, or were you treated with antibiotics and then had a specific test 1-2 months after treatment that confirmed that the H. pylori was gone ? If you were treated with antibiotics but did not have a follow-up test to confirm cure, it is possible that the reason you have chronic gastritis is that the H. pylori was incompletely treated (H. pylori is the main cause of chronic gastritis worldwide). If you received antibiotics and had a follow-up test which was negative for H. pylori (the true definition of eradication), then the presence of chronic gastritis (once again, this is a diagnosis made only by a biopsy) is likely due to lack of enough time for the gastritis to resolve. Chronic gastritis due to H. pylori may take up to a year to completely resolve after successful treatment of the infection. Finally, most patients with gastritis and H. pylori either have no complications at all or develop symptoms due to peptic ulcers. Stomach cancer from gastritis/H. pylori is very rare and has been declining in the United States for the last 20 years.

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Response by:

John D Long, MD
Assistant Professor of Clinical Medicine
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati