Which are the symptoms?
Chronic gastritis, glandular atrophy and intestinal metaplasia in the majority of subjects do not determine a specific symptomatology and, although scientific studies have shown that Helicobacter pylori produces a chronic damage to the gastric mucosa, it is not demonstrated the relationship between gastritis and symptoms of the patient. Generally, the symptoms are those of functional dyspepsia: epigastric pain related to meals or present on an empty stomach, heaviness after meals and difficult digestion, early satiety, meteorism. Gastric ulcer represents a possible complication that always develops in a context of atrophic gastritis, so the prevalent symptomatology may be the one related to this lesion. In many cases, however, there is no symptomatology.
How is it diagnosed?
The diagnosis can only be made through the histological study of the gastric mucosa, which is performed on biopsy samples taken endoscopically. Esophagogastroduodenoscopy is, therefore, the necessary examination to be performed, both to diagnose gastritis and to control its evolution in time.
How is it treated?
Therapy may be symptomatic or etiologic. The symptomatic therapy is based on the use of prokinetic, antacid or antisecretive drugs, protectors of the gastric mucosa; the etiological therapy consists in the eradication of the Helicobacter pylori infection that determines, in addition to the disappearance of the bacterium itself, the resolution of the gastritis with the disappearance of inflammatory cells from the stomach mucosa, but not always manages to eliminate the symptoms. The eradication of the infection seems however to be able to interrupt the natural history of gastritis in its evolution towards precancerous lesions.