What is chronic gastritis?

Chronic gastritis is an inflammation of the mucosa (lining) of the stomach which persists for a prolonged period of time, and thus leads to abdominal pain.

The lining of the stomach contains glands which secrete several important compounds, among them the enzyme pepsin and hydrochloric acid. Pepsin breaks down protein in the presence of hydrochloric acid.

Due to the highly corrosive properties of the hydrochloric acid, the stomach lining produces mucous to protect itself.

Chronic gastritis is a condition which fundamentally consists on the disruption of the lining of the stomach. The lining of the stomach, which acts as a barrier, is composed of a thick layer of mucous. This layer covers the mucosa of the stomach.

The lining is also composed of the epithelial tissues which produce the mucous. Mechanical, chemical or physical factors may disrupt the mucous barrier. This leads to damage of the mucosa of the stomach.

In cases of atrophic gastritis, there is a decrease in the acidity of the stomach, due to lowered levels of hydrochloric acid. These are considered pre-cancerous conditions, which can lead to the development of a cancer.

Medically Reviewed by a doctor on 24 Jan 2018
Medical Author: Dr. med. Diana Hysi