Intestinal Metaplasia Causes Symptoms Treatment

Intestinal metaplasia, also known as intestinal metaplasia, is the transformation of cells lining the stomach into cells similar to those found in the intestines.

Intestinal metaplasia; or those with GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) or chronic acid reflux. Some experts state that this change in the digestive system is caused by the bacterium Helicobacter pylori.

Can Intestinal Metaplasia Cause?

It has not been determined exactly what causes intestinal metaplasia. However, it is estimated that the bacterium Helicobacter pylori plays a major role in the formation of this condition. Helicobacter pylori bacteria can be transmitted from person to person through direct contact with feces, vomit or saliva. On the other hand, H. pylori can spread through unclean water or food.

Helicobacter Pylori

This type of bacteria causes an infection in the stomach. It is the main cause of peptic ulcers; It can also trigger the development of stomach cancer and gastritis.


Hereditary predisposition may also be responsible for intestinal metaplasia. Those with stomach cancer or other stomach problems are more likely to get this disease.


The stomach surface is covered with a mucous layer. Gastritis causes this layer to become inflamed. It may bring along intestinal metaplasia.

Stomach Reflux

There is a valve between the food and the stomach tube. If this cannot be completely closed, stomach acid rises upwards and gastric reflux is seen. Stomach acid has a corrosive effect. Stomach acid, which constantly goes up and touches the esophagus tissue, changes the surface of this area. This results in intestinal metaplasia.


Sometimes the underlying factor for intestinal metaplasia in the stomach is smoking. Smoking contains many carcinogenic substances. These are the causes of deterioration in the genetic structure of stomach cells. It starts the process of metaplasia in the cells.

Alcohol Use

Alcohol consumption increases the acid released from the stomach. Cells in the stomach undergo changes and intestinal metaplasia may develop.

Risk factors in intestinal metaplasia are as follows;

  1. Helicobacter pylori infection,
  2. High salt intake
  3. To smoke,
  4. Alcohol consumption
  5. Chronic bile reflux

What is Intestinal Metaplasia of the Stomach?

The displacement or disruption of the cells that make up the stomach lining leads to intestinal metaplasia in the stomach. Smoking is one of the things that increase this risk.

Intestinal metaplasia in the stomach increases the risk of stomach cancer. Among the different types of metaplasia in the stomach, the bowel type is the most common and is caused by H. pylori infection and bile reflux. It can be cured if treated.

Intestinal Metaplasia Symptoms

Intestinal metaplasia often does not present with severe symptoms. However, some patients may encounter various digestive system problems. The following symptoms may also be observed during intestinal metaplasia:

  1. Heartburn
  2. Indigestion
  3. Difficulty swallowing
  4. Blood in the stool
  5. Digestive problems
  6. Nausea
  7. Anorexia
  8. Weight loss
  9. Bitter water in the mouth
  10. Bloating and gas
  11. Vomiting

How is Intestinal Metaplasia Treated?

Diagnosis and treatment of intestinal metaplasia is within the area of ​​interest of the Gastroenterology branch of the internal medicine unit. In hospitals where there is no gastroenterology department, internal medicine doctors treat this disease.

Intestinal metaplasia treatment If not done, it can bring about stomach cancer. Therefore, treatment should not be late. There are various methods applied to improve intestinal metaplasia. Examination of the patient’s stomach lining is needed to determine the correct treatment method. In addition, tissue sample is taken by biopsy with endoscopy.

After the presence of intestinal metaplasia is confirmed, the second step is to decide on the appropriate treatment. The best solution today is to get complete removal of the H. Pylori infection. If H. Pylori inflammation is present, it is possible to eliminate it with antibiotic treatment. It happens that proton pump inhibitor drugs are also required along with antibiotic therapy.

Which treatment is preferred depends on how far the discomfort has progressed. H-2 receptor blockers, antacids and proton pump inhibitors are used in the treatment of acid deficiency.

If reflux disease is detected, proton pump inhibitor, antacid or alginate drugs can be used. A special nutrition program can be arranged. Sometimes surgery may be required.

Surgical Operation: The last resort in severe cases is to surgically remove these tissues.

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