Background: While gastrointestinal function is known to be closely related to psychological status, the influence of Helicobacter pylori-associated atrophic gastritis is currently unknown. We aimed to determine whether atrophic gastritis status or H. pylori infection is associated with psychological distress or depressed mood. Materials and Methods: We performed a cross-sectional, observational study involving 975 Japanese individuals (503 females; mean age, 44 ± 8 years) who underwent a health checkup. Psychological distress was defined as a Kessler-6 Scale score ≥13 and depressive mood as a Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale score ≥ 16. The odds ratios with 95% confidence intervals assessing the risk of psychological distress or depressive mood associated with H. pylori infection (H. pylori-specific immunoglobulin G levels >10 U/mL) and atrophic gastritis status (pepsinogen I levels < 70 μg/L and pepsinogen I/II ratio < 3) were calculated using multiple logistic analysis adjusting for several covariates. Results: Individuals with atrophic gastritis had a significantly higher risk of experiencing psychological distress, with younger females (<50 years) displaying the highest risk for psychological distress and depressive mood regardless of H. pylori infection status. Among females aged <50 years, H. pylori-seropositive participants with atrophic gastritis (HP+AG+) showed the highest risk of psychological distress (OR, 16.4; 95% CI, 3.45-94.9) and depression (OR, 2.86; 95% CI, 1.31-6.05), using HP−AG− status as the reference. Conclusions: Our findings support the results of previous animal studies regarding the psychological response to gastritis in humans. Further studies are needed to elucidate whether H. pylori eradication provides psychological benefits.
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