The joys of being an adult include the ability to legally drink alcohol. Sometimes, you find that you went overboard as you sit over the toilet retching to remove the compound from your body.
You now feel a horrid pain in your stomach, or perhaps you do not feel it until the following morning. Alcohol has nearly immediate effects on the body that can cause stomach pain and other symptoms.
As with most things, your pain might arise from a variety of sources. Learn what causes your stomach pain after drinking and what you can do in the future to prevent the same icky feelings.
What happens when I drink alcohol?
Alcohol is a sedative-hypnotic drug that depresses the central nervous system when consumed in high doses, according to the Alcohol Advisory Council of New Zealand, people enjoy the compound’s ability to enhance euphoria and talkativeness. These are the symptoms experienced with low levels of alcohol consumption.
Higher doses, on the other hand, can cause drowsiness, respiratory depression along with various effects on every single bodily organ. The particular effects depend on the body’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) over time.
As soon as you swallow an alcoholic drink, the stomach rapidly absorbs 20% of its contents, while the small intestine absorbs the remaining percentage. You feel the effects within only five to ten minutes.
Alcohol levels will peak in the blood after 30 to 90 minutes. The compound may not only affect one’s mental and physical health, but heavy and chronic drinking may also increase the risk of death.
How does alcohol consumption affect my body?
Chronic alcohol use could potentially cause acute alcohol poisoning, fatal diseases, and contribute to suicide/death. Over-consumption of alcohol has both immediate and long-term effects. The immediate effects include:
Alcohol causes the muscle around the outlet of the stomach to relax. As a result, heartburn develops from the stomach acid that rises up the esophagus (food pipe).
This condition is gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), according to Narconon. Chronic, or long-term, alcohol use might cause alcoholic hepatitis.
This condition affects 10 to 35% of chronic drinkers. Alcoholic hepatitis primarily affects the liver, but it may likewise cause stomach swelling. Other symptoms of alcoholic hepatitis include:
- Feeling ill
- Jaundice (yellow skin and white portion of eyes)
- Tender Liver
- Death (severe cases)
Can alcohol cause stomach pain?
Long-term alcohol use can cause conditions accompanied by stomach pain. One such ailment is chronic gastritis. Chronic gastritis is inflammation of the stomach lining that produces stomach pain, nausea, loss of appetite and indigestion.
The Advanced liver disease may cause the veins leading to the stomach and esophagus to burst, which causes detrimental bleeding.
You may likewise develop a Mallory Weiss tear, which occurs between the stomach and esophagus, after prolonged vomiting.
Narconon reports that the tear might heal on its own, but in severe cases, you may require surgery or transfusions.
Does alcohol affect my stomach in any other ways?
DrinkWise reports that alcohol increases the stomach’s acid content. Alcohol consumption produces gases in the stomach that cause bloating and cramping as well. This may irritate the stomach lining to cause pain, vomiting or diarrhea.
According to Drink Aware, vomiting too much while nearly unconscious may lead to vomit inhalation in the lungs, which may cause death. The compound may additionally impede the body’s ability to digest food and absorb nutrients.
This property may contribute to malnutrition and alcohol-related diseases in chronic drinkers. Long-term use can further increase the incidence of peptic ulcers in the stomach lining.
Moreover, chronic consumption could potentially lead to appetite loss, nausea and stomach pain. Bear in mind it only takes one session of profuse drinking to cause the stomach lining to suffer from inflammation and consequent bleeding.
Can a hangover cause stomach pain?
A hangover may result after consuming large quantities of alcohol in one session, according to the Alcohol Advisory Council of New Zealand. Symptoms begin a few hours after you stop drinking as the blood alcohol concentration decreases.
Your symptoms will peak when the blood alcohol concentration reaches zero, but symptoms may persist for up to 24 hours. Stomach symptoms typical of a hangover include nausea, vomiting and stomach pain.
It is best to avoid taking aspirin or any anti-inflammatory medications if you experience stomach pain or nausea after drinking. These medications might aggravate the already present gastritis. Opt instead for an antacid.
How does alcohol affect my stomach’s biological functions?
S. Rennie, LPN, states that alcohol can interfere with stomach functions to cause:
- Altered gastric acid secretion
- Acute gastric mucosal injury
- Interference with gastric and intestinal motility (movement)
Excess gastric juices can irritate the mucosa and cause pain along with ulcers. Rennie reports that a study by Cheri et al. revealed that beer and wine, low alcohol content beverages, significantly increase gastric acid secretion and gastrin hormone.
Contrarily, whiskey and cognac, high alcohol content beverages, increase neither gastric acid secretion nor gastrin release. The specific mechanism behind these actions, or lack of action, is unknown.
However, the researchers speculate that alcohol may stimulate the gastric mucosa. Another possibility is the compound regulates nerve functions affiliated with acid secretion.
Cheri et al. additionally concluded it is the by-product of beer fermentation that stimulates gastric acid secretion. Long-term alcohol consumption can lower gastric acid production in the stomach.
Thus, alcohol inhibits the stomach’s capacity to kill food-related bacteria. This is the result of a shrunken gastric mucosa. A shrunken mucosa causes potentially harmful microorganisms to occupy the upper small intestine.
You can partially reduce this damage by abstaining from alcohol. Alcohol can obstruct muscles around the stomach wall and small intestine. Consequently, the obstruction alters the time it takes food to move through the organs.
Furthermore, alcoholic drinks with a content of 15% or more delay peristalsis (food movement) in the stomach. This can result in gases that cause feelings of fullness and stomach discomfort.
Are there any other ways alcohol can cause stomach pain or associated pain?
According to New Health Guide, there are quite a few ways alcohol can induce stomach pain. Alcohol is a pro-oxidant that produces reactive oxygen as it digests. These reactive oxygen species may cause cell and gastrointestinal damage that cause pain.
Alcohol intolerance is a condition that inhibits the body’s ability to digest alcohol. The intolerance culminates because the small intestine is incapable of producing enzymes that digest alcohol toxins.
Beer preservatives, sulfur dioxide, and histamines trigger alcohol intolerance. An inflamed pancreas from alcohol consumption can likewise cause stomach pains. Check out this YouTube video to see how pancreatitis can cause stomach pains.
He will give you useful information as to what happens, and what you can do to try to manage the condition. Peptic ulcers, which are open wounds on the stomach lining, present themselves with symptoms of pain and extreme stomach discomfort after eating.
Ulcers are accompanied by a burning sensation prior to eating or drinking. Another condition, chronic cholecystitis (gallbladder disease) is an ailment wherein the gallbladder contains gallstones.
The disease may trigger pain in the abdomen or stomach after alcohol consumption. Bowel obstructions cause stomach pain after drinking alcohol. A bowel obstruction occurs when bile or fecal matter is impacted.
You should seek immediate medical help if suffering from a bowel obstruction. If not, you may suffer from tumors, hernias or an irregular growth of tissues.
What can I do to stop this horrible pain?
After an alcohol-filled night, it is a fantastic idea to drink water before bed to prevent dehydration and avoid stomach damage.
The next day, you may find it helpful to eat foods that can decrease the stomach’s acidity levels, such as salty crackers or toast. Alcohol commonly depletes vitamin B, so eat bananas to reintroduce the mineral into your body.
Pickles are a tangy choice to replenish vitamin A, potassium, manganese and calcium. The more minerals the body has to push it towards a homeostatic state, the better your stomach will feel.
It is also great to indulge in a cup of mint or ginger tea to pacify the stomach.
Can I prevent stomach pain after drinking altogether?
A few choices you make before partaking in a night of fun can save you considerable pain the next day. Be sure to eat prior to drinking to prevent quick absorption of alcohol. As you drink, remember to pace yourself.
Drink slowly and limit yourself to one drink per hour. Additionally, incorporate a glass of water between each drink you complete. This action wards off dehydration. Lastly, you should avoid nicotine, along with any other drugs, while drinking.
Why do I/did I see blood in my vomit?
Hematemesis, or vomiting blood, after drinking, is a sign that your alcohol consumption is out of hand, according to the New Health Guide.
Initial indicators of bloody vomit include:
- Burning in the stomach, chest or throat
- Abdominal cramps
- Stomach Pain
The aforementioned symptoms are milder indicators of hematemesis. The more severe symptoms include:
- Severe pain in the chest, abdomen or back
- Shortness of breath
- Large amounts of blood in vomit
- Passing out
- Circulatory shock
Seek a doctor immediately if you experience the following:
- Massive bleeding from vomiting
- Large blood clots in stool
- Maroon-colored stools
- Severe pain, dizziness or passing out
- Any individual who experiences bloody vomiting while on blood thinners (Coumadin, Plavix, Pradaxa)
What conditions, in particular, might cause bloody vomit?
Gastrointestinal (GI) Tract Rupture: vomiting creates pressure in the abdomen, chest, and esophagus. The pressure may cause the GI tract to rupture. A GI rupture can cause intense inflammation. Infections may likewise result from a GI rupture and will prove fatal without emergency medical treatment.
Treatment typically involves emergency surgical repair of the rupture and evacuation of food contents from the chest cavity.
This procedure is followed up with antibiotics and supportive care in the intensive care unit. Symptoms include:
- Sudden onset of severe chest pain that radiates down the back
- Shortness of breath
- Abdominal pain
Cirrhosis: develops from chronic alcohol consumption, autoimmune diseases and inherited diseases like hemochromatosis (iron overload). The condition causes liver scarring and an increased blood pressure inside the liver circulation.
Abnormal vessels (varices) form on the esophagus that is likely to rupture and cause massive bleeding. Treatments for cirrhosis try to stop bleeding. Methods include medications and surgical options. Cirrhosis cannot be reversed.
However, it helps to eliminate alcohol and any medications that will irritate the condition. Avoid aspirin and non-steroidal medications. You should eat a low salt diet with limited protein.
Further bleeding can be controlled by specialists who intervene and perform procedures to relieve pressure on the blood vessels. Symptoms of cirrhosis include:
- Vomiting large quantities of bright red blood
- Passing Out
- Passing blood through the rectum
Ulcers: can cause small amounts of blood to appear in feces and vomit. If the ulcer erodes deeper into the stomach, this can produce large quantities of blood in your vomit. Ulcers that erode into blood vessels can cause copious amounts of gastrointestinal bleeding.
Common symptoms of ulcers include discomfort in the lower chest and mid abdominal pain. Fecal blood causes the waste to appear dark or black.
Bright red and maroon hues indicate brisk bleeding, which means you need immediate medical attention. Doctors will treat your ulcers with prescription therapy including proton pump inhibitors that decrease acid levels. It may be useful to take an antacid to get temporary relief from ulcers.
Stomach pain after drinking alcohol often results from increased acid production in the stomach. This increased concentration may cause gastritis, which is inflammation of the stomach lining.
If you choose to drink, remember to eat beforehand to decrease alcohol’s absorption rate by the body. You should drink water throughout the night to keep your body properly hydrated.
Foods that replenish the body after heavy drinking episodes include bananas and pickles. Bananas will give you vitamin B, while pickles provide a slew of electrolytes and minerals.
In the future, remember to drink in moderation to prevent damaging your body and suffering from a hangover.