Excessive alcohol consumption can lead to a variety of stomach problems, from a night of vomiting to a serious case of gastritis. Stomach acid levels are affected by alcohol, and heavy drinking can cause discomfort or irritate conditions (such as ulcers) that you already have. If you have stomach pain, it is best to avoid drinking alcohol until you talk to your doctor.
Alcohol and the Stomach
According to the University of Michigan Health System, alcohol can affect the stomach in numerous ways. Drinking alcohol can lead to an increase in stomach acid, which may irritate the organ. It can also cause a condition called gastritis, which is irritation of the stomach’s lining. If you have stomach ulcers, alcohol can irritate them and cause painful flareups.
Drinking to excess will lead to nausea and vomiting. Alcohol irritates the stomach, and vomiting is the body’s attempt to rid itself of a toxic substance. This sort of stomach discomfort is not chronic; rather, it's brought on by bouts of heavy drinking.
According to the Heartburn Alliance, alcohol loosens the valve that retains acid inside the stomach. This acid can seep into the esophagus, which can cause pain and discomfort.
GICare, a website about diseases of the digestive system, points out that social drinkers don’t have to worry about gastritis. It is alcohol abuse that causes this disorder. Symptoms may include abdominal pain, vomiting and loss of appetite. This condition may also cause bleeding in the stomach. The doctor will diagnose this condition with an endoscopy of the stomach.
Ulcers are a small lesion in the lining of the stomach, and they can cause abdominal pain during flareups. According to the Mayo Clinic, alcohol can irritate the lining of the stomach and aggravate ulcers. If you have a stomach ulcer, you should refrain from drinking or only drink moderately. Be sure to talk to your doctor about drinking and this condition.
Talk to Your Doctor
If you think you are experiencing alcohol-related stomach pain, or if you want to know how alcohol may affect a stomach condition that you have, be sure to talk to your doctor. He will be able to address your specific questions and concerns.