Alcohol and the Stomach


If you’ve ever suffered from a hangover you’ll be aware that alcohol can really upset the stomach. The day after a night of heavy drinking the stomach often feels queasy and nauseous. Too much alcohol also often makes people vomit.

Alcohol irritates the digestive system and even small amounts increase the amount of acid produced by the stomach. This can inflame the stomach’s lining and cause pain, vomiting, diarrhoea and internal bleeding.

Drinking more than 14 units a week for women or 21 for men increases the risk of doing longer-term and possibly irreparable damage to the stomach lining. Furthermore, experts also suggest that alcohol can increase the risks of developing stomach cancer and other types of cancer. Heavy drinkers are also at risk of peptic ulcers. These are a hole in the stomach lining and are very painful.

Excessive drinking can affect the body’s ability to absorb vitamins and nutrients from food that are essential for wellbeing. Digestive conditions such as IBS can be aggravated by alcohol.

To avoid damaging your stomach with alcohol you should aim to stay below the recommended maximum unit limits outlined by the Government. Don’t mix drinks or drink quickly on an empty stomach. Alternate soft drinks with alcoholic ones and try to have a few alcohol-free days every week.

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