Abusing alcohol long-term can cause plenty of psychological and physical health problems. Alcoholic or alcohol gastritis is one condition you may not hear that much about, but heavy drinkers put themselves at risk of developing this inflammatory digestive disease. Whereas you might wake up with a stomachache after drinking heavily, it could be a sign of damage to your stomach lining.
This article discusses alcoholic gastritis, its causes, symptoms, and addiction treatment options.
What Is Alcoholic Gastritis?
Alcohol gastritis occurs when alcohol begins to erode some of the lining in the stomach. It may go undetected for a while, but eventually alcohol gastritis symptoms will begin to appear. It may start as mild burning sensations in the stomach, but can lead to severe abdominal pain, vomiting, and ulcers. Essentially, the acidity of the alcohol eats away parts of the digestive system.
Chronic And Acute Gastritis
Gastritis can either be chronic or acute. Chronic tends to be milder than acute, but both conditions damage the lining of the stomach. Chronic gastritis happens over time and is less symptomatic, while acute happens more suddenly and tends to be more painful. Both conditions may cause one to feel like their stomach is aching or burning, or they may describe it as a gnawing feeling in their upper abdominal area.
Symptoms of Chronic Alcoholic Gastritis
Chronic means persisting for a long time. Chronic alcoholic gastritis is a condition that occurs gradually and continues long-term. One the condition begins with mild symptoms, and may even go undetected for a while until they become more severe.
Chronic alcoholic gastritis symptoms include:
- Appetite loss
- Irritated stomach
- Mild pain in the stomach
Symptoms of Acute Alcoholic Gastritis
Acute gastritis is more severe than chronic gastritis, acute means more severe, so acute gastritis means that the inflammation of the stomach is more severe, and this tends to cause much more pain. Alcoholic acute gastritis symptoms include:
- Moderate to severe stomach pain
How Does Alcoholic Gastritis Occur?
You may wonder if alcohol and stomach pain are always related. The stomach has special enzymes and acids that help breakdown the food that we ingest. The stomach also has a lining that protects the rest of the body from these chemicals. When this stomach lining becomes worn down or irritated, gastritis can occur. There are various things that can cause gastritis and not just alcohol.
Gastritis causes include:
- Excessive stress
- Excessive caffeine
- Acid reflux
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) (Ibuprofen, Aspirin, etc.)
Alcoholic Gastritis: Am I At Risk?
You may wonder if you are at risk of developing chronic or acute alcoholic gastritis. If you’ve been a mild moderate to severe drinker for a long period of time, your risk increases. The large amounts of alcohol can cause damage to your digestive tract. Also, if you consume a high-fat diet, smoke, use NSAIDs regularly, experience high stress, or have an autoimmune disease, your risk increases even more.
Dangers of Alcoholic Gastritis
Left untreated, gastritis can lead to serious problems. The erosion of the stomach lining can cause weakness, ulcers, dark stools, blood in stools, anemia, and shortness of breath. The worst complications could include stomach tumors or polyps. The good news is that alcoholic gastritis is treatable. However, one must stop drinking for best results.
Alcoholic Gastritis & Alcoholism Treatment
Those struggling with in addiction to alcohol have a higher risk of experiencing alcoholic gastritis. The longer one drinks and the more often, the greater the risk. The good news is that there are many treatment centers with qualified medical professionals that can offer excellent treatment to overcome alcohol addiction.
If the addiction is moderate to severe, inpatient or residential treatment may be your best option to overcome alcohol addiction. It will be necessary to go through a detox and the best way to do that is under medical supervision. Heavy drinkers tend to experience uncomfortable and possibly dangerous withdrawal symptoms, so it’s best to do so under the supervision of a medical team.
If the addiction is mild, an outpatient treatment center is a great option. There you will still be able to attend sessions with professionals, but you’ll also be able to return home each day. Both modalities have helped millions of people get free from alcohol addiction.
You’ll also be able to get treatment for a physical problem like alcoholic gastritis. There are various medications that can help heal the stomach lining. And, just stopping drinking alone can help heal your digestive tract.
Reach Out For Help
If you or a loved one is struggling with alcohol addiction, or you think you may be struggling with alcohol gastritis, seek medical attention. Both alcoholism and gastritis are treatable conditions. You simply have to take that first step and reach out for help.