Alcoholic gastritis is the inflammation of the stomach lining caused by the overconsumption of alcohol. Alcohol-induced gastritis is specifically caused by excessive alcohol consumption.
Causes Of Alcoholic Gastritis
The causes of gastritis in relation to alcohol may be directly related to excess drinking.
When you consume alcohol, it goes directly to your stomach. In your stomach, the presence of alcohol stimulates the overproduction of a hormone called gastrin.
Gastrin is responsible for telling your stomach to secrete the enzymes that make up gastric acid. These acids normally help aid your digestive system, but they can also damage it when over-produced.
The excess acid mostly affects the lining of your stomach. Alcohol abuse can cause the lining to become inflamed.
The inflammation itself can resolve if you cease drinking, but continued alcohol abuse will make it worse.
As your gastritis progresses, your stomach is more likely to suffer serious damage. Erosion of the stomach lining will eventually develop into stomach ulcers.
Signs And Symptoms Of Alcoholic Gastritis
There are two primary types of gastritis: acute and chronic.
Acute gastritis is a short-term flare of inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract. This type of alcoholic gastritis is usually caused by a bout of heavy drinking. It’s unlikely to have noticeable symptoms.
The inflammation may make you experience some of the symptoms we commonly associate with indigestion, such as chest and stomach pain.
Common symptoms of acute gastritis may include:
- abdominal pain
- acid reflux
- loss of appetite
Given the symptoms, you are unlikely to be aware that you have a developing health condition. A few antacids will usually be enough to give you some relief.
Chronic gastritis is a prolonged version of the condition resulting from long-term alcohol use. Erosion of the stomach lining causes bleeding. As a result, you may see blood in your stool or vomit.
Diagnosing Alcoholic Gastritis
Once symptoms are present, the diagnostic process for alcohol-related gastritis is straightforward.
You will have an endoscopy to examine your esophagus, stomach lining, and the beginning of the small intestine. The purpose is to look for signs of inflammation, erosion, and peptic ulcers.
You may also need a biopsy as well as a blood test to establish a clear diagnosis.
Dangers Of Alcohol Gastritis
Gastritis is often asymptomatic, which can make it hard to detect. That doesn’t mean it isn’t serious.
The worsening erosion may cause you to bleed into your digestive tract, and the damaged stomach lining may impair your ability to properly digest nutrients.
Many people with gastritis develop anemia, which is a lack of healthy red blood cells. This condition causes chronic fatigue and muscle weakness because your organs are not being properly oxygenated.
Ultimately, chronic gastritis increases your risk of developing ulcers and stomach cancer. Anemia is not typically life threatening on its own, but it can complicate existing health issues.
Treatment Options For Alcohol Addiction
Recognizing alcohol addiction can be difficult. The transition from social habit to dependence to addiction isn’t always clear.
The best place to start is an evaluation of your current habits. If you’re regularly consuming more alcoholic beverages daily than is deemed safe by healthcare experts, it’s time to make a change.
Even mild substance abuse can have serious health consequences down the road. Sometimes, making your own lifestyle changes is enough. Other times, you need help.
If you find yourself struggling to make those changes, then seek professional treatment. At Bedrock Recovery Center, we offer a myriad of alcohol treatment plans to help seek long-term recovery.
Find Alcohol Addiction Treatment At Bedrock Today
Bedrock Recovery Center offers comprehensive treatment for alcohol dependence and addiction.
Whether you need support to get through withdrawal symptoms or just need someone to talk to you, we can get you started on the path to a life free from alcohol addiction. Call today to learn more.
- American Academy of Pediatrics https://publications.aap.org/pediatricsinreview/article-abstract/18/8/282/36760/Alcoholic-Gastritis?redirectedFrom=fulltext
- National Institutes of Health https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK310265/
- U.S. National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/001150.htm