Gastritis and Alcohol: Causes, Treatment & Recovery
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- Information on treatment plans
- Financial assistance options
Excessive alcohol consumption can cause gastritis, the inflammation of the stomach lining.1 Alcohol as a toxin irritates the stomach, which is one of the reasons for gastritis. When a person frequently consumes alcohol, there is not enough time for the stomach to recover from the irritation, which leads to structural damage of the stomach lining (mucosa).2
This means that individuals who are heavy drinkers have increased incidences of gastritis.3 If left untreated, alcohol-induced gastritis can not only have unpleasant effects such as bloating, but also very serious health consequences such as cancer.4
Symptoms of Alcoholic Gastritis
Gastritis symptoms typically include:2,4,5
- Nausea and vomiting.
- Pain in the upper area of the abdomen.
- Abdominal bleeding.
- Unpleasant mouth.
These symptoms may cause the person to lose appetite and take less food, which eventually results in weight loss and malnutrition, which is not uncommon in individuals struggling with alcohol abuse.4
Acute alcoholic gastritis appears quickly and often disappears in a few days. Chronic gastritis due to alcohol, however, may last for months or even years.5 Its symptoms may not be as noticeable but can be very harmful in the long run.3
Effects of Alcoholic Gastritis
When a person consumes alcohol, this alcohol comes into direct contact with the gastric mucosa (lining) and it is not influenced by other metabolic processes or conditions such as liver damage.3
Prolonged exposure to alcohol has the following effects on the stomach:2
- It disturbs microcirculation and hormonal balance, which causes mucosal injury.
- It disrupts the normal secretion and increases the permeability of the stomach lining. This means that the substances that would not enter the bloodstream are now allowed to pass.
- The injury can cause bleeding, which may result in other stomach problems such as ulcer or some conditions that affect the entire body, such as anemia.
- Since the stomach is unable to destroy the bacteria that enter with food, harmful microorganisms may stay in the gastrointestinal tract. For example, Helicobacter pylori infection has links with alcohol consumption.5
Moreover, alcohol is a risk factor in the development of cancers in the gastrointestinal tract. Heavy beer drinkers are 10 times more likely to develop esophageal cancer compared to people who drink moderately. This likelihood is even higher for heavy whisky drinkers—25 times.4
Treatment for Alcoholic Gastritis And Alcohol Addiction
There are several categories of medications used for gastritis treatment:6
- Antibiotics are used for treating bacterial infections.
- Antacids, proton-pump inhibitors, and H2 blockers are used to normalize the level of stomach acids.
Changes in the diet and lifestyle can also benefit an individual’s health. One can reduce their gastritis healing time by avoiding salty, spicy, acidic, and oily food, eating regular smaller meals, and staying hydrated.6
Nevertheless, gastritis recovery is not possible without stopping alcohol abuse.2 In some cases, when the person cannot overcome this issue on their own, organized intervention may be sufficient, but in other cases, a person needs to enroll in an alcohol addiction program at a certified treatment facility.
Depending on the severity of the disorder, the person addicted to alcohol will experience withdrawal symptoms when they stop alcohol consumption. The intensity of these symptoms may range from unpleasant, such as insomnia or sweating, to even life-threatening, such as delirium tremens.7 In some cases, the patient may need 24-hour care of treatment professionals whose job is to ensure that the patient can detox safely and proceed with further stages of treatment until they fully recover.
Treatment programs involve both psychosocial support, but also FDA-approved medications for treating alcohol addiction and helping patients remain abstinent.8
How to Get Help & Start Alcoholic Gastritis Recovery
When seeking treatment, it is important to look for treatment options that can meet the individual needs of the patient, which may extend beyond the treatment of the substance use disorder itself. A person may be suffering from alcoholic gastritis as a result of substance abuse, but the substance abuse may be closely linked with co-occurring mental health conditions such as anxiety, depression, PTSD, or chronic pain, which need to be adequately treated so that the person would not return to their addiction.
Calling one of the toll-free 24/7 helplines provided by institutions and organizations that offer help to people struggling with substance abuse issues can be the first step in finding the right directions for treatment.
American Addiction Centers offer alcohol detox and addiction treatment in their treatment centers available across the country and are able to meet the needs of patients with co-occurring disorders. Moreover, they are able to cater for the needs of treatment seekers who need inpatient services due to the severity of their condition, personal or family preferences, or co-occurring disorders.It is possible to immediately get all relevant information about treatment options either by phone or through the website. American Addiction Centers treatment navigators lead the patients through the process of admission and answer all the questions, including the ones regarding insurance coverage and payment options, so they can get treatment as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Frequently Asked Questions