The human stomach does digest itself, but the stomach lining has evolved to regenerate itself completely every few days.
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 consumption has many dangers and side effects, and if you are experiencing severe pain in your stomach after this, there’s plenty of cause to be concerned. This discomfort is often seen after a night of binge drinking, and is accompanied by many other symptoms as well. While you might think that you are ‘manning it out’ by overlooking the pain, the fact is, this could be something you would live to regret. Stomach pain could be your body sending out signs telling you that all is not well, and you might want to take it seriously. For some, stomach pain may be a common occurrence, simply because they have been used to consuming alcohol in copious amounts.
Why Does Alcohol Cause Stomach Ache Anyway?
Gastrointestinal (GI) tract is the first organ system that gets exposed to alcohol. Chronic alcohol consumption alters the structure as well as functions of the GI tract which leads to stomach ache, heartburn, acid reflux and abdominal discomfort. Some of the reasons for such stomach ache and other symptoms are as follows:
Alcohol is a pro-oxidant. It is rapidly metabolized, and known to generate reactive oxygen species. This causes oxidative damage to cells and tissues of the GI tract.
Acute alcoholism leads to acute gastrointestinal bleeding and diarrhea.
Alcohol causes the gastric mucosa to shrink leading to decreased gastric acid secretion.
Alcoholism has deleterious effects on ‘gut barrier’, which refers to the single layered epithelium lining the stomach. This epithelium is selectively permeable, and plays an important role in the absorption of nutrients and protection of stomach tissues from the acidic environment of the stomach. The disruption of this barrier induces autoimmunity and inflammation leading to stomach pain and cramps.
Alcohol consumption triggers inflammatory bowel disease and gastritis leading to ulceration of the epithelial lining. This also increases the chances of contracting other infections which are otherwise inhibited by the epithelial lining.
Alcoholism induces inflammation of pancreas which leads to abdominal pain accompanied by nausea and vomiting.
Drink alcohol with meals
It used to be thought that ulcers were the plight of middle-aged, overworked, stressed-out men who lived on a diet of greasy pizza and beer. Although there’s always some truth in stereotypes, women are unfortunately just as susceptible to ulcers as men, and stress and diet aren’t the only factors that can lead to an ulcer.
Ulcers are caused when the mucus membrane lining the esophagus, stomach or upper intestine becomes compromised. In order to break down food, the stomach is filled with highly acidic gastric juices. The mucus membrane normally protects the organs, but if the amount of acid in the stomach increases or the mucus membrane weakens, ulcers, commonly known as peptic ulcers, can occur.
1. Leafy greens (and cabbage!) contain high amounts of vitamin K, which can help heal damage done by ulcers. Vitamin K speeds up the healing process and aids in blood clotting. Eat several servings of vitamin K-rich foods daily.
2. Chamomile tea works two-fold to fight ulcers. First, chamomile is a soothing herb, helping to induce calm and relieve stress. Second, chamomile has anti-inflammatory properties that can help speed up the healing process and fight the H. pylori bacteria. Drink up to four cups of chamomile tea a day.
3. Probiotics help restore the balance of bacteria in the body, making them useful for fighting off the H. pylori bacteria that commonly causes ulcers. Probiotics also aid digestion, which can be helpful in bringing the stomach’s juices under control. Take a supplement with at least 4 billion active cultures twice daily, or eat probitoic-rich foods such as yogurt.
4. Aloe vera, known for its soothing properties, can help heal damaged mucus linings. Aloe’s antibacterial properties also make it useful for fighting off the H. pylori bacteria. Drink ¼ cup of aloe vera juice three time daily.
5. Oats and whole grains contain soluble fiber and zinc, which promotes tissue repair and can help heal ulcers.
Connie’s comments: Our liver and kidneys are working so hard to process alcohol and clean our body from the toxic effects of alcohol. Our gut, where majority of our immune system is located , will be weakened by alcohol. Our brain shrinks. Our skin ages prematurely. So consume alcohol wisely with meals or after a meal.