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Is Alcohol Harming Your Digestive System?

Anyone who has experienced the aftermath of a night of heavy drinking can attest that alcohol doesn’t tend to agree with the stomach.  Alcohol, especially when consumed in excess, can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, stomach and intestinal pain, and bloating. While some of these symptoms are often chalked up to the “normal” effects of a hangover, the truth may be a bit more disturbing.  Studies have found that alcohol use can cause long-term damage to your stomach and intestines, and many people who have serious digestive issues may seek treatment for their symptoms without realizing they need to quit drinking. Even a small amount of alcohol can increase acid production in the stomach, leading to inflammation and heartburn.  When this inflammation becomes severe, it is considered gastritis, which can create intense pain in your stomach and lower back.  Since alcohol essentially eats away at your stomach lining, it can lead to ulcers—extremely painful open sores that can be difficult to treat.  If you are prone to drinking so much that you induce vomiting, you may be damaging your throat and esophagus from exposure to acidic fluid and stomach bile.  For the many people who experience irritable bowel syndrome, alcohol can intensify symptoms like stomach pain and diarrhea. Many people don’t realize that their digestive issues are a result of alcohol use, or they attempt to treat their pain without cutting back on the alcohol.  Taking pain medications is one of the worst things you can do, as they can increase damage to your stomach lining. Studies have also found a connection between prolonged alcohol use and cancers that effect the digestive system, indicating that the digestive organs are particularly vulnerable to this carcinogen. 

If you believe you are addicted to alcohol, now is the time to take control of your health and reach out for help.  At Arbor Behavioral Healthcare, you will meet knowledgeable, compassionate professionals that understand addiction in all its forms.  The Arbor uses an integrative and holistic approach to treat addiction and mental health issues. No treatment is one-size-fits-all, and at The Arbor you will have a team of experts prepared to create your customized treatment plan.  We offer care for your mind, body, and spirit, so that you can heal from the inside out and look forward to a lifetime of sobriety and wellness. If you are ready to take the first step in your recovery, please call us at 844-413-2690.