Alcohol and Gastritis

Link between Alcohol and Gastritis
When people drink too much alcohol they can suffer greatly the next day. A hangover can mean that even getting out of bed is a real struggle. Sometimes those who regularly overindulge in alcohol can develop a condition known as gastritis. This is where their stomach becomes inflamed. In most instances, gastritis does not lead to serious problems, but it can make life uncomfortable for awhile. Alcohol is not the only cause of this condition, but the individual will decrease their risk of developing gastritis if they only [drink sensible amounts](http://alcoholrehab.com/alcohol-rehab/coping-strategies-in-recovery/) of alcohol.

Importance of the Stomach
The stomach is sometimes described as a sac where food goes after it is eaten. This description of the organ underplays its significance in the digestive system. The stomach has a special lining of cells that produce enzymes and acid, and the job of these is to help break down the food into nutrients that they body can absorb. The stomach also churns its content so that is will more easily pass through the intestine. The stomach can be found between the esophagus and the small intestine. The stomach can contract so that it does not take up much space in the abdominal cavity. When people eat something, the stomach expands to accommodate this.

Gastritis Explained
Gastritis occurs due to an [inflammation or swelling to the lining of the stomach](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gastritis). This means that the cells in the stomach lining are unable to produce acid and enzymes as normal . Gastritis is a common condition that may be due to a number of different causes. Most people experience _acute gastritis_ and where they symptoms appear and go away within a relatively short time periods. Other individuals develop _chronic gastritis_ where they have to deal with the symptoms over a much longer time period.

Causes of Gastritis
There are a number of potential causes of gastritis including:

* Excessive consumption of alcohol
* A side effect of surgery
* Stomach infection (usually from a type of bacteria known as Helicobacter pylori, but potentially from a virus)
* Use of medications such as aspirin
* Abnormally high levels of stress
* Ingesting poisons
* Gastritis can sometimes be caused by [bile reflux](http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/bile-reflux/DS00651 bile reflux). This is when bile created by the liver backflows into the stomach. This irritates the stomach lining and causes inflammation.
* Certain illegal drugs such as cocaine are known to cause gastritis

Symptoms of Gastritis
The [symptoms of gastritis](http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0002135/) can include:

* Pain in the upper area of the abdomen
* Nausea and vomiting
* Abdominal bloating
* Unpleasant taste in the mouth
* Diarrhea
* Bloody vomit (may appear red or as a substance like coffee grounds)
* A need to belch frequently
* Loss of appetite or feeling full despite eating only a small amount
* Unexplained weight loss
* Dark stools (can be due to blood originating in the stomach)

Alcohol and Gastritis
Excessive consumption of alcohol is one of the most common causes of [gastritis](http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/gastritis/). This is because alcohol is a toxin that irritates the stomach lining, so that it becomes inflamed. This inflammation is more likely to occur if the individual regularly abuses alcohol. When people frequently drink too much alcohol, the stomach does [not get the chance to recover from the irritation](http://www.the-alcoholism-guide.org/alcoholic-gastritis.html) to the lining. The individual does not need to be an alcoholic to develop this type of gastritis. Continued alcohol abuse may cause the stomach lining to bleed, leading to the development of other stomach problems such as ulcers.

Treatment of Gastritis
The exact treatment of gastritis will depend on the underlying cause. The most common ways of treating this condition include:

* Avoiding alcohol
* Taking antacids can help relieve the symptoms of gastritis and provide effective pain relief
* Using a proton pump inhibitors to reduce acid production in the stomach
* Using H2 antagonists to reduce the production of stomach acid

Prevention of Gastritis
There are things that people can do to reduce the risk of developing gastritis such as:

* Avoiding excessive alcohol consumption, which means sticking to the recommended levels of safe drinking: one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men.
* Avoiding recreational drugs](http://alcoholrehab.com/alcohol-rehab/recreational-drug-use/) as some of these can cause gastritis
* Using medications such as Aspirin cautiously. Some drugs need to be taken along with meals so as to reduce the irritation to the stomach.
* The individual needs to develop [coping strategies for dealing with stress](http://alcoholrehab.com/alcohol-rehab/coping-strategies-in-recovery/). If stress becomes too much for the individual, they may start to develop physical symptoms such as gastritis.

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