Having extreme stomach discomfort after drinking alcohol is an unusual problem, but it's not uncommon. The participant who replied first to this question said that the problem is very easy to explain. Apparently, it's the alcohol that irritates the digestive system by making the stomach to produce more acid than usual.
When this happens, it usually can cause gastritis and it can lead to the discomfort.
The solution, according to this answer, is to quit drinking alcohol.
The discomfort described in the discussion was presented as a group of symptoms that may include:
- severe abdominal pain
- bloating and gas
- back pain
The symptoms for many who reported the problem occurred not only after heavy drinking but also even after having a sip of a particular alcoholic beverage.
Even a small sip of anything would cause extreme pain and usually throwing up.
Many who feel the discomfort after drinking beer, scotch, whiskey or anything with barley in it, could blame the gluten in the alcohol or their grain allergy that can cause bad bloating, severe stomach pain, and gas after drinking. One participant said that he's doing much better after he went on a gluten-free diet.
However, many felt the problem even after drinking other drinks that don't contain gluten, such as wine. This eliminates gluten sensitivity as an exclusive cause of discomfort.
I know that my problem started with a stomach virus - and even though the virus is long gone I still have trouble with alcohol.
As several participants noted, a stomach virus could indeed be a possible culprit that irritates the stomach lining and alcohol may only make it worse. Appendicitis was also listed as one of the possible causes. For one participant, the appendectomy cured the problem. Another member reported that he also had a rare form of appendicitis. After having his appendix removed he could drink mixed drinks again.
However, another participant said that removing appendix didn't help until his doctor diagnosed him with pancreatitis. For many who discussed this problem, pancreatitis was the main cause of discomfort after drinking alcohol. However, the diagnosis required several checkups and second opinions.
Quitting drinking alcohol has been suggested by many as a solution to this problem. Doctors also recommended diet changes, i.e. eating food that is not greasy, spicy, and does not have lactose in it in order to let the stomach heal. One participant reported feeling much better after being on a diet for a few weeks. However, the most important thing is to diagnose the medical condition that may have caused the discomfort and treat it.
anyway, it is very easy to explain - alcohol irritates your digestive system and you should quit drinking alcohol.
What do experts say?
Alcohol irritates the digestive system. Drinking alcohol – even at small quantities – increases the production of stomach acid, delays stomach emptying and can cause gastritis (the inflammation of the stomach lining). Any of these factors can cause stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and, in heavy drinkers, even bleeding.
Gastritis and alcohol
Most common causes of gastritis are bacteria called Helicobacter pylori and regular use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as aspirin or ibuprofen. Emotional distress and certain illnesses such as Crohn's disease can also cause gastritis. Heavy drinking can b blamed for what is known as alcoholic gastritis. Drinking alcohol will also make existing gastritis worse, so the best solution would be eliminating your alcohol intake.
Signs and symptoms of gastritis may include:
- abdominal pain or cramps
- upset stomach
- burning pain that occurs 1 to 5 hours after meals
- chest pain
- acid taste in the mouth
- loss of appetite
Appendicitis and alcohol
The appendix is a small finger-shaped pouch on the right side of the abdomen, connected to the colon. It can become swollen, inflamed, and filled with pus usually when a stomach infection moves to the appendix or a hard piece of stool becomes trapped in the appendix, causing an infection known as appendicitis. The first sign of appendicitis is often pain across the abdominal area, which, as the infection progresses, becomes more defined in the lower right-hand side of the abdomen. Appendicitis, however, is not caused by drinking alcohol. If you feel pain on the right side of the abdomen, it should be because other organs may be affected by alcohol consumption, such as the liver or pancreas.
Pancreatitis and alcohol
Alcohol usage may be connected with pancreatitis, both acute and chronic, which can present with serious or persistent stomach discomfort, positioned at the center of the abdomen, or in some cases heading around to the back as well. Pancreatitis occurs when the pancreas - a gland that produces digestive enzymes and hormones, such as insulin -becomes inflamed and its cells are damaged. There are two types of pancreatitis: acute and chronic.Acute pancreatitis
Acute pancreatitis is a sudden short-time inflammation that that may range from mild discomfort to a severe, life-threatening condition. Most people with acute pancreatitis recover completely after getting the right treatment. One of the most common causes of acute pancreatitis is gallstones. The other leading cause of acute pancreatitis is heavy alcohol use, especially if combined with tobacco smoking. While most people who drink alcohol will never develop pancreatitis, certain people might after drinking large amounts of alcohol (over a period of time or in a single binge). The symptoms of acute pancreatitis may include:
- Upper abdominal discomfort or pain that radiates into the back (may become worse after eating)
- Nausea and vomiting
- Loss of appetite
- Abdominal bloating
Chronic pancreatitis is a long-lasting inflammation of the pancreas most often caused by heavy alcohol drinking. Damage to the pancreas from heavy alcohol use may not cause symptoms for many years, but then the person may suddenly develop severe pancreatitis symptoms. The symptoms of chronic pancreatitis are similar to those of acute pancreatitis. Patients frequently feel constant pain in the upper abdomen that radiates to the back. Symptoms as diarrhea and weight loss may also occur. Chronic pancreatitis can also lead to diabetes if the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas are damaged.
Anyone diagnosed with acute pancreatitis should stop drinking alcohol and start eating low-fat foods. This would reduce the risk of developing chronic pancreatitis in which pancreas stops working properly. The damage to the pancreas in case of chronic pancreatitis is irreversible, meaning that people diagnosed with it require permanent treatment to help their bodies digest food and maintain blood sugar levels.
What symptoms have been reported, i.e. the location of pain, what made it worse, etc?
- the last time was pretty bad i had consistent back pain which went on to a shooting pain at times.
- THE PAIN IS SO EXTENSIVE I FEEL IT IN MY SHOULDER BLADES.
- lately (in the last month or so) when i drink alcohol i experience severe stomach pain.
- like horrendous gnawing, churning, mouth wateringly bad pain.
- accompanied with nausea, serious bloating, gas, and tonight after having one glass of white whine my pain and nausea were so bad i vomited.
What diagnosis has been made?
- It took me 38 years to realize that I am allergic to barley.
- it was pretty much pancreatitis in my case.
- He finally seen a different doctor and found out he had appendicitis.
- I conducted a thorough medical examination and the doctor concluded on a 'slightly' irritated stomach with some reflux issues.
- Turns out I had a stone that was obstructing a bile duct therefore the alcohol was overloading my liver.
Some reported the problem after consuming alcohol with medications, such as Wellbutrin and Effexor
- Is anyone else having this problem that is on Wellbutrin Xl or Effexor XR?
- I too am on Wellbutrin and concerta and after drinking a little too heavily last night I am bent over with sharp stabbing pain.
- I'm on Wellbutrin SR and it happens to me too!
- If you're taking Wellbutrin/bupropion, you're not supposed to consume any alcohol.
- You're not supposed to drink on Wellbutrin