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How Does Alcohol Affect Abdominal Bloating?

Alcohol consumption affects the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, interfering with its structure and function [1].

Drinking alcohol may lead to inflammation and irritation in the stomach that results in bloating. Bloating is the feeling of fullness or tightness in the abdomen [3].

The duration of alcohol bloating varies depending on its cause. Acute gastritis lasts only a few days, while chronic gastritis may last for months or years [1].

Alcohol can harm the muscles that separate the esophagus from the stomach, leading to heartburn and increasing the risk of esophageal cancer. It can also impair muscle movement in the small and large intestines, causing diarrhea [1].

The damage to the protective mucus that lines the stomach can cause damage to the stomach lining due to stomach acid [2]. Bloating and weight gain can occur in the stomach and elsewhere in the body due to high calorie intake, possible overeating, and decreased inhibitions while drinking [3].

Gastritis is the main characteristic of inflammation in the lining of the stomach which can cause symptoms such as changes in appetite, stomach bloating, heartburn, abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting. Antibiotics can treat alcohol-induced gastritis by targeting the H. pylori infection, and additional medications such as antacids, H2 blockers, and proton pump inhibitors may be prescribed to protect the stomach lining from damage [3].

Lifestyle changes, including reduced alcohol consumption, may help lead to weight loss. The US FDA has recommended that all forms of prescription and over-the-counter ranitidine (Zantac) be removed from the US market due to the presence of unacceptable levels of NDMA, a probable carcinogen [3].

Alcohol consumption can lead to inflammation and irritation in the stomach lining, causing bloating and other digestive problems. Reducing alcohol consumption and making lifestyle changes can help relieve these symptoms.


[1] Alcohol's Role in Gastrointestinal Tract Disorders - PMC

[2] Alcohol and Bloating: How Drinking Affects the Stomach

[3] Alcohol bloating: Stomach issues, weight gain, and duration