Stomach Pain After Drinking – It’s Probably Gastritis

by pgh

If you’re a heavy drinker who frequently experiences stomach pain, indigestion, and/or nausea, you’re probably suffering from gastritis. Generally, the only long-term treatment for gastritis is to abstain from alcohol entirely and let the body heal on its own.

What Causes Gastritis?

Gastritis is caused by severe irritation to the walls of the stomach, to the point of inflammation and in some cases – to the point of bleeding. Gastritis isn’t generally caused by casual drinking, it usually arises from a large quantity of alcohol, either through binge drinking, or chronic alcoholism.  Gastritis is quite common for people who abuse alcohol.

Gastritis isn’t only caused by alcohol, it can also be caused by other irritants like coffee and cigarettes, as well as some common medications like Advil and Aspirin. In some cases, it can also be caused by bacterial infection.

Other Symptoms

deep gastric ulcer

Endoscopic image showing a peptic ulcer, which can accompany gastritis (Wikipedia)

When gastritis arises as a result of alcoholism, its usually a constant, dull pain in the upper abdomen, though a lot of people who have gastritis don’t actually experience any symptoms. It can be accompanied by a lack of appetite and you might feel a bit bloated.

Other than stomach pain (either a dull pain, or a sharp ache), other symptoms of gastritis includes:

  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Bloating
  • Loss of appetite
  • Gas
  • Burning sensation

Chronic gastritis can lead to other gastro-intestinal problems, such as peptic ulsers, polyps, and even tumors of the stomach.


The link between the abuse of alcohol and stomach pain has been shown time and time again. In the short term, over-the-counter antacids (like Tums) can help with mild cases of gastritis.

Luckily (or un-luckily) for most alcoholic gastritis sufferers, abstaining from alcohol is the only real way to prevent the irritation/inflamation of the stomach lining and get rid of gastritis. Once alcohol is eliminated, the stomach walls will gradually repair themselves and the symptoms will usually go away without medical treatment.

In cases where the stomach pain is ongoing over a long period of time or extremely sharp/severe, always go get checked out by a doctor. You’ll want to make the stomach pain isn’t caused by something much more serious.

If you’re suffering from continued stomach pain after drinking, yet you can’t stop drinking, you’re almost certainly an alcoholic. Anyone who continues to drink despite experiencing clear symptoms of physical harm meets one of the main diagnostic criteria for addiction.

If you feel stomach pain after drinking, or experience any of the other symptoms of gastritis, you need to stop. Continuing to drink while you have gastritis can lead to more severe medical problems down the road. Consider it a wake up call.

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