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Updated on July 31, 2023
7 min read

What Should I Do if I Throw Up Blood After Drinking?

Throwing up after binge drinking is common since heavy drinking often leads to vomiting. However, throwing up blood after drinking too much alcohol can cause concern.

Is Throwing Up Blood After Drinking Normal?

Throwing up blood isn’t normal and should be examined by a healthcare professional. While it isn’t necessarily linked to an underlying condition, seeing a healthcare professional about it is still essential.

They can determine where the blood in your vomit is coming from. Vomiting blood can either spring from upper gastrointestinal bleeding (hematemesis) or lower gastrointestinal (GI) bleeding.11

Red blood comes from upper sources, such as the esophagus, stomach, or upper part of the small intestine. A lower GI bleed presents with a coffee-ground color stool or vomit (rare cases).

Sometimes, swallowed blood from a nosebleed can also cause bloody vomit. Other times, a strong or forceful cough can put blood in your vomit. However, truly vomiting blood means something more severe and requires immediate medical attention.


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What to Do After Throwing Up Blood?

Throwing up a little bit of blood isn't something you should worry about too much. At best, it could be something as simple as a nosebleed. However, it may still warrant visiting the doctor or local clinic.

Follow up with your healthcare provider to see if there isn’t some underlying health condition causing the bleeding. If you feel weak or anemic, go to the ER. Anemia can lead to complications in your health if left untreated.

If you or someone you know starts throwing up blood after drinking alcohol, it’s a good sign to stop. It’s also a good idea to stay hydrated and avoid drinking or eating something that further irritates the stomach.

When to Go to The Emergency Room (ER)

Seek immediate medical help if you experience a sudden onset of bleeding or if it rapidly increases.

Go to the ER if you are throwing up much blood or experiencing any of these other symptoms:

  • Significant stomach pain
  • Extreme lightheadedness or dizziness
  • Severe weakness
  • Blurred vision
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Clammy or pale skin
  • Rapid or shallow breathing

Alcohol Intoxication

You should also get emergency medical attention if you suspect alcohol intoxication. Don’t try to help a person with alcohol intoxication on your own. An alcohol overdose can lead to serious health complications and even death.10

Symptoms of alcohol intoxication include the following:10

  • Vomiting
  • No gag reflex
  • Loss of consciousness or difficulty remaining conscious
  • Mental stupor
  • Seizures
  • Slow or irregular breathing
  • Slow heart rate
  • Clammy or pale skin
  • Low body temperature
  • Dulled responses

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5 Potential Causes of Throwing Up Blood After Drinking

There are a few reasons why you might throw up blood after drinking alcohol. Remember that throwing up blood isn’t a typical hangover symptom.

Here are five potential causes:

1. You Have Gastrointestinal Bleeding (GI)

Gastrointestinal bleeding happens when there’s an issue with your digestive tract. If you throw up a lot of blood, it could indicate gastrointestinal bleeding.

Two tell-tale signs of gastrointestinal bleeding are vomiting bright red blood and producing a bloody stool (also known as hematochezia). You may notice the blood immediately, especially if it’s bright red. Your bodily waste may also appear black or tarry.4

A peptic ulcer is among the most common causes of upper gastrointestinal bleeding.4 It is a sore on the stomach lining or upper part of the small intestine. Peptic ulcers can form due to stomach acid from bacteria or anti-inflammatory medications.4

Gastrointestinal bleeding can be a severe problem in certain circumstances. Depending on the severity of the bleeding, it may also be life-threatening.

Causes of Gastrointestinal Bleeding

Some common causes of lower gastrointestinal bleeding include the following.

  • Diverticular disease — This condition refers to the formation of small pouches or bulges (diverticula) in the colon's lining. These pouches can lead to abdominal pain, changes in bowel habits, and potential complications like diverticulitis (infection of the diverticula) or gastrointestinal bleeding. 
  • Crohn's disease — Crohn's disease is an inflammatory bowel disease that can lead to perforations and abnormal connections between two body parts (fistulas), therefore causing lower GI bleeds and bloody stool (hematochezia).4
  • Benign or cancerous tumors — Tumors anywhere in the digestive tract can cause bleeding.4

2. You Have Liver Damage

Liver damage, like cirrhosis (severe scarring) or later-stage and advanced liver disease, can cause bloody vomit and stool.

Scar tissue causes blockages that back up bile in the liver and blood, which can cause the veins in your lower esophagus to swell.

Symptoms of Liver Damage

Esophageal varices (enlarged veins) are a common symptom of alcohol-related liver disease, particularly in its late stages. Excessive or aggressive vomiting can rupture them, causing them to bleed. This is a medical emergency. 

If you leave it untreated, liver disease can lead to chronic health conditions. It can also be life-threatening.

3. You’re Having a Nosebleed

Heavy alcohol consumption is linked to nosebleeds.7 This is because alcohol reduces platelet aggregation. In other words, alcohol thins your blood and prevents it from clotting.

Alcohol prolongs bleeding.7 Changes in blood pressure from alcohol intake can also bring on nosebleeds. Furthermore, if you inadvertently ingest blood from a nosebleed and later vomit, you may observe the presence of blood.

4. You Vomited Too Forcefully

If you vomit too forcefully, the waste can irritate the tissue or lining of your esophagus, potentially rupturing small blood vessels and causing bleeding. Violent coughing or vomiting that tears your esophagus is a condition called a Mallory-Weiss tear.6

Esophagitis, or inflammation of the esophagus, can also cause bleeding. It’s most commonly brought on by gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

5. You Have Gastritis

Gastritis is the inflammation of your stomach lining, often caused by infections, certain medications, or excessive alcohol consumption.3 It is so widespread that more than half of the world’s population deals with gastritis to some extent.

More severe cases of gastritis can cause you to vomit blood. Excessive alcohol consumption is a common cause of gastritis because it irritates and erodes your stomach lining.


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Complications of Throwing Up Blood After Drinking

Throwing up can cause pain and discomfort. This is especially true when throwing up is accompanied by other side effects of excessive drinking.

Other side effects of drinking alcohol in excess include:8

  • Confusion
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Impaired vision
  • Groggy memory
  • Slurred speech
  • Poor coordination and motor skills
  • Chest pain
  • Delusions
  • Hallucinations
  • Vomiting blood

Additional Health Risks

Depending on the severity of the bleeding, your body could go into shock from throwing up blood. Shock can cause unconsciousness. Your heart rate can jump, and your blood pressure can drop. 

Throwing up a lot of blood after drinking alcohol can also cause anemia (​​low red blood cell count or RBC). This means your blood cannot carry enough oxygen to your lungs or the rest of your body.2


Vomiting blood after drinking alcohol may not be a cause for concern. But if bleeding often occurs while vomiting after drinking, talk to your doctor.

To receive a diagnosis, your doctor must examine everything from your digestive tract to your liver and gallbladder. Treatment depends on the underlying condition or other causes of throwing up blood.12

Regardless of any underlying health condition, cutting back on alcohol can help. One surefire way to stop excessive alcohol-induced vomiting is to stop drinking.

Excessive alcohol use can cause other medical conditions and problems, too. It is linked to:1

  • Heart disease 
  • Liver disease
  • Pancreas problems
  • Cancer
  • Neurological complications caused by excessive alcohol consumption (Wernicke's encephalopathy, Korsakoff syndrome, or both)

How to Prevent Vomiting Blood After Drinking

Abstaining from alcohol is the most effective measure to prevent vomiting blood or hematemesis. Reducing your alcohol intake can also help prevent throwing up blood.

Here are other things you can do to try to avoid vomiting blood:

  • Eat before drinking
  • Avoid mixing alcohol with other medications and drugs
  • Avoid drinking continuously
  • Take sips instead of chugging
  • Stay hydrated and alternate between water and alcoholic beverages
  • Avoid eating things that can upset or irritate your stomach

It may also help to remove other risk factors that can affect blood flow and lead to bleeding, such as regular nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) use.

Treatment Options for Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD)

Treatment is available if you or someone you know struggles with alcohol use. Search for alcohol rehab facilities in your area. You can also talk to your doctor about treatment options.

The most common types of treatment options for alcohol use disorder include:

Updated on July 31, 2023
13 sources cited
Updated on July 31, 2023
All Alcoholrehabhelp content is medically reviewed or fact checked to ensure as much factual accuracy as possible.

We have strict sourcing guidelines and only link to reputable media sites, academic research institutions and, whenever possible, medically peer reviewed studies.
  1. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. “Alcohol's Effects on the Body.” U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, n.d.
  2. MedlinePlus. “Anemia.” U.S. National Library of Medicine, 2021.
  3. Gastritis.” Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 2020.
  4. Gastrointestinal Bleeding.” Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 2020.
  5.  MUSC Health. “Hematemesis.” The Medical University of South Carolina, n.d.
  6. Mallory Weiss Tear.” Cedars Sinai, n.d.
  7. McGarry et al. “Relation between Alcohol and Nose Bleeds.” The BMJ, British Medical Journal Publishing Group, 1994.
  8. Ada’s Medical Knowledge Team. “Signs of Alcohol Intoxication.” Ada Health GmbH, 2022.
  9. Sipponen et al. “Chronic Gastritis.” Scandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology, Informa Healthcare, 2015.
  10. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. “Understanding the Dangers of Alcohol Overdose.” U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2023.
  11. MedlinePlus. “Vomiting Blood: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia.” U.S. National Library of Medicine, n.d.
  12. Wilson, I. Dodd. “Hematemesis, Melena, and Hematochezia.” Clinical Methods: The History, Physical, and Laboratory Examinations. 3rd Edition., U.S. National Library of Medicine, 1990.
  13. Saad et al. “Management of Upper Gastrointestinal Bleeding by an Internist.” Cureus, 2018.
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All content created by Alcohol Rehab Help is sourced from current scientific research and fact-checked by an addiction counseling expert. However, the information provided by Alcohol Rehab Help is not a substitute for professional treatment advice.
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