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Updated on July 31, 2023
7 min read

Throwing Up After Drinking

Why Do I Throw Up After Drinking Alcohol?

You'll likely feel nauseous or experience vomiting if you drink too much. This is because it takes work for our bodies to break down alcohol.

An enzyme called alcohol dehydrogenase works to break down alcohol as you consume it. First, it breaks alcohol down to acetaldehyde and then to acetic acid. It will be harder for your body to metabolize alcohol if you drink too much too quickly.

You'll start to get drunk when you drink faster than your body can break down alcohol. Even if you do not have an alcohol addiction, excessive drinking is dangerous and life-threatening.


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5 Reasons You’re Throwing Up After Drinking

When the acetaldehyde levels are too high, your liver can’t process any more alcohol. Throwing up is your body’s way of getting rid of a toxin. When you drink too much, your body will start to reject alcohol.

There are five reasons why you may be throwing up after drinking:

1. Hangover Symptoms

Hangover symptoms vary from person to person depending on several factors:

  • How much you've consumed
  • How hydrated you are
  • Your food intake before and while drinking
  • Your weight
  • Your age
  • Your sex

Some common hangover symptoms include:

  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Excessive thirst
  • Dry mouth
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Palpitations
  • Headaches
  • Muscle aches
  • Nausea with or without vomiting
  • Stomach pain
  • Poor or decreased sleep
  • Increased sensitivity to light and sound
  • Dizziness
  • Shakiness
  • Decreased ability to concentrate
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability

It’s important to rehydrate your body if you are hungover. Drinking water or energy drinks is important to replenish the salts, electrolytes, and potassium you've lost after drinking. You can also eat food and practice relaxation techniques to help alleviate symptoms. 

2. Alcohol Intoxication Symptoms

Alcohol poisoning is a severe form of alcohol intoxication that happens if you drink too much alcohol. Binge drinking elevates blood alcohol concentration (BAC) to .08 g/dL or above.

The more drinks you consume in a shorter period, the higher and faster your BAC level will rise. As it does, you increase your chances of getting alcohol poisoning. 

Typically, alcohol intoxication or poisoning symptoms include the following:

  • Confusion/stupor
  • Vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Slow or irregular breathing (less than eight breaths a minute or a gap of more than 10 seconds between breaths)
  • Blue-tinged skin or pale skin
  • Hypothermia (low body temperature)
  • Passing out or blacking out
  • Unconsciousness

If you suspect someone has alcohol poisoning, call for medical help immediately. Alcohol poisoning can result in death if left untreated.

3. Alcohol Gastritis

Alcohol gastritis refers to inflammation of the stomach lining due to alcohol consumption. Alcohol can disrupt the mucus that covers the stomach lining, which causes stomach acid to disrupt surrounding cells. This can cause you to bleed and may make you throw up. 

4. Alcohol Intolerance 

Alcohol intolerance is genetic. It is caused by a deficiency of alcohol dehydrogenase, the liver enzymes responsible for breaking down toxins in alcohol. 

When your liver can’t metabolize these toxins, they remain in your bloodstream longer than usual. This can make you feel sick and throw up from drinking.

5. Alcoholic Ketoacidosis

Alcoholic ketoacidosis (AKA), also known as alcoholic ketosis or alcoholic acidosis, is a metabolic complication of alcohol use and starvation. AKA happens from heavy drinking on an empty stomach. However, it can lead to vomiting or worse, including sudden death.

How to Stop Throwing Up After Drinking

You can't stop yourself from throwing up after drinking; it's your body's natural response to excess alcohol. Rather than making yourself stop throwing up, consider ways to help you feel better while your body rids itself of alcohol.  

Some key ways to reduce vomiting and nausea include:

  • Rest: Sleep and relaxation can help your body recuperate faster
  • Rehydrate: Sip water and other drinks with electrolytes slowly to help your body hydrate effectively
  • Eat simple foods: Try eating bland foods, like crackers or toast, to reduce the chance of vomiting again
  • Take ibuprofen: Pain relievers can help with the negative side effects of a hangover; consider taking them to avoid an upset stomach
  • Avoid drinking when you wake up: Give your system a break and allow it to recover after a night of throwing up

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Benefits of Throwing Up After Drinking

Alcohol is a stomach irritant, so it’s normal to feel nauseous after drinking it. Throwing up can reduce stomach pain and nausea.

Sometimes, your body can’t absorb the alcohol you’re drinking quickly enough. In this case, vomiting is a natural response. However, the risks of throwing up far outweigh the benefits.


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Risks of Throwing Up After Drinking

Alcohol depresses the nerves that control involuntary actions, so drinking too much can impair functions such as breathing and gagging. If it does, you can choke on your vomit, which could lead to death by asphyxiation (unable to breathe), especially if you are unconscious.

Once your BAC level hits about .25 or above, you may reach asphyxiation. Alcohol in your stomach and intestine continues to enter your bloodstream and circulate through your body, so “sleeping it off” isn’t always a safe bet.

Other risks and side effects of throwing up include:

Damage to The Esophagus (Food Pipe)

When you throw up, stomach acids come up the esophagus, damaging it over time. Alcohol causes esophagitis when the lower esophageal sphincter muscle is relaxed, allowing acid to come up from your stomach. 


Alcohol is a diuretic, which means it makes you urinate often. If you don’t drink enough water, alcohol can easily dehydrate you.

Metabolic Issues

Drinking excessively and throwing up can negatively affect your electrolyte balance, worsening metabolic issues. 

Tooth Damage 

Excessively throwing up can cause tooth damage due to your stomach acid’s toxicity. Stomach acids are corrosive, which means they wear away at the enamel of teeth. 

Why Am I Throwing Up Blood After Drinking?

There could be a few reasons you throw up blood after drinking alcohol. These include:

  • Stomach ulcers: When stomach lining acid hurts the lining of the digestive tract
  • Duodenitis: When the first part of the small intestine becomes inflamed
  • Gastric erosions: When the tissue lining the stomach breaks down
  • Gastric varices: When the veins in the stomach enlarge
  • Gastritis: When the lining of the stomach becomes inflamed
  • Mallory-Weiss tear: When the esophagus tears due to pressure from throwing up or coughing
  • Esophageal varices: Distended esophageal veins that may erode and bleed

You should seek emergency medical attention if you or someone you know is throwing up blood after drinking. Vomiting blood could be a sign of a more serious health concern.

When to See a Doctor

Throwing up after drinking is not necessarily a sign of a problem. However, you should seek professional help if it's a frequent occurrence or a result of problem drinking.

You should also seek help if you or someone you know is struggling with alcohol use disorder (AUD). Quitting drinking isn’t necessarily easy to do on one’s own. Many people experience alcohol withdrawal symptoms, which can be dangerous.

The most dangerous alcohol withdrawal symptoms happen to about one out of every 20 people. This condition is known as delirium tremens (DTs). It’s a rapid onset of symptoms like:

  • Shaking or tremors
  • Sweating
  • Vomiting
  • Hallucinations
  • Agitation, aggression, or irritability
  • Confusion
  • Impaired consciousness
  • Seizures

Treatment Options for Alcohol Use Disorder

Alcohol use addiction can lead to withdrawal and poisoning. This is why seeking medical assistance for AUD is important.

Available treatment options for alcohol use disorders 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. Mayo Clinic.“Alcohol Intolerance.” Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 2020.
  2. Mayo Clinic. “Alcohol Poisoning.” Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 2018. 
  3. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. “Drinking Levels Defined.” U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2020. 
  4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Drinking Too Much Alcohol Can Harm Your Health. Learn the Facts.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2019.
  5. Mayo Clinic. “Gastritis.” Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 2020. 
  6. MedlinePlus. “Hangover Treatment: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia.” U.S. National Library of Medicine. 
  7. Mayo Clinic. “Hangovers.” Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 2017. 
  8. McGuire, L C, et al. “Alcoholic Ketoacidosis.” Emergency Medicine Journal, 2006. 
  9. Harvard Health. “Alcohol Withdrawal.” Harvard Health., 2019. 
  10. Regina K. “The Science of the Sauce: What Happens to Your Brain When You Drink Alcohol? - Brain Health, Health Topics, Neuroscience.” Hackensack Meridian Health, 2019.
  11. Mayo Clinic. “Vomiting Blood Causes.” Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 2020. 
  12. MedlinePlus. “Vomiting Blood: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia.” U.S. National Library of Medicine.
  13. Harvard Health Publishing. “Heavy drinkers aren’t necessarily alcoholics, but may be “almost alcoholics”, 2014.
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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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