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Throwing up after drinking is not uncommon, but it can be dangerous. After all, it takes work for your body to break down alcohol. And, if you drink too much, you’ll likely feel nauseous with or without vomiting.
An enzyme called alcohol dehydrogenase works to break down alcohol as you consume it. It breaks it down to acetaldehyde, which is then further broken down to acetic acid.
The more alcohol you consume (and the faster you consume it), the harder it is for your body to keep up. You get drunk when you drink faster than your body can break it down.
Throwing up from binge drinking is very common. However, not everyone who binge drinks is considered an alcoholic. Nearly one-third of American adults are excessive drinkers, though only 10 percent of them are considered alcoholics. But even if you do not have an alcohol addiction, excessive drinking is dangerous and can be life-threatening.
Your BAC is expressed as the percentage of ethanol (in grams) in 100 milliliters of blood. While reaching a .08 BAC is the legal driving limit in most U.S. states, several factors affect your BAC.
Your food intake, hydration level, weight, age, gender, medications, and other factors can influence how quickly you reach a .08 BAC. However, typically, men reach a .08 level after about five drinks and women reach it after about four drinks in approximately two hours.
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 sick from alcohol. So it makes sense that binge drinking can lead to alcohol poisoning (intoxication).
Alcohol intoxication is a condition that occurs from drinking too much. It affects your breathing, heart rate, body temperature, gag reflex, and more. If you or someone you know has alcohol poisoning, call for emergency medical help right away.
Both a hangover and alcohol poisoning happen from drinking too much. And both are characterized by throwing up, among other symptoms. The difference is that while you may experience a hangover the day after drinking, alcohol poisoning happens right after you consume it.
While a hangover may be uncomfortable, alcohol intoxication can be deadly. That’s why it’s important to know the signs and symptoms.
Hangover symptoms vary from person to person depending on several factors. How many alcoholic drinks you consume, how hydrated you are, and your food intake, weight, age, gender, and other factors can influence the severity of your hangover.
Some common hangover symptoms include:
It’s important to rehydrate your body if you are hungover. Fluids with added electrolytes, such as Gatorade or Pedialyte, can help to rehydrate and replace the salt and potassium you’ve lost from drinking alcohol.
Drinking water, getting some food in you, and practicing relaxation techniques can also help to alleviate your symptoms.
Alcohol poisoning, which is a severe degree of alcohol intoxication, is a serious condition that happens when you drink too many alcoholic beverages. The side effects can be intense.
Typically, alcohol intoxication (poisoning) symptoms include the following:
Not everyone who has alcohol intoxication will experience every symptom. However, if you suspect that someone has alcohol poisoning, call for medical help immediately. Alcohol poisoning can result in death if left untreated.
You might throw up from drinking too much alcohol. But there are other causes of throwing up after drinking that don’t necessarily have to do with how much alcohol you consume. These include:
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 them to bleed and may make you to throw up.
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 blood stream longer than usual. This can make you feel sick and throw up.
Alcoholic ketoacidosis (AKA), also known as alcoholic ketosis or alcoholic acidosis, is a metabolic complication of alcohol use and starvation. It happens from heavily drinking on an empty stomach. But it can lead to vomiting or worse, including sudden death.
Alcohol is a stomach irritant, so it’s normal to feel nauseous after drinking it.
Sometimes, your body just needs to rid itself of toxins from drinking too much alcohol, and throwing up is a natural response.
Vomiting after drinking can be dangerous. Because alcohol depresses your nerves that control involuntary actions like breathing and gagging (which prevents choking), drinking too much can impair these functions entirely.
If it does, you can choke on your own 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. It’s also important to note that your BAC can keep rising even if you stop drinking and even if you pass out. Alcohol in your stomach and intestine continue to enter your bloodstream and circulate around your body, so “sleeping it off” isn’t always a safe bet.
There could be a few reasons as to why you are throwing up blood after drinking alcohol.
Here are a few reasons why you might throw up blood after drinking alcohol:
If you or someone you know is throwing up blood after drinking, you should reach out for emergency medical attention immediately. Vomiting blood could sign of a more serious health concern.
If you or someone you know is struggling with an alcohol problem, seek professional help. Quitting drinking isn’t necessarily easy to do on one’s own. Many people experience alcohol withdrawal symptoms.
The most dangerous kind of alcohol withdrawal happens to about one out of every 20 people. This condition is known as delirium tremens (it’s also known as DTs). It’s a rapid onset of symptoms like shaking, sweating, vomiting, hallucinating, and more — and can be fatal.
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