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Updated on January 27, 2023
6 min read

Stomach Pain After Drinking

Vince Ayaga
Dr P. E. Pancoast, MD
Written by 
10 Sources Cited
Vince Ayaga
Written by 
10 Sources Cited

What Causes Stomach Pain After Drinking Alcohol?

Here are the common causes of stomach pain after drinking alcohol: 

Alcoholic Gastritis

Alcoholic gastritis is inflammation of the stomach lining caused by excessive consumption of alcohol. Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and loss of appetite. In severe cases, it can lead to bleeding in the stomach or intestines. 


Frequent, ongoing alcohol use can destroy the stomach mucosal lining. This can lead to painful open sores, also known as ulcers.

Ulcers can cause severe gastrointestinal tract (UGI) bleeding. They may also develop into gastric cancer.5

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a chronic digestive system disorder. There are many causes of IBS, including auto-immune and hereditary.

IBS can be severe in some people with specific types and may require ongoing medical care and even surgery. However, it doesn’t usually cause severe symptoms and can be managed through lifestyle changes.6

For people with IBS, drinking alcohol can flare up symptoms such as:

  • Vomiting
  • Cramping
  • Diarrhea
  • Bloating
  • Constipation

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a digestive condition affecting the stomach and esophagus muscles.

If you have GERD, stomach acid flows back into the esophagus. This can cause irritation and pain that usually worsens when you drink alcohol

Pernicious Anemia

Pernicious anemia is caused by the stomach’s inability to absorb vitamin B12.7 The lack of enough intrinsic factor (IF) causes this.

The intrinsic factor is a special protein that binds with vitamin B-12 to enable absorption by the ileum.

Drinking on an Empty Stomach

Alcohol can be harsh on your stomach lining. It causes the stomach to produce more acid.

Drinking on an empty stomach can cause the alcohol to mix with stomach acids. The stomach lining can become inflamed when this happens, causing pain and discomfort.


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How to Treat Stomach Pain After Drinking

If you experience stomach pain after drinking alcohol, it is important to seek medical attention. Treatment will depend on the underlying cause of your symptoms.

Ways to treat stomach pain after drinking include:


Your doctor may recommend medications to reduce inflammation or antibiotics if an infection is present. Antacids may also be prescribed to reduce stomach acid.

Lifestyle Changes 

Making lifestyle changes can help reduce the risk of developing stomach pain after drinking alcohol. This includes limiting alcohol consumption, maintaining a balanced diet, and getting regular exercise.

Avoiding Triggers

Certain foods and drinks can trigger stomach pain after drinking alcohol. It's important to avoid these triggers, such as spicy foods, caffeine, and carbonated beverages. Additionally, it is best to avoid drinking on an empty stomach.

Managing Stress

Stress can worsen symptoms of stomach pain after drinking alcohol. Manage stress levels by engaging in activities such as yoga, meditation, and deep breathing.

Foods & Substances to Avoid

It’s essential to eat the right food and avoid harmful substances. Consuming certain foods and drugs can further irritate your stomach.

Here’s a list of things you should avoid:

  • Acidic foods
  • Sugary foods
  • Spicy foods
  • Dairy products
  • Processed foods
  • Fried foods
  • Carbonated drinks
  • Caffeinated drinks
  • Fruit juice
  • Tomatoes
  • Cigarettes
  • Drugs such as NSAIDs

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Is Stomach Pain After Drinking a Sign of Gastritis? 

If you have stomach pain after drinking alcohol, your gastric mucosa (stomach lining) may be inflamed. This condition is known as gastritis. 

Alcohol triggers gastritis pain when it comes into contact with an inflamed stomach lining. When alcohol causes gastritis, it’s known as alcohol gastritis.

Alcoholic gastritis symptoms include: 

  • Stomach pain 
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Gastric bleeding

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What is Alcoholic Gastritis?

Alcoholic gastritis occurs when alcohol use damages the stomach lining. This leaves the delicate lining vulnerable to other irritants such as spicy foods, smoke, or drugs.

Studies show that 100 percent of chronic drinkers are at a higher risk of gastritis.2,4 Symptoms of alcoholic gastritis might not occur immediately. However, they can worsen over time. For example, when the inflamed mucosal tissue of the stomach lining erodes, an ulcer can form. Ulcers cause further pain, stomach bleeding, and discomfort.

Types & Symptoms of Alcoholic Gastritis

The 2 main types of alcoholic gastritis are acute and chronic:

1. Acute Alcoholic Gastritis

Acute gastritis occurs suddenly and is short-lived. In some cases, it’s more painful than chronic alcohol gastritis. 

Diagnosing acute gastritis is difficult without a medical check-up. If you vomit blood, seek emergency care immediately.

Common symptoms include:

  • Nausea 
  • Vomiting, which might contain blood
  • Abdominal pain
  • Appetite loss
  • Bloating and/or gas
  • Ulcers
  • Indigestion
  • A full feeling in the upper abdomen after eating
  • Black, tarry stool (rare)

2. Chronic Alcohol Gastritis 

Chronic gastritis is when stomach inflammation lasts for a long time.3 The condition worsens as the stomach acids eat away the exposed stomach lining.

The symptoms of chronic alcohol gastritis are minimal compared to acute alcoholic gastritis. Therefore, people are less likely to address chronic alcohol gastritis.

Symptoms include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Anemia
  • Appetite loss
  • Stomach irritation
  • Weight loss
  • Bleeding (in erosive gastritis)

Gastritis can be erosive if the stomach lining is worn and ulcerated. Exposing the tissue to acids and other irritants can cause bleeding.

Risk Factors for Alcoholic Gastritis

There are plenty of factors that can increase the risk of alcoholic gastritis. Various conditions or substances can irritate and weaken your stomach lining.

Several factors put you at risk of alcoholic gastritis, including:

  • Excess alcohol consumption
  • Cigarette smoking
  • Spicy or acidic foods and drinks
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
  • Stress
  • Bacterial infections
  • Age
  • Underlying conditions

Treatment for Gastritis 

Treatment for alcoholic gastritis depends on age, symptoms, and overall health. 

The first and most important treatment for alcoholic gastritis is to stop drinking alcohol. Continuing to drink alcohol will make gastritis worse and impede the healing process. Other options include:


To alleviate symptoms, your doctor may prescribe medications such as: 

  • Antibiotics
  • Antacids 
  • Histamine (H2) blockers 
  • Proton pump inhibitors

These medications can help eliminate bacteria that may cause or worsen gastritis.

For instance, the H. pylori kit treats H. Pylori bacteria, while Histamine (H2) blockers treat and reduce stomach acid production.9  

Diet Changes

Spicy foods and acidic drinks can irritate the stomach. Avoiding them will prevent the progression of and help manage the severe symptoms of gastritis. 

In particular, stopping alcohol use is critical to prevent ongoing stomach irritation and damage.

Reparative Surgeries

In cases of severe stomach lining damage, you might need reparative surgery. Some ulcers or tumors require surgical care to repair or remove them.

Tips for Healing Your Stomach Lining

Although it can take some time to heal, eventually, your stomach will. By staying fit and healthy, your stomach can recover.

Here are a few tips you can follow to help your stomach heal:

  • Quit alcohol
  • Eat natural foods
  • Exercise regularly
  • Reduce stress


There are various possible causes of stomach pain after drinking. Alcohol gastritis is one of the main reasons behind this condition. Learning about the types and symptoms of alcoholic gastritis can help you overcome your stomach pain. If you experience any of the above symptoms, seek medical attention immediately.

Updated on January 27, 2023
10 sources cited
Updated on January 27, 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. Li, G., et al. "A New Participant in the Pathogenesis of Alcoholic Gastritis: Pyroptosis." Cell Physiol Biochem, 2018.
  2. Shield K.“Chronic Diseases and Conditions Related to Alcohol Use,” National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), 2014.
  3. Bishehsari, F., et al. “Alcohol and Gut-Derived Inflammation.” Alcohol research: current reviews, 2017.
  4. Gastritis,” Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER)., 2020.
  5.  “Helicobacter pylori,”  Cleveland Clinic, 2021.
  6. Hansson L. “Risk of Stomach Cancer in Patients with Peptic Ulcer Disease,” World Journal of Surgery, 2014.
  7. Irritable bowel syndrome,” Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER)., 2021. 
  8. Pernicious anemia,” National Library of Medicine, 2021
  9. Diagnosis of Gastritis & Gastropathy: How do doctors diagnose gastritis and gastropathy?”  National Institutes of Health (NIH), 2019
  10. Gastritis.” Healthdirect, 2021.
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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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