If you’re someone struggling with an alcohol use disorder, then you’re probably already facing a variety of health concerns due to the alcohol. From high blood pressure to liver disease, there is a range of health complications to long-term excessive alcohol consumption. However, many people may be unaware of alcoholic gastritis, another condition that can arise from frequent or long-term drinking. This painful condition may be dismissed as indigestion or heartburn when it’s actually alcoholic gastritis.
Gastritis is a medical condition pertaining to the stomach lining. Gastritis may be either erosive or non-erosive. Erosive refers to the eroding of the stomach’s lining due to inflammation. It’s also the most common type of gastritis. The inflammation that causes gastritis can result from infection, drinking too much alcohol (alcoholic gastritis), or long-term use of certain pain relievers. You may have an acute case of gastritis, meaning it occurs suddenly, or you may develop chronic gastritis, meaning it appears slowly over time. In addition, some people develop ulcers with this condition.
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What Is Alcoholic Gastritis?
Alcoholic gastritis refers to the form of gastritis that results from excessive alcohol use. When you have this type of gastritis, your stomach’s inner lining is inflamed or worn down. Alcoholic gastritis is erosive, and it may be acute or chronic.
Symptoms of Gastritis
Dealing with alcoholic gastritis is uncomfortable and can be quite painful. Whether you have an acute flare-up or are dealing with a chronic, ongoing case, some of the symptoms are outlined below:
- A burning or gnawing sensation in your stomach that may become better or worse after eating.
- Persistent pain between your lower abdomen and ribs.
- Burping and hiccupping.
- Feeling full and bloated, which gets worse after you eat.
- Nausea and vomiting.
- Loss of appetite.
- A sensation in your upper abdomen of being full after eating.
- Blood in your feces or vomit, which may be a result of internal stomach bleeding.
You don’t have to experience every single one of these symptoms to have alcoholic gastritis.
Other Risk Factors of Gastritis
Gastritis has many possible causes. Just a few of them are eating spicy foods, smoking, stress, diseases that attack your body’s autoimmune system, bacterial or viral infections, trauma, pernicious anemia (when your stomach has problems handling vitamin B12), and reactions to surgery.
Alcoholic gastritis is caused by drinking too much or too often. The alcohol can gradually irritate and erode your stomach lining, which triggers gastritis symptoms.
Complications of Untreated Gastritis
Alcoholic gastritis will most likely become a more serious problem if left untreated. When the stomach lining stays inflamed and irritated over time without a remedy, it can lead to any of the following issues:
- Peptic ulcers: These are painful sores that develop in the upper section of your digestive tract.
- Gastric polyps: These are small lesions made of cells that form on your stomach lining.
- Stomach tumors: These are often benign, but they can be cancerous.
- Anemia: If you develop ulcers and they start to bleed, your iron will drop, causing anemia.
You can see why it’s vital to take steps to treat alcoholic gastritis if you’ve been diagnosed with it. If you neglect the situation, it could eventually lead to serious consequences.
Treatment for Alcoholic Gastritis
Treatment for alcoholic gastritis has two components. First, your doctor will help ease your symptoms and heal the inner lining of your stomach through medications. These treatments can bring you relief relatively quickly. However, the second treatment component involves getting to the root cause of alcoholic gastritis, which is the excessive consumption of alcohol. This treatment consists of detoxing from alcohol and living sober.
Your regimen of medication will depend on the severity of your case, but here’s a list of medications often used:
- Antibiotics: These kill the bacteria that cause gastritis.
- Antacids: These are over-the-counter medications to reduce stomach acid.
- Histamine (H2) blockers: This medication reduces the amount of acid your stomach produces.
- Proton pump inhibitors: This will treat a person who already has a stomach ulcer or acid reflux.
Other proactive steps you can take to help with gastritis are to avoid consuming spicy foods, acidic beverages, and alcohol. Aspirin, caffeine, and over-the-counter pain medications can also irritate the stomach’s lining. So, these may need to be avoided or limited until you’re healed.
Rehab for Alcoholic Gastritis
As mentioned above, getting to the root cause of alcoholic gastritis is a key part of the healing process. This involves quitting alcohol. It’s not recommended that you do this on your own due to the risks and complications of withdrawal. You can detox in an alcohol rehab facility, such as California Detox, for the best results.
At an alcohol detox rehab, you’ll be in a safe environment while you go through the withdrawal process. Trained clinicians will be with you while you experience withdrawal symptoms, which can range in intensity. They’ll monitor your progress to ensure your vitals are safe.
In addition, you may be given medication to alleviate withdrawal symptoms while in rehab for alcoholic gastritis. Once you complete the detox stage, you’ll want to move on to the next level in the continuum of services. This level of treatment may be any of the following programs:
- Inpatient treatment.
- Partial hospitalization program.
- Intensive outpatient program.
- Outpatient treatment.
- Group therapy.
Work with an admissions representative to learn what treatment is best for you after detox.
Begin Your Journey to Wellness
You can begin your journey to well-being by contacting California Detox in Laguna Beach, California. We offer programs for people dealing with all types of substance misuse, including alcohol abuse. When you call our rehab facility, an admissions representative will walk you through the process and let you know what steps to take next. They’ll verify your insurance, and if you don’t have insurance, they can provide other financial information for you. Begin your journey to a bright future by contacting the facility at 949-694-8305 or by reaching out through online options. Someone is available 24/7.