Signs and Symptoms of Alcoholic Gastritis

alcoholic gastritis
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Approximately 14.5 million people in the United States have an alcohol use disorder.¹ Alcohol addiction is a dangerous condition that can seriously impact your physical and mental health, potentially leading to life-threatening conditions.

One of the conditions it can cause is alcoholic gastritis. Learn more about this form of gastritis and how to get help.

What Is Alcoholic Gastritis?

Alcoholic gastritis is inflammation of the stomach lining, or mucosa, caused by excessive alcohol consumption. It may be chronic or acute.

There are several types of alcoholic gastritis, including erosive and reactive gastritis. Erosive gastritis is when alcohol removes the stomach lining, leading to ulcers and shallow erosions. Reactive gastritis is when the stomach’s lining comes into repeated contact with an irritating substance.²

When you have an inflamed stomach lining, it’s more vulnerable to stomach acids.

Some of the most common symptoms of alcoholic gastritis are:

  • Nausea
  • Hiccups
  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Indigestion
  • Upper abdominal pain
  • Burning ache in the stomach
  • Bloating
  • Burping
  • Black, tarry stools
  • Vomiting blood

Those who have alcohol-induced gastritis might feel symptoms after a binge-drinking episode or experience chronic symptoms.

There are long-term risks of alcoholic gastritis. It can lead to gastrointestinal tract bleeding, which is a medical emergency requiring prompt care. The location of GI bleeding can vary, but vomiting blood can point to a tear in the esophageal blood vessel or ulceration in the stomach or duodenum.

Upper GI bleeding can be fatal if the bleeding isn’t controlled or if there are perforations to the stomach lining that release digestive acids in the spaces around the stomach.³

Other life-threatening complications include generalized peritonitis, sepsis, and multiorgan failure.

Treating Alcoholic Gastritis

The most important step you can take is to stop drinking. Once you cease your alcohol consumption, you can begin treating gastric mucosal inflammation with medications like antibiotics, H2 blockers, antacids, and proton pump inhibitors.

You may also have to make lifestyle changes besides quitting drinking. You’ll likely have to stop smoking and avoid acidic foods and drinks, including sodas and coffee. You may also have to avoid spicy foods and certain over-the-counter medications.

In some instances, alcoholic gastritis can be reversed. If it can’t, however, you’ll have to turn to lifelong management techniques. Some people can benefit from reparative surgeries.

Treating Alcohol Addiction

Before you can begin medical treatments for alcoholic gastritis, you need to stop drinking. For those with an alcohol use disorder, this means turning to qualified professionals who can help you through the various stages of recovery.

Alcohol Detox

If you have an alcohol use disorder, your body has grown used to functioning with alcohol — it depends on it. To begin treating the addiction effectively, you must first eliminate the alcohol in your body.

Alcohol withdrawal is never something you want to attempt on your own. It can cause serious symptoms, including:

  • Anxiety
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Sweating
  • Vomiting
  • Insomnia
  • Depression
  • High blood pressure
  • Rapid heart rate

Some people also experience delirium tremens, which can cause hallucinations, fever, severe confusion,  and seizures.

Turning to a medical detox program can help you avoid severe withdrawal symptoms. In such a program, you’ll receive 24/7 monitoring and medication adjustments as needed to keep you safe and comfortable.

Inpatient Treatment

For those just starting the recovery process and needing a high level of care, inpatient treatment may be a good option. As part of your inpatient treatment, you’ll receive constant monitoring and have days full of individual and group therapy sessions to help you understand the causes of your addiction.

Individual therapy sessions rely on behavioral and holistic therapies that help you reconnect with yourself so you can start healing. If you have co-occurring mental health conditions, you’ll also receive help for them. Mental health conditions can lead to addiction, so treating both is necessary.

Group therapy sessions offer the chance to hear from others who face similar challenges, letting you know you’re not alone. And because addiction affects everyone around you, you also have the opportunity to attend family therapy sessions.

Outpatient Treatment

Even if you can’t stay overnight at a treatment facility, you can still get the treatment you need for an alcohol use disorder.

Outpatient treatment allows you to keep up with your responsibilities while receiving the benefits of individual and group therapy sessions. By participating in holistic therapies, you can learn to regulate your emotions and cope with stress healthier than alcohol use.

To help rebuild trust with your loved ones, you can attend family therapy sessions, which provide a safe, encouraging environment to talk through your struggles with those closest to you.

When entered into with intentionality, outpatient treatment affords the chance to put into practice the techniques you learn during therapy.

Extended Care Programs

Just because you’ve completed a treatment program doesn’t mean you no longer need support. Extended care programs can help you transition back into regular life, providing relapse prevention training, life skills training, and much more. You can get help finding aftercare options and take advantage of therapy sessions when needed.

Extended care also encourages you to participate in 12-step programs where you can start building the support system you need.

Get Help with Alcohol Addiction

Living with an alcohol use disorder can lower your quality of life and put you at risk of developing serious health complications like alcoholic gastritis. Turning to professionals who can guide you through the recovery process gives you a fighting chance of finding your way back to sobriety.

At Wolf Creek Recovery, we offer various programs to help you overcome alcohol addiction. When you work with our team, you get access to a team of knowledgeable and compassionate professionals with years of experience helping people who are struggling with addiction.

Contact us today to schedule an initial assessment.