Have you been diagnosed with stomach ulcers and are wondering if alcohol could be the cause? Alcohol and stomach ulcers have always been associated with each other, either directly or indirectly. This article will help you understand the relationship between alcohol and the occurrence of stomach ulcers. Read on…
I was researching this topic and came across various forums and blogs wherein people are associating their stomach ulcers or the symptoms of stomach ulcers with alcohol. I mean on every other page you will come across queries wherein people are confused if they are suffering from stomach ulcers because of their alcohol consumption, or diet! Well, the answer is, neither alcohol, nor diet is the main CAUSE of stomach ulcers. What exactly are stomach ulcers? Stomach ulcers are nothing else but peptic ulcers that occur within the stomach lining. They are also known as Gastric ulcers.
These ulcers form a sore within the stomach wall and eats away the inner lining of the stomach causing bleeding and lesion as well. The main cause of the development of stomach ulcer is a bacterium known as Helicobacter pylori or H. pylori, which accounts for 80% of the cases of stomach ulcers. The rest 20% of the causes include intake of certain medications including aspirin, ibuprofen, and medications used to treat osteoarthritis. But then, what does alcohol has to do with stomach ulcers? Is it all right to consume alcohol if it doesn’t cause gastric ulcers? Well, all these questions will be answered in the following section.
Relationship Between Drinking Alcohol and Stomach Ulcers
Well, let’s think of it this way. Obesity doesn’t cause heart attack, but when you are suffering from a heart condition, you are strictly asked to manage your weight. Why? Because being overweight can trigger a heart attack and not cause it! Similarly, alcohol may not be the causing agent of stomach ulcers but it can definitely make the existing condition worse. Consumption of alcohol increases the production of acid in the stomach which eventually leads to further erosion of the stomach lining, causing the ulcer to bleed and making the condition all the more severe in nature. This explains as to why do doctors suggest patients with peptic ulcers to refrain from alcohol. However, the question still remains, why do people experience symptoms of stomach ulcer after drinking alcohol? The most common symptom is abdominal pain, which can also be accompanied by heartburn, nausea, and vomiting.
Well, the reason behind this could be the level of acid that increases in the body when you consume alcohol. Apart from that, the abdominal pain can also signify problems with the liver and pancreas, which can be a sign of the adverse effects of alcohol on your health. You would be interested to know that there was a study done based on animal testing. It stated that only 190+ proof alcohols have the tendency to cause ulcers in the stomach. However, it is not possible for a human to consume 190 or higher proof alcohol because it would end up burning the skin of the mouth while consuming it. We cannot consume more than 150+ proof alcohol, which cannot cause stomach ulcers on its own.
So what do we conclude about the stomach ulcer-alcohol relationship? I am sure after reading the last five lines of the previous paragraph, you would be very relaxed and happy about the fact that you can “continue” drinking alcohol now, right? Well, no you can’t! The bottom line is that alcohol is not the main cause of stomach ulcer, but if you have been experiencing some prominent stomach ulcer symptoms, then alcohol will worsen the condition. It is like, ‘salt doesn’t burn the skin, but if you already have burns on your skin, then a contact with salt will flare up the burning sensation’.
Alcohol also tends makes the stomach all the more acidic, which isn’t good if you have ulcers in your stomach, because it will work as a fuel adding to the fire. Therefore, as soon as you understand that alcohol is affecting or flaring up the pain caused by stomach ulcers, stop consuming it in order to prevent further irritation and complications. If the pain or discomfort persists, then get in touch with your healthcare specialist as soon as possible.