How Alcohol Affects the Digestive System: Alcohol Damage
Alcohol is a toxin to the body and, as you drink it, it will affect your body in many ways. These can include your mental health, your cardiovascular system, your brain, and your digestive system. Keep reading to find out more about how alcohol affects the digestive system and how to get help if you are struggling with alcohol so that you can minimize this damage.
How Alcohol Affects the Digestive System: How It Happens
It is no surprise that your digestive system can be negatively impacted by alcohol consumption, as it is the first point of contact it makes with your body before it travels anywhere else. Some ways that alcohol affects the digestive system are dehydration, interference with healthy bacteria and nutrients, as well as physical damage to the stomach and its lining.
Alcohol is a diuretic, causing you to become dehydrated. According to the Association of Registered Colonic Hydrotherapists, alcohol will increase the speed at which everything moves through your digestive tract, all the way from your stomach to your colon. This means that your stomach will empty too quickly into the small intestine, and the digestive waste will move too fast through the large intestine for all of the water to be reabsorbed.
Alcohol’s Interference with Healthy Bacteria and Nutrients
Alcohol can interfere with healthy bacteria and nutrients becoming absorbed into the small intestine. This can cause malnutrition, which is very common for individuals who suffer from alcohol abuse. It is actually one of the major symptoms of alcoholism. Malnutrition can cause an unkempt appearance, marked weight loss or weight gain, and can contribute to a number of diseases that may otherwise have been preventable. This makes proper nutrition with a healthy diet a very important part of substance abuse recovery.
Damage to the Stomach Lining Due to Heavy Drinking
Heavy drinking can interfere with the stomach’s protective system, the gastric mucosa. When the gastric mucosa is damaged, alcohol can cause inflammation and even bleeding in the stomach. This can lead to a host of other health complications, and damage to the gastric mucosa can happen after even just one night of binge drinking.
Maintaining a Healthy Digestive System
Alcohol affects the digestive system in negative ways, but luckily, there are many ways you can maintain a healthy digestive system.
- Hydration. Alcohol is a diuretic, so it is very important to drink plenty of water and stay hydrated. This will help minimize the dehydrating effects of alcohol.
- Healthy diet. By maintaining a healthy diet, you will be giving your gut everything it needs to run properly.
- Exercise. Staying active helps your body overall by losing extra fat cells and giving your body the energy it needs.
- Abstinence from alcohol. The best way to stop the effects of alcohol on the digestive system is to remain abstinent from alcohol altogether.
When to Get Help for Alcoholism
Combating the effects of alcohol on the digestive system by remaining sober from alcohol can be much easier said than done. If you are experiencing the following symptoms relating to your digestive system after a night of drinking, it is important that you seek the additional help you need in order to stop drinking alcohol:
- Loose stools. As mentioned, alcohol can cause everything to move much more quickly through the digestive system, causing loose stools. This should be especially concerning if you experience loose stools for more than 48 hours.
- Frequent stomach aches. Alcohol consumption weakens the stomach and causes damage, even after one night. Gas, bloating, and stomach pain are all common in relation to a night of heavy drinking. If you experience this regularly, it is time to seek help.
- Vomiting regularly. Too much alcohol can cause an individual to become nauseous, which leads to vomiting. Vomiting is damaging to the digestive system, which makes frequent vomiting should be a cause for concern.
- Signs of malnutrition. If you or a loved one has an unkempt appearance, dry skin, marked weight loss or weight gain, and brittle fingernails, these are all signs of malnutrition due to a damaged digestive system stemming from alcohol.
About Seasons in Malibu
The best way to stop alcohol’s damaging effects on the digestive system is to stop drinking. The alcohol rehab programs at Seasons In Malibu starts with detox and carries through to aftercare. The alcohol treatment centers on our philosophy of systemic treatment.
Our philosophy is grounded in the understanding that in order for the client to heal, the entire system needs the opportunity to heal along with them. Whenever practical, we try to include close loved ones in sessions and in the entire process of recovering from addiction and/or addressing mental health issues.
It is our firm belief that alcohol abuse is a symptom, not the problem itself, and because of this we understand how important it is that we view rehabilitation not simply as the physical detox from alcohol. If the underlying psychological and environmental issues that caused you to turn to alcohol in the first place are not treated, there can be little genuine, lasting recovery.
With our superior team of clinicians, we are able to succinctly pinpoint those areas of focus which will give the client the most advanced opportunity for success. Our approach towards healing is collaborative, comprehensive and committed.
For more information, visit seasonsmalibu.com