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How Long Does it Take for Alcohol Bloating to Go Away?

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), “29.5 million people ages 12 and older (10.6% in this age group) had AUD in the past year.”[1]

If you are dependent on alcohol, you are probably familiar with abdominal bloating. While people can experience alcohol bloating without being an alcoholic, alcoholics suffer from bloating more often than the general population. 

If you experience bloating after a night out drinking with friends, it should disappear within a few days. However, people who repeatedly abuse alcohol may experience chronic bloating that requires effort to resolve.

Alcohol-induced bloating can be uncomfortable, cause digestion issues, and take a toll on your self-esteem. If you or a loved one are experiencing alcohol bloating, you might be wondering how long it takes to go away and how to prevent it.

Why Does Drinking Alcohol Cause Bloating?

Alcohol causes inflammation that irritates your stomach, resulting in a condition called gastritis. Common symptoms of gastritis include heartburn, nausea and vomiting, abdominal pain, changes in your appetite, and bloating. Over time, the acid in your gut can lead to damage to your stomach lining causing the development of ulcers.

If you are only abusing alcohol every now and then, you might only develop acute gastritis. Acute gastritis only lasts for a few days and typically resolves on its own. However, frequent alcohol abuse can cause chronic gastritis, which can last for years without treatment. 

Another reason you could be experiencing alcohol-induced bloating is weight gain. Alcohol contains a high amount of calories and sometimes sugar. When you consume several beers or glasses of wine in one night, you could easily be consuming hundreds of calories. Additionally, some people become hungry when they are under the influence of alcohol, leading to even more calorie intake.

Because bloating can be caused by weight gain or a condition called gastritis, you must seek medical care. The inflammation caused by chronic alcohol abuse can lead to a variety of other adverse effects. Studies have found that “alcohol-induced intestinal inflammation may be at the root of multiple organ dysfunctions and chronic disorders associated with heavy drinking, including chronic liver disease, neurological disease, GI cancers, and inflammatory bowel syndrome.”[2]

Does Alcohol Bloat Go Away After You Stop Drinking?

Whether your alcohol bloat will go away or not after you quit drinking depends on the cause of your bloating. Abdominal swelling can occur for a variety of reasons, including weight gain, acute or chronic gastritis, excessive drinking, or taking anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen. If your bloating is caused by gastritis, it will not go away simply from quitting alcohol. 

Alcohol-induced gastritis is developed over time. If you have this condition, it is a clear sign that you might be suffering from alcoholism, as it slowly develops due to frequent and heavy alcohol consumption. Because it takes time to develop, it will not go away overnight. 

How Long Does Alcohol Bloating Last?

When you are experiencing alcohol-induced bloating, the amount of time it will last depends on the type of gastritis you have developed. There are two types of gastritis: acute and chronic. 

Acute gastritis only lasts for a short period. Typically, it comes and goes within a few days. On the other hand, chronic gastritis develops slowly and can last several months to a few years.

If your bloating is caused by weight gain from drinking too much, the length of time it lasts depends on several factors. For example, how much weight you have gained, your diet, and your exercise routine all play a role in how long it takes to resolve alcohol-induced bloating from weight gain. While some people can lose a considerable amount of weight in a few weeks, it might take others longer.

How to Get Alcohol Bloating to Go Away

How alcohol bloating is resolved will depend on its cause. As a result, you should always consult with a doctor to determine the origin of your bloating. If you find that your bloating is caused by weight gain, there are several paths you can take to treat it. 

To resolve bloating caused by weight gain, you should make a few lifestyle changes. This could include eating healthier, exercising more often, and quitting drinking. If you are addicted to alcohol, make sure to attend a medical detox program before quitting as you could experience life-threatening withdrawal symptoms.

If your doctor finds that your bloating is caused by gastritis, they will likely use medications to treat the condition, such as:

  • Antibiotics 
  • Antacids 
  • H2 blockers like Pepcid 
  • Proton pump inhibitors like Protonix 

Other Ways Alcohol Abuse Affects the Gastrointestinal Tract 

Alcohol abuse can affect every organ in your gastrointestinal tract. This is because when you consume alcohol, it travels through your gastrointestinal system until it is eventually eliminated. Your gastrointestinal tract includes your mouth, throat, esophagus, stomach, liver, small and large intestines, and anus.

Alcohol abuse can affect the organs in your gastrointestinal tract in the following ways:

  • Mouth and Throat – increased risk of cancers
  • Esophagus – damage to cells in the esophagus, acid reflux, and cancer of the esophagus
  • Stomach – damage to mucous cells in the stomach, inflammation, and lesions, less healthy bacteria in the stomach, and abdominal discomfort
  • Liver – tissue damage in the liver and fatty liver disease
  • Large Intestine – increased risk of bowel cancer 

While people are generally aware of the risk of liver disease associated with heavy alcohol abuse, not many are informed about the way that alcohol consumption increases your risk of cancer. Researchers explain that “alcohol abuse, like smoking, is associated with the development of cancers of the tongue, larynx (i.e., the organ of voice), and pharynx; both alcohol consumption and smoking independently increase the risk for these tumors.”[3]

Get Help for Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism Today

If you or a loved one suffer from alcohol abuse or alcoholism, it’s time to seek help. While alcohol-induced bloating is a serious concern, this is only the start of the damage alcoholism can inflict on your gastrointestinal tract. Over time, you could develop liver diseases, serious damage to the lining of your stomach, and various cancers. 

Thankfully, alcoholism treatment programs can provide you with the tools and support you need to maintain long-term sobriety. By recovering from alcoholism, you can protect your long-term health and increase your life expectancy. To learn more about how an alcohol addiction rehab program can help you, contact Mandala Healing Center today.