Alcoholic Gastritis

Alcoholic Gastritis is a disorder of the digestive system that arises from alcohol abuse and leads to an irritation of the stomach lining. Get detailed information about the condition and know about its various causes, symptoms and treatment options.

Alcoholic Gastritis Definition

It is a type of Gastritis in which the stomach lining is affected due to alcohol consumption. Generally, Gastritis results in a damage or irritation of the inner lining of the stomach – which is safeguarded by the mucous. Excessive intake of alcohol breaks this safety barrier and gives rise to Gastritis. Even if you are not alcoholic, you may be afflicted with it due to alcohol abuse for some time.

Alcoholic Gastritis ICD 9 Code

The ICD 9 code of this disease is 535.3.

Alcoholic Gastritis Causes

Gastritis is broadly caused by several factors. Alcoholic gastritis however, as the name suggests, is solely caused due to excessive or prolonged consumption of alcohol. Alcohol intake induces secretion of excess hydrochloric acid in stomach which irritates the stomach lining. Mucous, which prevents the stomach lining from inflammation, is prevented from developing due to the ill-effects of alcohol. Patients start experiencing stomach pains due to the production of acid in your abdomen. According to studies conducted on some Gastritis patients, alcohol was primarily found to be responsible for chronic gastritis. Some other studies indicate just the opposite. Acute alcoholic gastritis occurs due to sudden inflammation that may last a short while.

Alcohol and gastritis acid reflux

The contents and acid from the stomach can enter the esophagus as a result of acid reflux. Alcohol can provoke this condition as it puts the lower esophageal sphincter at ease and lets the reflux occur. To prevent acid reflux, you may cut down on alcohol and opt for non-alcoholic beer instead.

Alcoholic Gastritis Symptoms

The symptoms of this disorder are similar to that of usual types of Gastritis which are not provoked by alcohol. Know about some of the classic signs of this disease.

  • Pain in the stomach is the very first and the most common of the symptoms. Stomach aches are common in patients of Chronic alcoholic gastritis, as also bloating.
  • Vomiting is another common sign. The color of the vomit can vary in sufferers of Severe Alcoholic Gastritis.
  • Decreased hunger pangs
  • Burning and bloating feeling in the stomach
  • Belching, which may or may not bring temporary relief
  • Diarrhea or stomach upset
  • Bad taste in mouth

The upper part of the abdomen usually aches either with severe or dull intensity. Sometimes, the pain might even extend to the back.

Alcoholic Gastritis Diagnosis

The diagnosis of this condition can be made by the physician by carefully investigating the medical history of a patient. Revelations of alcohol abuse or alcoholism in addition with associated symptoms can confirm the ailment. For further diagnosis, an endoscopy can be done. This test helps to depict any abnormalities in the stomach if pain is persistent even after stopping drinking. In a study performed on 125 alcoholic patients, subepithelial hemorrhages were detected in almost 20 of them with the help of endoscopy. Apart from endoscopy, blood tests can be useful for determining internal hemorrhage. X-rays, tests for detecting pancreatic functions and analysis of stool/urine may also be carried out.

Alcoholic Gastritis Treatment

The cure for Gastritis is mainly dependent on the underlying causative factor. As this type of gastritis is caused by alcohol consumption, it is first necessary to target the primary cause- drinking. In general, treatments can only aim to reduce the symptoms which accompany alcoholic gastritis. If correct measures are opted, the underlying cause comes to the open and subsequently can be dealt with first.

In this case, alcohol abuse can be restricted or totally done away with to bring initial relief. But it is better to take expert help while you are trying to quit alcohol. Over-the-counter medications may also be used to provide relive temporary relief from the symptoms. Omeprazole formulations have been quite beneficial in controlling acid reflux caused in alcoholic gastritis. Apart from these, esomeprazole and rabeprazole formulations (referred to as proton pump inhibitors) may also be administered to curb the activities of H.pylori. Affected people often drink milk as a common remedy to subside the burning and painful sensations associated with the disease.

Alcoholic Gastritis Management

Although the role of diet in Alcoholic gastritis treatment has not been proven, care must be taken to avoid food with high fat. Eating flavonoid-rich and fiber-rich food might help you fight bacteria. Certain changes in lifestyle, which include avoidance of alcohol, acidic beverages and NSAIDs, may help in managing Gastritis. Cutting down on alcohol is the best means of averting the condition, as it stops erosion in the stomach.

How long does Alcoholic Gastritis last?

A specific type of this condition may resolve gradually once alcohol consumption is stopped. The time for healing depends on right diagnosis and the treatment procedure that is adopted.  It is only in rare cases that it leads to other complications. The disease should never be left untreated; else it may turn chronic.

Alcoholic Gastritis Complications

The link between high risk of developing stomach cancer and Gastritis is blurred though studies are being conducted in this regard. Whether or not alcohol is solely responsible for stomach cancers is yet to be proven.

Alcoholic Gastritis Incidence

The actual prevalence of the condition is not known. However, gastritis seems to be common with old age (usually due to the attack of bacteria in the stomach).

Alcoholic Gastritis Prognosis

Gastritis worsens with alcohol consumption. Too much of alcohol will only aggravate gastritis and make it worsen into a serious ailment. It will lead to unrelenting pain in the stomach along with a feel of overstuffed abdomen. This can eventually lead to a situation where any food or beverage might irritate the stomach lining. There are also risks of stomach ulcers. Acute cases seem to recover in a couple of days. However, the pace of healing can be slow when it is associated with bleeding.


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