There are a great many negative side effects that one can and may experience when quitting the use of alcohol, and the majority of them are quite unpleasant. While there are very severe side effects and withdrawals that come along with quitting alcohol (including seizures, respiratory failure, and heart failure), there are also some less severe side effects of quitting drugs and alcohol. Stomach and Abdominal issues are quite common during the first few weeks and months of sobriety; in this article, we hope to explain these medical issues and offer information and help for those that are experiencing stomach and abdominal issues related to addiction recovery.
Alcohol Stomach Pains and Discomfort
Alcohol causes a lot of issues with the stomach, duodenum, and intestines. Alcohol is consumed (Most often) orally by drinking a solution containing alcohol. Part of this alcohol solution — whether it be a shot, a beer, wine, etc. — travels along the same path as the food you eat. Alcohol travels into the stomach, through the duodenum and along the intestinal track. Alcohol is a very strong chemical and everywhere the alcohol touches, along the gastrointestinal track, gets light burns from the alcohol itself. In small doses these burns are very minor, and are often healed within a day or two. When someone is binge drinking, or drinking for long periods of time, these burns become more severe. These burns can lead to ulcerous sores in the stomach, duodenum, and in the large and small intestines.
When quitting using alcohol, the pains of these ulcers and other damage along the gastrointestinal track increases dramatically; this is because not only is there no longer a numbing effect from alcohol in the system, but the damage has already begun the process of healing itself. The healing process of the GI track can cause discomfort, bloating, diarrhea, and a long list of other uncomfortable side effects. These side effects are quite uncomfortable, but do not worry, they do not last forever, and will decrease over time.
Right Side Abdominal Pains
When it comes to pains associated with alcohol abuse, damage to the (GI) Gastrointestinal Tracy is fairly reversible and not necessarily a scary side effect to see when quitting alcohol. Abdominal pains on the right side of the abdomen, below the ribcage, is a little more worrisome, but can also be a simple inflammation. The real worry about right side abdominal pains associate with alcohol, is that this is the location of the Liver, the organ responsible for cleaning toxic chemicals out of the bloodstream — especially alcohol. Again, liver pains could simply be a minor inflamation, but there are some more serious diseases that this could be related to. These diseases (which can stem directly from alcohol abuse) are as follows:
- Alcoholic Liver Inflammation
- Severe Liver Damage
- Liver Infections
Again, inflammation is the least serious of possible reasons for Liver pains. These are quite often the first pains felt in the liver, and serve more as a warning against further liver abuse. The most serious of the possible diagnoses is Alcoholic Cirrhosis, which means that the damage to the liver is so severe, that it will require a liver transplant. Cirrhosis takes quite a while, and heavy drinking, to take-form.
To sum it all up, there are plenty of stomach and abdominal pains that one can suffer from when abusing alcohol. Not all of these pains are as serious as the next, but all should be a reminder of the dangers associated with alcohol abuse.