Binge drinking or heavy drinking is a form of alcohol abuse that can cause serious harm to organs in your body, especially the digestive tract. You may often notice that you feel nauseated or you end up vomiting, after heavy drinking. This is usually because your body can’t tolerate high levels of alcohol. It takes hours to metabolize one drink. When alcohol is consumed in high amounts, your digestive system prioritizes the elimination of alcohol rather than absorbing the good nutrients. It absorbs the alcohol first for speedy elimination. Alcohol abuse over the years can lead to a lack of nutrients in your body. Seek nutrition counselling services while quitting alcohol, for regaining the lost nutrients. 

Some of the digestive problems caused by alcohol are – diarrhea, gastritis, abdominal pain, heartburn etc. Thus, it is better to know the harmful effects of alcohol on the digestive system. Here’s how the alcohol affects the different parts of your digestive system as it passes through each of them- 

  • The mouth and the throat

Your mouth and throat are first to be exposed to alcohol. Some alcohol beverages are the most undiluted when consumed. Thus, alcohol can be an irritant to the mouth. The alcohol that passes through the saliva in your mouth, stays for a longer time in the saliva than the bloodstream. When it gets converted into acetaldehyde – a carcinogen, it can cause damage to the tissues inside your mouth and throat. Most of the cancers of the mouth and throat are caused by alcohol consumption. 

  • The oesophagus

The oesophagus is the long tube running down from your mouth to your stomach. There are several ways in which serious harm can be caused to the oesophagus. Once alcohol is swallowed, it comes in contact with the oesophageal tube, and can directly damage the inner lining of cells here. Alcohol can severely affect and weaken the lower esophageal sphincter, thus causing heart burns or acid reflux. With the heavy consumption of alcohol, the risks of having cancer is also high.

  • Stomach

The stomach is where the alcohol stays for a longer duration, and its breakdown begins. Regardless of you being a heavy drinker or a moderate one, alcohol generally interferes with the normal functioning of the stomach. Firstly the acid production of the stomach is affected. The stomach’s ability to destroy the harmful bacteria that enters in, is diminished thus, allowing it to enter your upper intestine. Apart from this, alcohol can also damage the mucous cells that protects the stomach wall from any harm caused by acids and digestive enzymes. This can also lead to inflammation or abdominal pain. Alcoholic beverages with alcohol content more than 15% can delay the emptying of stomach and degradation of food. 

  • Liver

The liver is the most affected organ because of alcohol abuse. The liver is mainly responsible for alcohol metabolism and filtering out the toxins from the blood. There are several ways in which the liver breaks down the alcohol. In this process of breaking down, the resulting reaction can damage the liver cells. This further leads to inflammation and scarring of the liver. Heavy and binge drinking can lead to severe liver conditions such as fatty liver disease, cirrhosis, alcoholic liver disease, ascites etc. in extreme cases of liver damage, one may even require a liver transplant surgery. For the proper treatment of liver diseases, consult the best gastroenterologist in India

  • Intestines

All the food that is left undigested, passes from the intestines, and later is expelled from the body. All the water and salt is absorbed by the large and small intestine. However, with alcohol in the bloodstream, it affects the normal functioning of the intestines. Alcohol hinders the absorption of nutrients from the food that we eat, and leaves all the toxins in the bloodstream itself. Alcohol has an inflammatory effect on the intestines and can also increase the risk of bowel cancer. For people who binge drink or are heavy drinkers, there is an added risk of colorectal cancer. 

Health risks of alcohol consumption

Over the years, heavy drinking can lead to serious health conditions, cancer being one of the most likely diseases, caused due to alcohol abuse. It is important that you find a way to get rid of your alcohol addiction, in order to live a healthy lifestyle. Liver malfunction and several other liver diseases are also caused because of overconsumption of alcohol. Apart from this, in women, there can be severe effects of alcohol on the female reproductive system. 

Alcoholism does not only affect you but also the people around you. One must take serious efforts to cut off alcohol from your life. With alcohol out of your system, there are several advantages that you can see in your body and your relationships. Some of the benefits of quitting alcohol for a year are – healthy body and mind, glowing skin, mental peace, improved relationships and reduced risks of diseases. 

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