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Alcoholic Gastritis: Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

Last Updated: November 9, 2023

Editorial Policy | Research Policy

Alcoholic gastritis is a painful condition caused by drinking too much alcohol and can lead to serious problems like stomach cancer if not treated.

Alcoholic gastritis affects your digestive tract and is caused by the prolonged use of alcohol. This condition leads to inflammation, irritation or erosion of the stomach lining. It can be painful and, if left untreated, lead to severe complications, including stomach cancer. Understanding the causes, symptoms and treatment for alcohol-induced gastritis is important for anyone using alcohol on a regular basis.

What Is Alcoholic Gastritis?

Alcoholic gastritis is inflammation of the stomach lining caused by exposure to alcohol. It can occur acutely after a single episode of binge drinking or chronically, developing slowly over time with prolonged alcohol use. The condition can lead to many unpleasant symptoms and, if left untreated, result in serious problems.

Signs and Symptoms of Alcoholic Gastritis

Gastritis from alcohol exposure causes several symptoms. These can include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Heartburn
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Black or tarry stools
  • Bloating
  • Gassiness

The severity and combination of these symptoms can differ widely from person to person, depending on factors like the amount and frequency of alcohol consumption and personal susceptibility.

Causes and Risk Factors for Developing Alcoholic Gastritis

Excessive drinking causes alcohol-induced gastritis. Alcohol can irritate and erode the stomach lining, leading to inflammation that results in uncomfortable symptoms. 

The risk of developing gastritis from alcohol is higher in those who frequently drink large amounts of alcohol. Other factors that increase the risk of this condition in those who drink include the use of tobacco, the presence of Helicobacter pylori infection or the use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).

Alcoholic Gastritis Diagnosis

A doctor is the only one who can diagnose alcohol-induced gastritis, which typically involves reviewing your medical history and a physical exam. Your doctor will ask you about your drinking patterns and gastrointestinal symptoms. 

Along with discussing symptoms, your doctor may recommend an endoscopy to visually examine the stomach lining for signs of inflammation, erosion or ulcers. Additionally, blood, stool and breath tests may be conducted to assess your digestive tract further.

Treatment Options for Alcoholic Gastritis

Treating alcohol-induced gastritis primarily involves stopping alcohol use, which allows the stomach lining to heal itself. Your doctor may prescribe medications to reduce stomach acid production and improve symptoms. 

Additionally, lifestyle modifications, including dietary changes and stress management, can help manage and prevent the recurrence of this condition once you’ve stopped using alcohol. In very severe cases, hospitalization may be required to handle complications like internal bleeding and provide supportive care.

Can the Effects of Alcoholic Gastritis Be Reversed?

Most gastritis effects caused by alcohol can be reversed. In serious cases where damage to the stomach wall has occurred, it may take some time for the stomach to heal itself, and medical intervention may be necessary. If gastritis leads to cancer, the effects may become permanent. Reversing the impact of alcohol-induced gastritis from alcohol, when possible, almost always requires stopping alcohol use and maintaining abstinence.

Risks of Leaving Alcohol-Induced Gastritis Untreated

Leaving gastritis from alcohol untreated can lead to serious complications that may become life-threatening, including stomach ulcers, bleeding and an increased risk of stomach cancer. Untreated gastritis can also impair absorption, affecting your nutrition and overall health. Because the effects of leaving alcohol-induced gastritis can be fatal in serious cases, treatment is always recommended.

Seek Help for Alcohol Addiction To Prevent Future Health Issues

If you or a loved one are struggling to stop using alcohol or using alcohol even though it is leading to health problems, you should consider professional help. Alcohol addiction increases the risk of conditions like gastritis and makes it much harder to treat these conditions effectively.

At The Recovery Village Kansas City, we know how challenging it can be to overcome alcohol addiction. Our caring staff and state-of-the-art facilities provide those with addiction a great way to combat their addiction in a safe and comfortable environment effectively. Contact us today to learn how we can help you achieve lasting sobriety.


MedlinePlus. “Alcohol.” March 22, 2022. Accessed September 22, 2023.

Roberts, D. M. “Chronic gastritis, alcohol, and non-ulcer dyspepsia.” Gut, October, 1972. Accessed September 22, 2023.

Berry, Leonidas H. “Chronic Alcoholic Gastritis: Evaluation Of The Concept, With Gastroscopic Studies In One Hundred Cases.” JAMA, 1941. Accessed September 22, 2023.

National Cancer Institute. “What Is Stomach Cancer?” 2023. Accessed September 22, 2023.