Bloated Stomach After Drinking Alcohol? Alcohol And Your Stomach Discussed

In general, your stomach can be bloated for many reasons, but when the reason for that bloatedness is excessive drinking of alcohol then it can be more challenging to manage. For most long-term alcohol users, having a bloated stomach is a common, annoying problem.

alcohol bloat

Having a bloated belly changes the shape of your abdomen and affects digestion – ultimately where what and how we are getting nutrients to our body – the things that keep us alive and make up our entire physical presence!

This is why it is so important to understand the reasons for stomach bloating with alcohol, what has caused it, how it can be treated, and how to avoid it in the future.

We have put together this blog post to discuss ‘belly bloating’ after excessive or chronic drinking.

Alcohol and Stomach Bloating – the effects excessive drinking can have on the stomach.

A bloated stomach after drinking alcohol is often due to Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). IBS can damage the intestines in the stomach and will show wth symptoms of pain and discomfort in the stomach.

People who are diagnosed with IBS often suffer with constipation and diarrea. During my own personal days of heavy drinking, as well as experiencing a bloated stomach, I also suffered with these symtons – with the fear of being ‘too vulgar’ – my own personal toileting experiences were often incomfortable, sore or extremely uncomfortable at best. Not every time, but as my chronic drinking journey continued, the visits to the toilet definitely worsened.

The actual symptoms that I was having, they could have been put down to other reasons and people do suffer with IBS for various life-factors, but one of the strongerst factors that can flare up IBS is consuming alcohol.

When we drink alcohol to any extent, this can cause irritation in the abdominal region, and this is what causes bloating of the stomach.

Having a bloated belly changes the shape of your abdomen and affects digestion – ultimately where what and how we are getting nutrients to our body – the things that keep us alive and make up our entire physical presence!

This is why it is so important to understand the reasons for stomach bloating with alcohol, what has caused it, how it can be treated, and how to avoid it in the future.

Bloating can often be due to irritible bowel syndrome. The National Library of Medicine state that IBS affects between 3 and 20 percent of Americans, for a variety of reasons – and bloating is a common effect of IBS. The disorder can cause damage to the inside of the stomach – specifically the intestines, which damage causes pain and discomfort in the stomach. Common symptoms are constipation and diarrhea – something that I have had many times over the 2 decades of heavy drinking.


With any chronic symptoms, they often come on slowly, then become more and more noticeable. As a drinker, I sort of passed these symptoms off and ignored them. They then got worse, but I was already used to negative effects on my body. As with any other symptom of hammering alcohol, had I woken up one day with these symptoms full-blown, then it would have worried me no-doubt. But as we do as humans, we normalise ‘early warning signs’ For me, a bloated stomach and toilting problems just became hand in hand with a day or night of heavy beer.
Throwing all of this alcohol down your throat and into your stomach irritates and inflames your intestines – and this is the reason for bloating after drinking alcohol.

To really get to grips with why your stomach bloats, you have to understand how alcohol works within your body, specifically your stomach and your overall GI tract take a look here.

So let’s break this down.


When a person uses alcohol to excess, there are a few things to take into consideration with regard to overall gut health.
Drinking is a toxin. Alcohol, no matter how tasty or pretty it is packaged, is a poison to your body, there is no denying that! With this, the poison causes damage to the lining of your stomach, called mucous membrane), and also inflames the area.
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The infoluntary muscle, or smooth muscle, is different from ‘striated’ muscle. Smooth muscle contracts automatically and this makes up most of the digestive system. These muscles rely on sphincters in the stomach to control what goes in the stomach. Alcohol itself affects acid secretion, which controls the sphincters. The stronger the alcohol, the more acid the stomach will secrete. Alcohol makes these muscles relax and dilate. To put it clearly, the stronger the alcohol you consume, the more your stomach struggles and the less it will be able to function properly.
For a further insight into what alcohol does to your digestive tract, you can read what the Colonic Association have to say on the matter here – http://www.colonic-association.org/blog/advice/booze-and-poos-what-alcohol-does-to-your-digestive-system/

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