How to cure stomach ache after drinking alcohol
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We all know that drinking alcohol causes a variety of side effects: from getting flushed, dizzy or even an upset stomach. Some symptoms appear right away but many only surface the following day during the dreaded hangover. In particular, having a stomach ache after drinking is hard to ignore.
Here’s everything you need to know on how to minimize this symptom the next time you’re out on the town.
What causes stomach ache after drinking alcohol?
Unfortunately, alcohol itself is what causes stomach aches, pains and overall discomfort. Alcohol typically contributes to irritating the stomach lining and creating too much acid in the stomach. These symptoms are often very hard to ignore and can put people off drinking alcohol altogether.
The only way to 100% avoid stomach aches from alcohol is to simply stop drinking alcohol. However, that’s not always helpful when you just want a few drinks with friends at the bar. So can anything be done?
How to cure stomach ache after drinking alcohol
If you still want to enjoy some alcohol but minimize the amount of stomach pain you experience the next day, there are a few options you can try.
1. Eat plain food (especially carbs)
The day after a night out, make sure to eat some plain food (especially plain carbs like toast or crackers). These bland foods can help settle your stomach without making it worse.
Most of us know all too well how tired you can feel the next time, both from sleeping badly but also from low blood sugar. In this instance, plain carbs can also help deal with low blood sugar from drinking and give you a bit of energy that alcohol usually depletes. However, make sure to eat slowly so as to not upset your stomach further.
Plain carb options can include foods like:
- Wholewheat toast
- Plain crackers
- Oats or oatmeal
2. Drink, drink, drink!
After a night out drinking, hydrating is a must. We all know that alcohol can leave us hungover and a large part of that is due to being dehydrated. Make sure to drink lots of water or you can opt for drinks that also replenish electrolytes like Gatorade or other sports drinks.
Another great option is drinking Pedialyte. While this drink is actually intended for dehydrated children, it provides even more sodium and potassium than Gatorade (with fewer calories).
You can also buy electrolyte tabs that you add to water which can greatly help with dehydration at a very low cost.
Either way, make sure to rehydrate as best you can.
3. Nauseous? Try carbonated drinks (with caution)
Alongside hydrating with water, you might want to consider carbonated drinks like ginger ale. However, there is a catch with fizzy drinks: they can help with nausea but can also make stomach pain after drinking alcohol worse. So be careful and decide what’s best for you.
Carbonated drinks can be helpful for reducing nausea and acid reflux, but can make stomach pain and indigestion more noticeable.
It’s also helpful to remember that sugar (especially those find in juice or pop) can help settle an upset stomach while you're hungover but could make the pain worse. It can really depend on your own situation and what you find works best for you.
4. Try some antacids
Antacids are an extremely common remedy for heartburn and indigestion, plus they can reduce nausea. Antacids are easily accessible and fast-acting, making them a helpful choice if you're experiencing an upset stomach from alcohol.
5. Use painkillers when needed (but choose wisely)
Many of us have turned to ibuprofen (Advil) or aspirin during a hangover, especially when you have a pounding alcohol-induced headache. However these medicines can actually irate your stomach further. If you find that alcohol upsets your stomach, try painkillers such as small doses of acetaminophen (Tylenol) instead of common choices like Advil.
6. Supplements like Sunset Forte
Supplements that help your body process alcohol quickly can also help minimize hangover symptoms felt the following day. Natural supplements like Sunset Forte help support the body metabolizing alcohol and its harmful byproducts. By doing so, you can actually reduce your hangover symptoms felt the following day.
When we drink alcohol, it takes real work for our body to break it down and eliminate it from our body. If this happens slowly, the built up by-products of alcohol can cause hangover symptoms the following day. These types of chemicals are toxic and it's not helpful having them in the body for any length of time.
By helping the body break down alcohol quickly, you can minimize your hangover symptoms, making it an easy choice when drinking.
7. Avoid trigger foods for acute gastritis
If you suffer from acute gastritis or are experiencing alcoholic gastritis symptoms, avoiding foods that trigger this reaction can be extremely helpful in reducing stomach pain. Alcohol is a trigger which can cause inflammation of the stomach lining which leads to pain and/or bloating. A few pointers for avoiding this reaction include:
- Stick to smaller meals that are easy to digest, along with avoiding lying down right after eating to help your body with digestion
- Avoid foods that are hard to digest, instead opting for options like rice, lean meats, veggies and potatoes
- Trigger foods vary for everyone, but it’s typically a good practice to avoid fatty, acidic or spicy foods (including alcohol and caffeine)
8. Avoid the "hair of the dog"
It's a pretty common saying that "the hair of the dog" helps with hangovers - as in, keep drinking some alcohol the next day to reduce your hangover.
Unfortunately, this is a common myth and it can prolong your hangover symptoms. Plus if you're someone who suffers from stomach aches, this can easily make it worse.
Rather than continuing drinking alcohol, make sure to check out these previous steps to reduce your hangover, especially any stomach aches caused by alcohol.
9. Visit your doctor if pain is long-lasting
As with anything that causes pain or discomfort, make sure to visit your doctor if you experience long-lasting pain, discomfort or issues with your digestive system. If your tummy hurts after drinking and you've already ruled out excessive alcohol consumption and the diet issues we've mentioned, give your doctor a call to rule out anything too negative.
What is acute gastritis?
Acute gastritis is a sudden swelling or inflammation of the stomach lining. This type of reaction only affects the stomach and is most commonly caused by ingesting irritants like non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), spicy food or alcohol.
Typically, the abdominal pain is temporary and sudden, whereas chronic gastritis comes on more slowly and lasts longer.
If alcoholic gastritis is something that you’ve experienced or your stomach hurts from drinking routinely, it’s helpful to avoid these trigger foods where possible.
Common hangover symptoms
Stomach aches are just one symptom of excessive alcohol consumption and hangovers, along with:
- Weakness or muscle aches
- Increased blood pressure
- Stomach pain
- Stomach ulcers
- Dizziness or the spins
While these steps are designed to ease stomach pain after drinking alcohol, they can also help with general hangover symptoms as well. Currently, there is no hangover cure but taking a few simple steps can help reduce your symptoms.
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