Low to moderate quantities of alcohol initiate the secretion of large amounts of stomach juices (hydrochloric acid and the enzyme pepsin), which then begin digesting proteins. On the other hand, alcohol in higher quantities inhibits stomach juice secretions.
Complications of chronic alcohol intake
Gastric mucosal injury
Damaged stomach muscles
- Characterized by the formation of bleeding gastric lesions which may destroy parts of the mucosa
- A single bout of heavy drinking can spark off inflammation of the gastric lining
Impaired intestinal motility (speed at which food passes through the stomach)
- Decreased ability of stomach muscles to contract smoothly
- Chronic alcohol intake may cause increase in propulsive contractions often leading to diarrhea
- Delayed emptying of stomach
- Leads to bacterial degradation of food; production of gas in the stomach
- Feeling of fullness; abdominal discomfort
- Loss of appetite
- Possible malnutrition
- Ulcer formation on mucous membrane cells
One Unit of Alcohol
- One unit of alcohol is 10 millilitres (ml) or eight grams (g) of pure alcohol.
- One unit is equal to a measure of spirits that is whiskey, vodka, etc. (30 ml), half a pint of beer whether lager or cider (250 ml), or a small glass of wine (125 ml).
- Do not drink more than three units of alcohol in a single day on a regular basis (no more than 21 units in a week at the higher end).
- After an episode of heavy drinking, it is advisable to stop drinking for 48 hours to allow your body to recover.