We Have Beds Available! Call for Same Day Admission.855-722-6926
We Have Beds Available! Call For Same Day Admission. 855-722-6926

Why Does Alcohol Make You Bloated?

Why Does Alcohol Make You Bloated?

Have you ever noticed any puffiness in your face or body after a night of drinking?

Well, this is alcohol bloating. Bloating or swelling after drinking alcohol is a common side effect. This is where the term “beer belly” comes from. Alcohol stomach bloating is a typical sign that a person drinks heavily. While swelling after a long night of binge drinking can cause some temporary swelling, alcohol’s dense and heavy calories can lead to a build-up of stubborn fat around the midsection. But why does alcohol make you bloated?

Alcohol Bloating: Why Does It Happen?

So, why does alcohol make you bloated? While various factors come into play, alcohol-induced bloating is usually caused by the empty calories and carbs in alcoholic drinks. Cocktails and other similar drinks also contain large amounts of sugar, which can also contribute to weight gain.

Depending on what you order, just one drink can contain 50 to several hundred calories and just as many grams of sugar. Alcohol is an inflammatory substance, which is why you may have experienced bloating after drinking alcohol, even if it is just one night of drinking.

This inflammation is made worse by things mixed with alcohol, such as sugary and carbonated drinks, syrups, sweeteners, and flavoring. This combination can easily result in gas, discomfort, and even facial swelling. If you’ve ever experienced face swelling due to alcohol, you may have also noticed some redness. Both the swelling and the redness are caused by dehydration which happens from consuming alcohol.

When you’re dehydrated, your skin and organs try to hold onto as much water as possible. This causes water retention, which can make you look puffy or swollen.

How Long Does Alcohol Bloating Last?

How long alcohol bloating lasts depends on the amount of alcohol consumed and how dehydrated the person is. Usually, the easiest way to manage or prevent bloating caused by alcohol is to drink a glass of water between alcoholic drinks.

However, it is safe to say that bloating caused by drinking alcohol may last for a few days. The less hydrated you are and the more alcohol you drink, the more severe and long-lasting these symptoms are.

You should also keep in mind that any preexisting conditions, such as chronic gastritis or Crohn’s disease, can contribute to bloating from drinking. Symptoms of these conditions can last for months or years.

If you gain weight from drinking alcohol and wish to lose it, the duration of this process depends on how much weight you have gained, whether you keep drinking, your diet, and how frequently you exercise or engage in physical activity. While some people can lose a noticeable amount of weight or lose their alcohol belly altogether within a few weeks – and reduce their bloating – this is not the case for everyone.

How to Get Rid of Alcohol Bloat

Alcohol bloating can be treated with antibiotics by targeting the H. pylori infection, a bacterium that commonly grows in the digestive tract, stomach, or duodenum. If you’re seeking medication, you should always go to your primary physician for any medication. Plus, your doctor can do a breathing test to see if you have an H. pylori infection in your body.

A doctor may also prescribe medications to protect the stomach lining and improve gut health. Usually, stomach acid can damage the stomach lining. Stomach acid often comes from alcohol-induced acid reflux and heartburn.

Antacids like Alka-Seltzer, H2 blockers like Pepcid AC, and proton pump inhibitors like Protonix and Nexium can also help reduce the harm caused by the build-up of stomach acid and reduce bloating. Lifestyle changes may also need to be made to promote weight loss, including reducing your alcohol consumption or cutting it out completely.

Managing Facial Swelling From Alcohol

Drinking alcohol in moderation and maintaining hydration are two of the most efficient approaches for treating face edema brought on by alcohol use. Alcohol is a diuretic, which means it causes more pee to be produced and can cause dehydration. Dehydration alters the body's fluid balance, which can lead to facial edema. Before, during, and after ingesting alcohol, you may help maintain hydration levels and lessen the possibility of facial edema by drinking plenty of water. Additionally, consuming alcohol in moderation might lessen its overall negative effects on the body, including face edema.

Additionally, Certain factors can exacerbate facial swelling when combined with alcohol consumption. Alcohol, for instance, can widen blood vessels and increase blood flow, which can result in facial flushing and swelling. Other triggers, such as spicy meals or allergies, should be avoided to lessen the likelihood of facial swelling developing or getting worse. It is advised to speak with a healthcare provider for a more thorough assessment and direction if facial swelling persists or is accompanied by other unsettling symptoms.

Other Consequences of Binge Drinking

Heavy alcohol consumption leads to bloating and can result in other consequences to a person’s physical health and well-being.

Other negative effects of binge drinking can include:

  • Liver damage: Alcohol metabolism in the body is done by the liver. Alcohol abuse that is excessive and sustained can cause the liver to become inflamed, scarred, and perhaps permanently damaged. The functioning of the liver may be hampered by illnesses, including alcoholic hepatitis, alcoholic fatty liver disease, and, ultimately, cirrhosis.
  • Stomach lining damage: Alcohol causes the stomach's lining to become irritated, which increases the likelihood of developing gastritis, ulcers, and gastrointestinal bleeding. This alcohol stomach lining damage can eventually lead to alcoholic gastritis, a disorder that causes nausea, vomiting, and stomach pain.
  • Impaired cognitive function: The central nervous system, which includes the brain, is severely impacted by alcohol. In addition to disrupting cognitive functions like attention, concentration, and problem-solving, binge drinking raises the possibility of dementia and long-term cognitive deterioration.
  • Heightened risk of injury: Alcohol affects judgment, reaction time, and coordination, which increases the risk of accidents and injury. A heavy drinker may experience burns, drownings, vehicle accidents, falls, and various other types of trauma that can cause serious physical harm or even death.
  • Weakened immune system: Due to impaired immune function caused by alcohol, people are more prone to infections, diseases, and slower healing. The body's defenses against microorganisms are weakened by binge drinking, which raises the risk of respiratory infections, pneumonia, and other infectious disorders.
  • Cardiovascular damage: Excessive alcohol consumption can raise the risk of stroke and heart attack, as well as high blood pressure, irregular heartbeats, cardiomyopathy, and other cardiovascular conditions. Alcoholic cardiomyopathy, a disorder defined by the degeneration of the heart muscle, can develop from prolonged heavy drinking.

Alcohol also has a high potential for abuse, and long-term heavy drinking often leads to addiction. Swelling may be a sign of alcohol abuse and a more severe problem caused by heavy drinking. If you notice that you are always swollen after drinking, consider how much alcohol you’re consuming in one period.

Does Wine Make You Gassy?

Yes, wine can absolutely make a person gassy. This is typically caused by the production of carbon dioxide through the fermentation process. As yeast consumes the sugars of grapes and converts them to alcohol, carbon dioxide is released as a result. This release is what causes bloating in some people. Another contributing factor is the inclusion of fructose or natural sugars. These may be difficult for a person to digest, resulting in increased gas production.

Additionally, tannins, which can be found in the seeds, skins, and stems of grapes, can agitate the digestive tract, heightening levels of gas production and bloating in some people. Finally, the alcohol itself can further aggravate stomach problems. Alcohol can cause the digestion process to take longer, which can cause gas to build up in the digestive tract.

It's important to remember, though, that not everyone who drinks wine feels bloated or gassy afterward. Individual tolerance to specific wine components might vary substantially. The risk of experiencing gas after consuming wine might also depend on a variety of variables, including the type and quality of wine, one's digestive health, and general dietary habits. You may find out if wine causes you gas and make informed decisions based on your own experiences by drinking wine in moderation and paying attention to how your body responds to various types of wine.

Help for Alcohol Abuse

If you’ve gotten to the point where you’re unable to control your drinking, then it’s time to get help. Our Banyan Texas rehab offers alcohol detox and addiction treatment to assist patients in their physical and psychological recovery from addiction.

Once they’ve received medical treatment for their withdrawal symptoms, patients can then move on to our residential treatment program for one-on-one therapy options with our counselors. With the use of 12-step programs and other modalities, our rehab in Texas can identify the source of our patient’s conditions and teach them how to sustain their sobriety.

Whether you’re struggling with alcoholism or drug addiction, our specialists are here to help. Call Banyan Treatment Centers Texas today at 888-280-4763 to learn about our drug and alcohol treatment options.

Related Readings:

What Alcohol Does to Your Skin

The Effects of Alcohol on Muscles & Joints

Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa is the National Director of Digital Marketing and is responsible for a multitude of integrated campaigns and events in the behavioral health and addictions field. All articles have been written by Alyssa and medically reviewed by our Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Darrin Mangiacarne.