Throwing up blood after drinking alcohol can have various causes, some of which are less problematic than others. Small amounts of blood may not be a cause for alarm, but anyone throwing up more significant quantities of blood or experiencing other concerning symptoms should seek medical attention. See a doctor immediately if you faint or feel lightheaded after standing up, have vomited a large amount of blood or having repeated episodes of vomiting blood, develop nausea or belly pain, or also see blood in your stool.
Potential Causes of Throwing up Blood
In some instances, moderate amounts of blood in vomit may be a sign of some throat irritation. There are a few factors that may be responsible for this. First, alcohol itself tends to dry out the throat as an individual consumes it. In turn, the throat can be more easily irritated when it is dry, and the act of dry heaving or vomiting is definitely very irritating to the throat.
In addition, the contents of the vomit, such as stomach acid, may irritate or burn the throat tissue. All in all, this can cause a person to have a rough, sore throat that is more susceptible to bleeding.
Gastritis and Gastropathy
Gastritis is characterized by inflammation of the stomach lining, and gastropathy occurs when there is damage but no inflammation currently present. Drinking alcohol may cause gastropathy, as the alcohol may irritate or damage the stomach lining.
Bleeding will probably not be the only symptom that a person with gastritis or gastropathy experiences. Other possible symptoms include the following:
- Nausea and stomach pain
- Feeling full quicker than usual
- Loss of appetite
A peptic ulcer is a lesion in the mucosa (lining) of the digestive tract, usually in the stomach or duodenum (the first part of the small intestine) caused by the digestive action of stomach acid and pepsin. A single episode of drinking may not be likely to induce a peptic ulcer, but regular drinking can be a risk factor for harm to the stomach that could lead to ulcers.
An individual with an ulcer may experience other symptoms in addition to bleeding, including the following:
- Nausea and stomach pain
Peptic ulcers can penetrate the GI lining and induce bleeding, which could be the reason for throwing up blood after drinking. Even regular drinkers might be at higher risk regardless of the amount of alcohol they drink per session.
Gastrointestinal (GI) Bleeding
Throwing up a lot of blood could signify more severe GI bleeding somewhere along the digestive tract, which will require medical attention. Vomiting a lot of fresh blood likely indicates active bleeding, and the person should seek immediate medical attention.
Other concerning symptoms of internal bleeding include:
- Impaired focus
- Dizziness and fainting
- Blurry vision
- Rapid or shallow breathing
Varices (Swollen Veins)
Varices are swollen or enlarged veins in the intestinal tract or stomach. These may appear after trauma or when something like scar tissue blocks blood flow to the veins. Alcoholic liver disease may be a risk factor, as an excessive drinker may be more susceptible to damage and scar tissue within the gastrointestinal tract. This damage can result in varices, which may bleed.
Research has shown that about one-half of people with cirrhosis also have these varices. Their presence becomes more likely as the intensity of the disease increases. Anyone experiencing symptoms of bleeding varices should seek medical attention as soon as possible.
Damaged and bleeding varices can cause symptoms including the following:
- Vomiting large amounts of blood
- Vomit like coffee grounds
- Black or bloody stool
Alcohol-Related Liver Disease
Alcohol abuse is a risk factor for liver damage and disease, especially with chronic and excessive use. An alcoholic who drinks alcohol regularly increases an their risk for developing liver disease, including fatty liver, cirrhosis, and alcoholic hepatitis. This condition can also result in complications that cause many symptoms, such as the following:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Blood in vomit
- Weight loss
- Yellowing of the skin (jaundice)
- Severe thirst
- Bloody, tarry, black stools
Alcohol-related liver conditions may also be a risk factor for other health complications, such as ulcers or varices.
Getting Help for Alcohol Addiction
Just Believe Detox and Just Believe Recovery offer individualized treatment programs developed by highly skilled medical and mental health staff dedicated to providing those we treat with the very best care and support possible. Methodologies and therapeutic services we offer include the following:
- Medical detox
- Relapse prevention
- Group support
- Addiction education
- Health and wellness education
- Mindful meditation
- Co-occurring disorders treatment
- Music and art therapy
- Aftercare planning
- Alumni events