Stomach and liver diseases

Stomach lining

Excessive alcohol consumption can inflame the stomach lining. You may experience bloating, belching, stomach pain and heartburn.

Liver diseases

Alcohol is broken down by the liver. Because alcohol is a toxic substance, it will always be the first in line to be metabolized by the liver. Excessive alcohol consumption can damage the liver.

Fatty liver

Excessive alcohol consumption interferes with liver functioning and can lead to a build-up of fat in the liver (fatty liver) and blood, which can cause the liver to swell. This can already happen after a few days of heavy drinking and is accompanied by pain, poor appetite, nausea and vomiting, and sometimes jaundice. Fat accumulation can damage liver cells and lead to cell death. When you stop drinking the liver can, depending on the damage, recover after a few weeks.

Alcoholic hepatitis and Liver cirrhosis

In addition to a fatty liver, alcohol can also cause two other liver diseases: alcohol hepatitis and liver cirrhosis. Alcoholic hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver that can make you seriously ill with severe abdominal pain, fever, poor appetite and jaundice. Alcoholic hepatitis is a serious disease with potentially fatal consequences and additionally it can be a precursor to liver cirrhosis. Cirrhosis is a severe condition in which liver cells die and are replaced by connective tissue. Blood vessels running  through the liver are narrowed which severely impairs liver function. The liver shrivels and shrinks. Liver cirrhosis is irreversible, however it can become stable when you stop drinking alcohol. When the liver can no longer detoxify your blood, metabolites may end up in the brain and cause drowsiness, confusion and coma, ultimately resulting in death.