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Vomiting Blood After Drinking

What does blood in vomit post alcohol consumption mean? Is it dangerous? Should you be scared? Read ahead to find out.
Ishani Chatterjee Shukla
Last Updated: Apr 9, 2018
The phenomenon of throwing up blood after drinking can often be seen after a night of heavy alcohol consumption or sudden increased alcohol intake by someone who is not habitual to alcohol consumption. Throwing up blood after drinking alcohol is quite an alarming occurrence for the person who experiences it. Most of the time, especially in case of first-time-drinkers, it drives in the much-needed aversion towards heavy drinking in people who have experienced puking blood after a night of excessive alcoholic indulgence. Blood in vomit should act as a warning sign for those who consume too much alcohol or are bordering on alcoholism. Ask anyone who has vomited blood after drinking and he'll tell you that it was an extremely unpleasant experience - both physiologically as well as psychologically. How does alcohol cause blood to be present in the vomit? Let's find out.
Causes of Vomiting Blood Post Drinking
Let us take a look at the most common reasons that lead to gastrointestinal bleeding:-
  • Experiencing excessive vomiting for a prolonged period leads to tearing of minor blood vessels located in the throat or esophagus
  • Bleeding of any ulcer present in either stomach, esophagus or duodenum
  • Malformation of blood vessels in the gastrointestinal tract
  • Bleeding of stomach or esophageal tumors
  • Blood ingested from a nosebleed
  • Gastritis or esophagitis
  • Gastroenteritis
Most alcohols have an acidic pH value. I say "most" because the hydroxyl content in ethanol (pure alcohol) is slightly basic. However, the base property is so slight that it has an almost neutral PH, similar to water. Beer, wine and all distilled alcohols are moderately acidic owing to the fermentation process which they undergo. Since acids are corrosive, excess consumption of alcohol irritates the gastrointestinal tract, which is composed of the mouth, pharynx, esophagus, stomach and small intestine. Such irritation for a prolonged time often results in erosion of the esophageal lining, rupture of the blood vessels along the gastrointestinal tract, bleeding ulcers along the tract, etc.
It must be noted here that the most common occurrence of regurgitation of blood happens due to irritation or bleeding in the upper portion of the gastrointestinal tract. Chronic drinkers often suffer from acid indigestion and acid reflux disease, leading to gastritis, stomach ulcers or corrosion of the stomach lining. This can also lead to bleeding in the gastrointestinal tract. Throwing up after excess alcohol consumption can also be one of the earlier signs of possible alcohol poisoning, necessitating you to seek an alcohol detox program if you've been drinking for a long time.
The chief reason for the presence of blood in vomit is bleeding in the gastrointestinal tract. Excessive consumption of alcohol, whether over a long period or in a short time (binge-drinking spree) puts stress on the gastrointestinal tract, often irritating it and corroding its protective lining owing to the high acid content of alcohol. Short-time binging, which induces vigorous and repeated vomiting, may manifest as vomiting blood after drinking alcohol by tearing the tissues and small blood vessels of the throat and esophagus.
Long-time or chronic alcohol abuse leads to the presence of blood in vomit due to other serious conditions like ulcer, chronic acidity, gastroenteritis, etc. due to long-term and regular exposure of the gastrointestinal tract to alcohol. For such cases, it is wise to seek treatment and go for rehab to get rid of alcohol addiction and start afresh on the lines of health, vitality and happiness.