Drinking alcohol may lead to inflammation and irritation in the stomach which results in bloating. It may last a few days but can last longer. Alcohol can also cause weight gain, giving the appearance of bloating.

Bloating after drinking alcohol can result from gastritis — an inflammatory condition that affects the stomach — or gas. Regular alcohol consumption can also lead to weight gain, which may feel like bloating.

Lifestyle changes, medications — or both — can help manage bloating or reduce alcohol-related weight gain.

In this article, we describe how alcohol can cause a bloated appearance in the stomach. We also look into how long alcohol-related bloating lasts and how to get rid of it.

alcohol, which can lead to bloatingShare on Pinterest
The Good Brigade/Getty Images

Abdominal bloating after drinking alcohol may be due to gastritis. The main characteristic of gastritis is inflammation in the lining of the stomach.

Alcohol increases the risk of gastritis by raising acid levels in the stomach. At first, it may cause inflammation and stomach pain. Persistent high alcohol consumption, however, increases the risk of chronic gastritis, which involves stomach ulcers.

Gastritis can also cause:

Gastritis can be erosive, allowing stomach acid to damage the stomach lining. This can lead to the development of stomach ulcers, or peptic ulcers, which can become severe without the right treatment.

Other types of gastritis are non-erosive and do not lead to peptic ulcers.

Learn more here about gastritis symptoms

Some beverages and drink ingredients can cause bloating.

They include:

  • beers
  • ciders
  • sodas and juices, used as mixers
  • sparkling wine
  • ciders
  • sugar alcohols, such as sorbitol, often used as artificial sweeteners

Eating food while drinking can help slow the absorption of alcohol, but some foods can also increase the risk of bloating, including fatty foods.

Which foods and drinks can cause bloating?

Weight gain can also result from drinking alcohol. It can increase the size of the abdomen, but it is different from bloating.

Alcoholic drinks are typically high in calories.

For example:

  • One regular beer weighing 12 fluid ounces contains 153 calories.
  • A glass of wine — at 5 fluid ounces — contains 125 calories.
  • A single serving of distilled liquor measuring 1.5 fluid ounces typically contains 90–100 calories.

Mixing a drink with sodas or sweetened juices can also add calories. Consuming several alcoholic drinks can lead to a high calorie intake, and this can result in weight gain.

How can alcohol affect weight management?

The duration of alcohol bloating will depend on its cause and the individual.

Acute gastritis lasts only a short period. Symptoms usually appear quickly and often disappear after a few days.

If it develops into chronic gastritis, however, symptoms may last for months or years. The symptoms are less noticeable than with acute gastritis, and they appear more slowly.

A doctor may prescribe medications to protect the stomach lining from damage due to high levels of stomach acid.

Examples include:

  • Antacids: These help reduce the harm from stomach acid. Examples include Rolaids and Alka-Seltzer.
  • H2 blockers: These decrease the production of stomach acid and include Pepcid AC.
  • Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs): PPIs, such as Protonix and Nexium, reduce the production of stomach acid.

Reducing alcohol consumption can also help manage weight, along with a balanced diet and regular exercise.

What are some home remedies for gastritis?

Here are some questions people often ask about alcohol bloating.

Why does alcohol cause bloating?

Consuming alcohol can lead to high levels of stomach acid. This can inflame the stomach lining, leading to irritation and bloating that can last a few days. Some alcoholic drinks, such as beer, can also cause boating due to gas.

How can you get rid of alcohol bloating?

Reducing alcohol intake is a first step. If you have discomfort due to occasional alcohol bloating, over-the-counter antacids, such as Alka Seltzer, may help settle the stomach. People with chronic gastritis will probably need long-term treatment that a doctor can prescribe.

How long does it take for alcohol bloating to go away?

Alcohol bloating due to acute gastritis usually disappears within a few days, but chronic gastritis symptoms can last months or even years.

Alcohol bloating can happen when a high alcohol intake causes stomach acid levels to rise. This can lead to inflammation and irritation of the stomach lining, knowns as acute gastritis. In the longer term, alcohol consumption can contribute to chronic gastritis, where persistently high levels of stomach acid cause stomach ulcers to develop.

Alcohol can also cause weight gain, which can resemble bloating. This weight gain stems from the high number of calories in many alcoholic drinks.

Drinking no more than one drink per day for females and two for males can help prevent bloating and other problems relating to alcohol use. Anyone with a history of gastritis may wish to speak with a doctor about whether alcohol is suitable for them to consume.