How to Stop Vomiting After Drinking Alcohol
Vomiting after drinking alcohol is a common occurrence. When you drink a lot of alcohol, you’ll experience a lot of hangover symptoms, and this includes throwing up. The reason why you throw up after drinking alcohol is that that is the way your body responds to the numerous toxins that are present in alcohol.
While vomiting may be awful, the health effects from the many toxins can cause severe damage to your system. The best you can do is to allow your body to respond naturally to these toxins while taking measures to prevent complications like dehydration. This article will explain what causes vomiting after drinking, and how to stop throwing up after drinking alcohol.
What is the best way to stop vomiting after drinking?
When you throw up, it means that your body is getting rid of toxins – alcohol in this case. Instead of holding in the vomiting, it is best that you release it. You’ll feel much better after getting rid of the alcohol in your system.
Here are some ways to reduce the nauseous feeling and side effects from throwing up:
- Rehydrate by sipping a small number of clear liquids. You should do this at least half an hour after you last threw up. Clear liquids, in this case, include Pedialyte, water, Gatorade, and even Powerade. You’ll also benefit from low sugar ginger ale.
- Get a lot of rest. There’s no need to overworking yourself after drinking a lot of alcohol. You will feel better by sleeping it off.
- Do not attempt drinking more just to feel better. Allow your body and stomach to rest and don’t drink again after vomiting.
- Ibuprofen can help to relieve pain. Why most doctors recommend ibuprofen over acetaminophen is because, at this time, your liver is busy metabolizing the alcohol, and so will be too busy to break down acetaminophen. But that said, ibuprofen causes stomach upset in some people, so you are better off taking it with small bites of food.
- Up your energy levels by taking small bites of crackers, applesauce, toast, and other bland foods. You should wait for some time after you’ve vomited before eating so that you will not trigger the vomiting reflex again.
Should you force yourself to vomit after drinking alcohol the whole night?
Did you notice something? In the section above, I intentionally refused to suggest inducing vomiting after a night of drinking.
Many people may recommend this approach but the fact is, it is dangerous. Forcing yourself to throw up can strain your esophagus. This will increase the risk of having small tears that can cause damage to the esophagus, thus resulting in bleeding.
Also, when you induce vomiting, you increase your risk for acid reflux, aspiration, and damage to the teeth. Aspiration occurs when contents from your stomach accidentally cross you’re your lungs.
If you feel nauseous, it’s best that you allow the vomit to come out naturally. There will be less retching and your risk for health problems that accompany intentional vomiting will reduce.
Complications of vomiting after drinking alcohol
Vomiting after drinking can cause an awful feeling. Alongside nausea and vomiting, you may experience other hangover symptoms like a headache and aches in your body.
The most significant complication of throwing up after drinking is dehydration. Dehydration affects your body’s physiology. It can even cause damage to your kidneys. Sipping some clear fluid periodically can prevent the occurrence of dehydration.
Other complications, which rarely occur include:
- Damage to the esophageal or stomach lining
- Gastrointestinal bleeding due to tears or irritation of the lining of the esophagus.
- The vomit may be aspirated into the lungs, leading to pneumonia. Learn more about aspiration pneumonia.
These complications will not occur after one night of drinking, but only if you are a habitual drinker.
Why do you throw up after drinking alcohol?
You see, vomiting is one of your body’s protective reflexes. In this case, it protects your body against toxins. When you consume alcohol, your body metabolizes it into acetaldehyde.
Your body is unable to keep up
If you drink moderately, the acetaldehyde will be neutralized by your liver. Acetaldehyde is neutralized together with glutathione. Both compounds are metabolized by your body and you’ll be fine.
However, when you drink alcohol in excess, your liver will have trouble making enough glutathione to keep up with your drink. Eventually, your body will get the signal that there’s just too much alcohol in you and will not be able to keep up with the amount of acetaldehyde, and so it gets rid of it in another way – VOMITING!!!
Alcohol irritates the lining of your stomach
Other factors come into play after a night of alcohol binging. Too much alcohol causes irritation of your stomach’s lining (due to the accumulation of acetaldehyde). This causes accumulation of acid that gives you that nauseous feeling.
Chronic alcoholism causes gastritis
People who take a lot of alcohol are at great risk of alcohol gastritis. Alcohol gastritis is a condition characterized by irritation of the stomach lining and its eventual damage.
Patients of alcohol gastritis frequently experience abdominal concerns such as nausea, ulcers, and acid reflux. Alcoholism interferes with nutrient absorption and is linked to diabetes, cancer, cirrhosis, pancreatitis, and more.
When should you contact your doctor?
In some cases, vomiting after drinking alcohol may call for a doctor’s visit.
Call the attention of your doctor if you:
- Have vomited continuously for over 24 hours
- Cannot retain fluids or food
- Experience signs of dehydration such as dark urine, an inability to urinate for some time, or dizziness.
- There’s blood in your vomit
- Difficulty in breathing
- Your body temperature exceeds 101.5°F
Dehydration causes a number of health-related disorders. This explains why you must seek medical treatment if you experience symptoms of dehydration.
Important points to note
Hangover symptoms usually resolve within 24 hours. If you vomit after drinking, it is best to let your stomach upset run its course.
Taking preventive steps to arrest dehydration can help you feel better once the toxins are flushed out of your system. If the vomiting doesn’t resolve, or you begin experiencing symptoms of dehydration, seek medical care.
Tonika Bruce, MSN, RN, MBA. is an accomplished nurse leader, published author, and personal development expert passionate about advancing healthcare management and quality patient outcomes.
She taps into the years of experience in healthcare management to produce credible and easy-to-understand health and leadership content. Her exceptional work has been featured in reputable publications, including Forbes, Recruiter, Inc, and the Color of Wellness magazine.