Does Alcohol Cause Gerd?

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Heavy alcohol consumption results in a number of serious health-related consequences. Regardless of the amount of alcohol you consume, drinking regularly will eventually begin to take a toll on your health. If you consume alcohol to excess you can expect to experience both short and long-term consequences. One of the most serious consequences of regular and excessive drinking is the eventual development of an alcohol use disorder.

At Guardian Recovery we understand that the impact of heavy drinking goes far beyond physical ramifications. Those who suffer from diagnosable alcohol addictions also experience severe mental, emotional, and spiritual repercussions. This is why we have created an effective, multi-staged alcohol addiction treatment program — one that addresses all implications of active addiction while helping clients lay a solid foundation on which to build new lives of recovery. If you or someone close to you has been affected by an inability to quit drinking, we are available to help. Contact us today to learn more about our alcohol addiction treatment program, or to begin your own personal journey of lasting recovery.

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Long-Term Effects of Excessive Alcohol Use

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, excessive alcohol consumption leads to a variety of serious health problems over time, from chronic disease to malnutrition. Examples of health problems directly linked to heavy drinking include:

  • High blood pressure. 
  • Heart disease. 
  • Liver disease (cirrhosis, fatty liver).
  • Gastrointestinal and digestive issues. 
  • Stroke. 
  • Certain types of cancer, including breast cancer and cancer of the mouth, throat, liver, and colon. 
  • Weakened immune system, which leads to increased frequency and severity of sickness. 
  • Issues related to cognitive functioning. 
  • Increased risk of dementia. 
  • Learning and memory problems. 
  • The development or worsening of mental health symptoms, including symptoms associated with anxiety and depression. 

The consequences associated with heavy drinking can affect all areas of life, from relationships with other people to performance at work, which can ultimately lead to job loss and subsequent financial strain. At Guardian Recovery we believe in treating the root causes of alcoholism while addressing the negative impacts of prolonged alcohol misuse. If a client comes to us with a serious, alcohol-related health concern, we will make sure they are receiving the professional medical care they need in order to make a full recovery. To learn more about our integrated and effective program of alcohol addiction recovery, contact us today. 

What is GERD

GERD, also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease or simply acid reflux, is a digestive disease in which bile or stomach acid flows into the food pipe and irritates the food pipe lining.

If you are experiencing acid reflux and heartburn more than twice a week, it might be an indication that you have been suffering from GERD. The most common symptoms of GERD include a burning pain in the chest and pain in the chest when lying down. Symptoms of this particular condition tend to worsen directly after eating. The American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology suggests, “Lifestyle changes to treat GERD include:

  •   Elevate the head of the bed 6-8 inches.
  •   Lose weight.
  •   Stop smoking.
  •   Decrease alcohol intake.
  •   Limit meal size and avoid heavy evening meals.
  •   Do not lie down within two to three hours of eating.
  •   Decrease caffeine intake.
  •   Avoid theophylline (if possible).”

One of the most common underlying causes of gastroesophageal reflux disease is excessive alcohol consumption. In many instances, associated symptoms resolve once a person maintains a prolonged period of sobriety. If you have been suffering from an alcohol use disorder you will likely find it impossible to quit on your own, regardless of how severe associated symptoms have become. Fortunately, we are available to help. Contact us directly to learn more about our alcohol addiction recovery program. 

How Alcohol Use Affects GERD

The National Library of Medicine states, “Alcohol is one of the most commonly abused drugs and one of the leading preventable causes of death worldwide. Heavy drinking puts people at a high risk for many adverse health events, potentially including GERD. Alcohol consumption may increase symptoms of GERD and cause damage to the esophageal mucosa. In many cases, symptoms of GERD can be controlled after withdrawal of alcoholic beverages. So patients with symptomatic GERD are frequently recommended to avoid alcohol consumption or to consume moderate amounts of alcohol.” If you or someone you love has been struggling with an alcohol use disorder and GERD, the most effective way to regain comprehensive health is to commit to a longer term treatment program. 

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Alcohol Causes Irritation and Direct Damage

How exactly does excessive alcohol consumption lead to the development of GERD? When you consume alcohol, it travels down your esophagus into your stomach, where it sits for an indefinite amount of time. Even one episode of heavy drinking can severely damage mucous membranes in the stomach, which can lead to inflammation and lesions. The acidity of alcohol itself eats away at the stomach lining over time, leading to ongoing pain and discomfort. Repetitive exposure to alcohol can cause direct damage to the esophagus and stomach lining, which might eventually result in symptoms associated with GERD.

Alcohol and Impaired Functioning of the Lower Esophageal Sphincter (LES)

The same article published by the National Library of Medicine states, “Excessive alcohol consumption has been associated with the development of GERD through abnormalities of the pressure of LES and esophageal motility. Ferdinandis et al. studied the association between esophageal motor activity and chronic alcoholism. Twenty four-hour pH-metry and ambulatory esophageal manometry were performed with a combined pH and pressure catheter in alcoholic subjects and controls. Results of the study show that hypertension of the LES was observed in alcoholic subjects with alcoholic autonomic neuropathy. The effects on the LES may partially be caused by a disturbance in the function of the autonomic nervous system.” This is only one of numerous studies conducted on the link between heavy alcohol consumption and LES functioning.

 Alcohol and Worsened Barrett’s Esophagus Symptoms

An article published by the National Library of Medicine states, “Esophageal adenocarcinoma (EAC) has acquired an increasing amount of interest during recent years. Most EAC cases arise in the setting of a detectable preneoplastic lesion known as Barrett’s esophagus (BE). It has become well established that gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a common and strong risk factor (i.e., with a large attributable fraction) for both BE and EAC. However, given that GERD symptoms are very common, and that only 5-10% of patients with GERD symptoms develop BE and only a small fraction of those ever develop EAC, there is great interest in additional or modifying risk factors for BE and EAC.” That is to say, your risk of developing BE symptoms or sustaining worsened symptoms increases significantly with heavy alcohol consumption

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Can I Drink Alcohol With GERD?

Drinking alcohol when you have been diagnosed with GERD or any related issue will almost always lead to a worsening of existing symptoms. If you have been advised to stop drinking alcohol by a medical professional and you have had a difficult time quitting or cutting back on your own, some degree of treatment might be necessary. The best treatment option for you depends on your unique case. While inpatient treatment is generally recommended for those who have been suffering from a moderate or severe alcohol use disorder, a lower level of care might be recommended for those struggling with a mild alcohol use disorder and no underlying or co-occurring issues. Contact us today to learn more.

If you or someone you love has been struggling with an alcohol use disorder of any severity, Guardian Recovery is available to help. We offer an effective and individualized treatment program that addresses the consequences of alcohol misuse and dependence on a physical, emotional and psychological level. As soon as you make the decision to reach out for help, you will be put in touch with an experienced Treatment Advisor who will walk you through our simple, straightforward admissions process. We begin by conducting a brief pre-assessment to ensure our recovery program is a good fit. If we believe you would benefit more from a different level of care, we will point you in the right direction. Our main priority is ensuring you receive the help you need in a timely manner. We look forward to speaking with you soon and helping you begin your own personal journey of alcohol addiction recovery.


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Disclaimer: Does not guarantee specific treatment outcomes, as individual results may vary. Our services are not a substitute for professional medical advice or diagnosis; please consult a qualified healthcare provider for such matters.


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Reviewed professionally for accuracy by:

Ryan Soave


Ryan Soave brings deep experience as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, certified trauma therapist, program developer, and research consultant for Huberman Lab at Stanford University Department of Neurobiology. Post-graduation from Wake Forest University, Ryan quickly discovered his acumen for the business world. After almost a decade of successful entrepreneurship and world traveling, he encountered a wave of personal and spiritual challenges; he felt a calling for something more. Ryan returned to school and completed his Master’s Degree in Mental Health Counseling. When he started working with those suffering from addiction and PTSD, he found his passion. He has never looked back.

Written by:

Cayla Clark

Cayla Clark

Cayla Clark grew up in Santa Barbara, CA and graduated from UCLA with a degree in playwriting. Since then she has been writing on addiction recovery and psychology full-time, and has found a home as part of the Guardian Recovery team.

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