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Addiction and Substance Abuse

Alcoholism and stomach pain

01/06/2009

Question:

My boyfriend is an alcoholic, he has been drinking for approximately 15 years now. Last night he drank a large (though by no means unusual) quantity of sugary alcohol - flavored malt liquor and Disaronno. Today he has incredibly intense stomach pains. He describes them as if he has been stabbed, or someone has run him through with a piece of rebar. Lying on his side seems to ease the pain a bit. Can you let me know possible causes of this? He has no health insurance, so it will be difficult to convince him to visit the doctor.

Answer:

His abdominal pain could be from several causes related to his drinking and all of them are potentially serious. He could have alcohol gastritis, an ulcer, or pancreatitis just to mention a few. It would be wise for him to get help for his alcohol dependency and also have his stomach symptoms checked out ASAP as he could also be at risk for bleeding from his stomach. There is also a group called Al-Anon for those who care about alcoholics. You can usually find a phone number for Alcoholics Anonymous and Al-Anon on the first page of every phone book. Good luck.

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Response by:

Edna M Jones, MD, MRO Edna M Jones, MD, MRO
Former Clinical Assistant Professor of Family Medicine
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University