Why Do You Throw Up After Drinking?

Drinking excessive amount of alcohol is commonly associated with vomiting. Contrary to the popular belief, throwing up after drinking will not sober you up, as the absorption of alcohol into the blood stream is very fast. Actually, vomiting after drinking should be taken seriously as it can be an indication of a more serious condition called alcohol poisoning.

Why Do You Throw Up After Drinking?

1.      The Body’s Reaction to Toxins

An area of the brain, known as the vomiting center, alerts your body at once if any toxic substance enters your system. The vomiting center can be triggered by signals received from different parts of the body, such as the stomach, intestines, the balancing system and the blood stream. Alcohol ingestion is one of the triggers that can result in activation of the vomiting center. If the toxic level of alcohol is reached, the vomiting center will try to expel the excessive alcohol by making you throw up. 

2.      Gastroparesis

Why do you throw up after drinking? Maybe the reason is gastroparesis. Alcohol intake causes the slowdown of the digestion in stomach (gastroparesis), which will lead to delayed stomach emptying. Since the digestion is slow, the proteins remaining in stomach will start to rot. The by-products of rotting are quite toxic and can trigger vomiting.

3.      Alcohol Poisoning

Alcohol poisoning is a potentially life-threatening result of alcohol drinking. Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol over a short span of time can exert adverse effects on gag reflex respiration, heart rate and body temperature. Coma and even death can occur if prompt treatment is not given. Except from vomiting, the signs and symptoms of alcohol poisoning also include delirium, seizures, low breathing rate (less than 8 breathes in a minute), pale or blue skin, cold extremities and fainting.

4.      Alcoholic Ketoacidosis

Why do you throw up after drinking? Alcoholic ketoacidosis may be one of the culprits. The cells need glucose and insulin to function well. Alcohol intake may cause the pancreas to cease the production of insulin. Then cells will start burning fats to obtain energy, which will generate by-products called ketones. Ketones are acidic in nature and their build-up in the blood stream is known as “ketoacidosis” which is a fatal condition if not treated immediately. Ketoacidosis manifests as vomiting, abdominal ache, fatigue, slowed movements, irregular breathing, appetite loss, light headedness, excessive thirst, confusion, irritability, disorientation and coma.

How to Deal with Throwing up After Drinking

Why do you throw up after drinking? Now you know the answer. Then how to deal with it?

  • Avoid all sorts of foods and fluids for a few hours after vomiting.
  • After a few hours, take small sips of water every 15 minutes for at least 3-4 hours.
  • During the successive 3-4 hours, start drinking small amounts of clear fluids like water, apple juice, or clear soda. Avoid citrus beverages and milk. The amount of these fluids should be increased gradually according to your level of tolerance.
  • If you can keep the fluids down for several hours without throwing up and develop an appetite for food, eat small portions of plain foods like bananas, rice or dry toast. Keep away from foods that are hard to digest like oily and spicy foods for at least 2-3 days after vomiting. 
  • Eat potatoes and milk, as alcohol ingestion depletes the body’s stores of essential minerals, especially potassium and calcium, the deficiency of which can be supplemented by consuming potatoes and milk. 
  • Drink ginger tea to help relieve the nausea. The tea is quite simple to make and all you have to do is to boil ginger roots in water.
  • Drink milk thistle tea since it helps clear away all the toxins. The tea is made by adding one teaspoon of milk thistle seeds to one cup full of water. Heat till the water boils and drink.

How to Avoid Throwing up After Drinking

The best preventive measure is avoiding alcohol altogether. However, since abstinence is difficult, the prevention of vomiting after drinking is more practicable.

1.      Before Drinking

It is imperative to eat before drinking. Consume some food and non-alcoholic drinks before drinking alcohol will help a lot, since it helps lessen the effects of alcohol by diluting it.

2.      During Drinking

Here are the things that need to be considered while drinking.

  • Follow the rule of drinking 1 glass of water for every drink of alcohol that you have. In this way, the body is kept hydrated and the complication of dehydration can be avoided.
  • Avoid mixing different types of alcoholic drinks together since it is the shortest way to a hangover along with vomiting. Stick to one kind of drink only.
  • Watch out for the sugary alcoholic drinks like margaritas. Since they are loaded with sugar, the sweet taste covers the taste of alcohol and you may end up drinking more than you intend to.
  • Spacing out each drink by at least an hour can help reduce the odds of throwing up since it takes nearly an hour for your system to metabolize alcohol.

3.      After Drinking

Before sleeping, don’t forget to drink large amounts of water so that the effects of alcohol ingestion can be reversed.

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