7 Gross Things That Happen To Your Body Right After You Drink
It's no secret that when you drink alcohol, your body goes through a lot of changes, but when you're out at happy hour, you're probably not thinking too deeply about all that's going on. However, what happens to your body after drinking alcohol shouldn't be overlooked, even if you knock back just a few beverages. Alcohol can disrupt both your body and brain, and as a result of this, your regular bodily functions can be thrown out of whack, with everything from your digestion to your skin being affected.
Because alcohol is such a small molecule, it does not have to be digested, family physician Navya Mysore, MD, tells Bustle. "It can therefore pass through the stomach lining really easily. When your stomach is empty, it gets absorbed into your blood stream right away. If you have alcohol with meals and the meal is heavy in protein and fat, it slows down the absorption and can hold off some of the immediate effects that occur with alcohol consumption."
Everyone's body reacts to alcohol differently, but you might be surprised to find that there are some changes happening in your body post-drinking that you had never even thought of. Here are seven possibilities of what can happen after you drink, according to experts.
1. Bad Breath/Body Odor
Alcohol can lead to a number of unpleasant smells in the body, ranging from bad breath to body odor and gas. "Alcohol irritates the stomach, and that can lead to problems such as smelly gas and diarrhea as well," family and emergency medicine doctor Janette Nesheiwat, MD , tells Bustle. "In addition to bad breath, it's common to have a foul smelling burping too, a bizarre body odor, and urine odor."
2. Weakened Immune System
Binge drinking can have immediate effects on your immune system. A study published in the journal Alcohol found that within just two hours of drinking, young adults who drank up to five shots of vodka had less active immune systems than when they were sober. "It can also make you more prone to catching a cold, spitting up mucous/phlegm, runny nose, cough etc., as normal hygiene is usually not maintained as well when one has been drinking," Dr. Nesheiwat says.
3. Dry Skin
Your skin health can also suffer as a result of drinking. "Discoloration to your skin and dry, cracked skin can occur because alcohol acts as a diuretic and can dry out the skin," Dr. Nesheiwat says. Alcohol can exacerbate common skin diseases such as psoriasis and sometimes rosacea, and it even can cause flushing in people who don't suffer from specific conditions, according to Everyday Health.
4. Bloating And Indigestion
A night of drinking can lead to all sorts of tummy troubles. "The sugar levels in alcohol, no matter if it's beer, wine or hard liquor, can make us feel bloated, gassy or have indigestion," Dr. Mysore says. "It can also lead you to have swollen feet and hands, as alcohol can trigger your body to retain more water."
If you've ever found yourself particularly sweaty and warm after a night out, it's not just in your head. "Alcohol dilates blood vessels as it enters the bloodstream and causes greater flow of blood to the skin surface," Dr. Mysore says. "This can cause blushing, feeling warm, and sweating, and then to compensate, there's a rapid body temperature decrease."
Since alcohol irritates the stomach, it makes it more likely that you experience heartburn. "Some people experience GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease aka heart burn) due to the irritation, and in worse case scenarios, an ulcer can form," Dr. Nesheiwat says. Drinking smaller quantities of alcohol can help limit the likelihood that you experience heartburn as a result of drinking.
7. Increased Urination
It's no fun to have to run to the bathroom every hour, but drinking alcohol can make it more likely that you need to urinate frequently. "Alcohol works as a diuretic, which means it increases urine formation which can lead you to urinate more and lead to a more dehydrated state," Dr. Mysore says.
Not all of the symptoms will happen to everyone, but they are quite common after a night of drinking, and are something to be mindful of.