Medically the evaluation by Alana Biggers, M.D., MPH — created by Erica Cirino — to update on January 24, 2019

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What happens once you drink and your stomach is “empty”? First, let’s look quickly at what’s in your alcoholic drink, and also then fine look at exactly how not having any kind of food in your stomach affects alcohol’s interactions with your body.

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Most civilization who’ve drank any type of alcohol know that alcohol affect the method they think, feel, and also act. But few people may know exactly how alcohol works in the body.

To understand what happens as soon as you drink alcohol, that can assist to recognize what is considered a “standard drink.” various beers, wines, and also liquors have the right to have various alcohol contents.

Drinks with much more alcohol have actually a stronger result on the body than drinks with less alcohol.

A standard drink contains about 14 grams that pure alcohol.

This converts to around 12 ounces of consistent beer in ~ 5 percent alcohol content, 8–9 ounces the malt liquor at 7 percent alcohol, 5 ounces of wine at 12 percent alcohol, and 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits with 40 percent alcohol.


Here’s just how the human body absorbs alcohol when you drink:

Mouth. when you start drinking alcohol, a very small percentage will move right into the little blood ship in the mouth and tongue.Stomach. once alcohol will the stomach, as much as 20 percent will certainly be took in into the blood.Small intestine. when alcohol passes into the tiny intestine, the staying 75 to 85 percent is soaked up into the bloodstream.

The bloodstream moves alcohol to different parts the the body. Here’s whereby the alcohol goes and what the does:

Bloodstream. Alcohol continues moving roughly the human body in the bloodstream until the liver breaks it under completely.Liver. The liver filters her blood and breaks down 80 to 90 percent of the alcohol girlfriend drink right into water, carbon dioxide, and also energy, which the body can process. The liver supplies enzymes to breakdown alcohol. The liver normally breaks down alcohol at a price of one typical drink per hourKidneys. your kidneys filter her blood, balance the amount of liquid in her body and remove waste commodities from her body in your urine. Alcohol forces your kidneys to work harder because they will certainly produce an ext urine to get rid of the waste products from broken-down alcohol. The body excretes approximately 10 percent the alcohol spend in the urine.Brain. Alcohol move from the bloodstream into the mind within 5 come 10 minutes after drinking. Alcohol can cause mood changes, challenge with thinking and also coordination, and also even trouble forming memories (blackouts).Lungs. In the lungs, some alcohol is evaporated together breath. A person may breath out up to 8 percent of the alcohol the or she consumes.Skin. A small amount the alcohol evaporates indigenous the good blood vessels under the skin’s surface.

In pregnant women, alcohol passes v the placenta from the mother’s blood to her unborn baby. Babies room exposed come the exact same levels the blood alcohol as their mothers however cannot failure alcohol choose adults. Drink alcohol at any stage of pregnancy is no advised.


Everyone absorbs alcohol at a different rate. Women, young people, and people that are smaller sized tend to absorb alcohol much more quickly 보다 men and also people who space older and larger in human body size.

Your liver health will also affect the price at which her body procedures alcohol.

But eating additionally plays a big role in how your body handles alcohol. Alcohol is many quickly absorbed by the small intestine. The much longer alcohol remains in the stomach, the slower it is absorbed and the slow it affects the body.

Food avoids alcohol native passing quickly into your tiny intestine. When there is food in your stomach prior to drinking, alcohol is absorbed more slowly.

When friend drink on an empty stomach, much of the alcohol girlfriend drink passes easily from the stomach right into the tiny intestine, where most of it is absorbed into the bloodstream.

This aggravates all the side results of drinking, such together your capability to think and also coordinate your body movements.

Light come moderate drink on an north stomach may not it is in a major cause because that concern. However drinking big amounts that alcohol fast on an empty stomach deserve to be very dangerous.

An i can not qualify to think plainly or relocate your human body safely can reason serious harm, bring about injury or death in excessive cases.


Choosing a lower-alcohol beverage, cutting it v water or other non-alcohol liquids, sipping it end a long period of time, and drinking water at the exact same time space all ways to dilute the alcohol concentration in your drink.

But this will certainly have little effect on how rapidly her body absorbs the alcohol that’s present. The most ideal situation to avoid any ill results from drinking on an empty stomach is of course to stop doing the by eating some food.

Eat at least an hour prior to drinking if you plan on consuming more than one drink in a sitting. Don’t drink much more than one conventional drink per hour and also know your limits.

If you’re drinking on an empty stomach and also begin to feeling stomach pains or nausea, or begin vomiting, it’s vital to prevent drinking and also tell someone you’re with just how you feel.

Most most likely you’ve more than likely drank too lot or as well quickly. Start drinking water progressively and shot to eat easy-to-digest foodstuffs with numerous carbohydrates choose pretzels or bread.


Pain, nausea, and dry-heaving or vomiting can also be indicators of a life-threatening problem called alcohol poisoning. You can identify alcohol poisoning by several other symptoms, including:

confusionloss the coordinationslow or abnormal breathingslurred speechstupor (unresponsive consciousness)unconscious happen out

If you are with someone who may have actually alcohol poisoning, contact 911 appropriate away. Without fast treatment, alcohol poisoning deserve to lead come coma, mind damage, or also death.

Try to store the person sitting upright and awake. Offer them a tiny amount of water to drink if they space conscious and keep them warm with a ceiling if possible.

If they’ve pass out, lie castle on their side and also watch your breathing.

Never leave the human being alone to “sleep the off,” as the amount of alcohol in a who bloodstream can proceed to rise 30–40 minute after your last drink and also suddenly worsen their symptoms.

Do not provide them coffee or more alcohol, and also do not try to give them a cold shower to aid them “sober up.”


Drinking top top an north stomach can likewise increase your danger for the normally harmless yet still unpleasant side result of a hangover. A hangover normally happens the work after drinking big quantities the alcohol. Symptoms may include:

dizziness or emotion that the room is spinning extreme thirstfeeling shakyhaving an inability to concentration or think clearlyheadachesmood worries such together depression, anxiety and also irritabilitynauseapoor sleepquick heart ratesensitivity to light and soundstomach painvomiting

While hangover symptom usually resolve on your own, there room some points you have the right to do to assist them walk away more quickly. These include:

Fluids. Sipping ~ above water, soup broth or fruit juice throughout the day. Carry out not try to drink an ext alcohol to cure her hangoverSleep. resting can assist your hangover go away an ext quicklySimple foods. Snacking top top bland, easy-to-digest foods such as toast, crackers, or pretzels may boost your blood sugar levels and also settle her stomachPain relievers.

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acquisition pain relievers such together ibuprofen may ease her headache. Prevent acetaminophen if you drink regularly, together it can worsen any kind of liver problems. You could also try a wet, cold cloth across your forehead, in addition to or instead of pain relief medications.

Consuming a very big amount that alcohol in a short amount the time, especially on an empty stomach, deserve to be dangerous and sometimes also fatal.

But in many cases, drinking on an empty stomach will cause only the unpleasant next effects linked with a hangover. Eating before moderate drinking can slow down alcohol’s result on you and also reduce your possibilities of a bad reaction to alcohol.


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Medically the review by Alana Biggers, M.D., MPH — created by Erica Cirino — updated on January 24, 2019