Can taking Aspirin® and alcohol be fatal?
The combined intake of Aspirin® and alcohol can lead to severe side effects which can be fatal. This is especially the case if there is extensive gastric bleeding. Due to a considerable loss of blood, life-threatening conditions can quickly arise in these cases.
This is also the case when a perforation of the ulcer leads to extensive inflammation and can even result in sepsis. The development of a stomach carcinoma, which can form at the base of an ulcer, can also be fatal. Overall, the likelihood of suffering one of the complications mentioned is low, but it must be noted that the occurrence of complications is greatly increased by the simultaneous intake of Aspirin® and alcohol.
Risk of stomach bleeding due to Aspirin® and alcohol
Gastric bleeding is the most common side effect that can occur when drinking alcohol and Aspirin® at the same time. It is caused by a combination of several effects on the stomach caused by both Aspirin® and alcohol. This results in both a reduced production of the mucus protecting the mucous membrane and an increased production of gastric acid.
The irritant effect of alcohol on the cells of the stomach acid directly is also important. A combination of both substances therefore leads to an increased risk of developing gastric bleeding. The extent of the bleeding can vary greatly.
Very heavy bleeding is rare, but can quickly lead to life-threatening conditions. Symptoms of bleeding are primarily a deep black discoloration of the stool as well as bloody and coffee grounds-like vomiting. If a gastric bleeding is suspected, a doctor should always be consulted.
Side effects due to simultaneous intake
If Aspirin® and alcohol are taken at the same time, undesirable side effects may occur, some of which can be dangerous for the person concerned. In particular, the risk of developing stomach ulcers and gastric bleeding, known side effects of taking Aspirin®, can be further increased by the simultaneous consumption of alcohol. Irritation of the stomach lining, gastric bleeding, and peptic ulcers can be conspicuous by a variety of typical symptoms.
Stomach bleeding is typically accompanied by deep black stools and bloody or coffee grounds-like vomiting. If the bleeding is very pronounced, there may be considerable blood loss with associated symptoms. Chronic peptic ulcers can lead to changes in the stomach outlet, causing digestive problems and vomiting. Stinging stomach pains are also typical and occur particularly after eating.
Mode of action of Aspirin® and alcohol
Aspirin® and alcohol affect different systems of the body. Since both substances have an effect on the stomach lining, there are typically interactions at these points and side effects which can have drastic consequences. To protect the stomach from the highly irritating gastric acid, a protective mucus is located above the mucous membrane of the organ.
Aspirin® has an inhibitory effect on certain hormones, the so-called prostaglandins. These are responsible, among other things, for the production of the protective mucus, which is why there is reduced mucus formation when taking Aspirin®. As a result of reduced production of the mucus, the cells of the stomach lining are more susceptible to the gastric acid present in the stomach and undesirable irritation of the stomach with accompanying bleeding can occur.
Alcohol also has a certain effect on different processes in the stomach. On the one hand, the consumption of alcohol has a direct effect on the cells of the mucous membrane and can lead to inflammation of the stomach mucous membrane. There is also an increased production of gastric acid, which is also associated with an irritating effect on the stomach mucosa.
Another effect of alcohol is directed against the protective mucous layer of the stomach. The consumption of alcohol makes the protective layer permeable and the cells of the mucous membrane become more susceptible to the harmful gastric acid. If, in addition to the inhibition of prostaglandins by the intake of Aspirin®, there are also changes caused by the consumption of alcohol, the risk of damage to the gastric mucosa increases considerably.