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Digestive System

Mouth/Tongue

Irritating effects on mouth and throat can lead to cancer. If alcohol is used in conjunction with cigarettes the risk is greatly increased. Inflammation of the tongue can also occur, a condition known as glossitis.

Esophagus

There is a known relationship between alcohol abuse and esophageal cancer. There is a marked increase in this type of cancer if cigarettes and alcohol are used together. Another problem is weakening of blood vessels in the esophagus, which can rupture, causing severe bleeding.

Stomach

Irritation and inflammation of stomach lining (gastritis) which is also associated with ulcerated areas of stomach lining which can cause bleeding. In advanced cases perforation (tearing) of the stomach lining can occur. Both of these problems can lead to anemia. Inflammation of ducts (passageways) can also be problematic. Nutritional deficits can occur because of a condition called malabsorption. This occurs when the stomach cannot optimally utilize (use) nutrients. Malnutrition then puts the alcohol user at risk for other health problems since the alcoholic may not be strong enough to fight off disease.

Pancreas

Again, alcohol is associated with organ inflammation, in this case, pancreatitis. There is a strong correlation between chronic alcohol use and pancreatitis - which develops insidiously, or slowly, over time, though it has been found to occur with binge drinking. Nausea, vomiting, and pain are experienced by those with pancrecatitis. Insulin production can also be impaired by alcohol use, which can lead to diabetes.

Large/Small Intestines

Absorption of vitamins and minerals is affected. Motility (movement) in the intestines is also affected by alcohol, which can lead to bowel problems such as diarrhea.

Liver

Alcohol interferes with liver functioning. Inflammation of liver cells causing blockage in the liver. Initially, the liver becomes fatty which causes liver function to be decreased.

Some alcohol abusers develop alcohol hepatitis or inflammation of the liver. Symptoms include tender, enlarged liver, jaundice (occurs when dead red blood cells accumulate in the blood), - which can be observed by a yellowing of skin or sclera (whites) of eyes, and dark-colored urine. Death can occur if not properly identified and treated.

Cirrhosis of the liver can occur with years of episode alcohol consumption. The liver becomes unable to perform because of scarring of its tissues. Alcohol kills liver cells, which do not regenerate. Because the cirrhosis affects the liver's ability to metabolize alcohol, the alcohol can then work its damage on other organ systems. The liver becomes hard and nodular and a number of other symptoms may also be present such as jaundice, inflammation of the spleen and fine tremors.

Because of the scar tissue buildup associated with cirrhosis a number of other problems exist which can include decreased production of albumin, globulin, and prothrombin, sodium and water retention. These are necessary for the body to perform normally. Other complications include changes in blood sugar levels, elevated cholesterol, a condition called gout, and varicose veins.

Rectum

Increased probability of rectal cancer.