Gastrointestinal Motility Disorders Induced by Ethanol
Both acute and chronic consumption of alcohol (ethanol) have been reported to cause significant gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms. Alcohol-induced GI dysmotihty should not be a surprising finding since it is already known that ethanol can profoundly affect the function of both muscles and nerves in various organs. This chapter discusses the effects of ethanol on motor functions of esophagus, stomach, small and large intestine, and finally gallbladder and biliary tree. It also discusses the clinical picture, and then the in vivo and in vitro effects of both acute and chronic ethanol on motility of the organ. GI symptoms related to esophageal disorders such as postprandial chest pain and heartburn are believed to occur after an acute alcohol binge. The other major esophageal symptom that is sometimes experienced by alcoholics is difficulty in swallowing (dysphagia). Symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, epigastric pain, and postprandial fullness, which are typically related to gastric abnormalities, are common in alcoholics.