This section is from the book "The Human Body: An Elementary Text-Book Of Anatomy, Physiology, And Hygiene", by H. Newell Martin. Also available from Amazon: The Human Body.
Alcohol in such proportion as it exists in most alcoholic drinks is absorbed and carried in the blood and lymph through the body, and if steadily taken day after day acts upon and alters for the worse nearly every important organ. The organ first or most seriously attacked varies with the form in which the alcohol is taken, with the amount consumed daily, and with the constitution of the individual. Probably no one individual ever suffered from all the diseased states produced by alcohol; but all habitual drinkers sooner or later experience one or more of them. The diseases produced by alcohol after absorption into the blood come on so gradually (except in the case of obvious drunkards) that the victim rarely perceives them until serious if not irremediable damage has been done: indeed, physicians have only recently come to clearly recognize that men who in common phrase " were never in their lives under the influence of liquor" may nevertheless be drinking enough to do them grave injury.
When constantly irritated by the direct action of alcoholic drinks, the Stomach gradually undergoes lasting structural changes. Its vessels remain dilated and congested, its connective-tissue becomes excessive, its power of secreting gastric juice diminished, and its mucous secretion abnormally abundant.
A vast number of persons suffer from alcoholic dyspepsia without knowing its cause; people who were never drunk in their lives, and consider themselves very temperate. "The symptoms vary, but when slight are something like these: A man (or woman) complains of slight loss of appetite, especially in the morning for breakfast; feels languid either on rising or early in the day; retches a little in the morning, and perhaps brings up a little phlegm only, or may actually vomit; or may be able to take breakfast, but feels sick after it. Towards the middle of the morning he is heavy and languid, perhaps, and does not feel easy until he has had a glass of sherry or some spirits, then gets on pretty well, and can eat lunch or dinner. Or if worse, the appetite for both is defective, and there is undue weight or discomfort after meals. . . . All these symptoms may be due to other causes, but when taken together they are by far most commonly due to alcohol." Abstinence from alcohol, the cause of the trouble, is the true remedy.
How does diluted alcohol influence the stomach ? Describe alcoholic dyspepsia. Its cure.