Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, MD, FFARCSI

Alcohol has been a part of our social life for a millennium and people call it as Mind–Altering beverage as it smacks your brain and gives you a buzz feeling. Everyone loves hanging out with friends with a glass of alcoholic beverage; however, it could be an embarrassing experience if you have to rush to the restroom frequently with the bout of diarrhea. Unfortunately, a few people face this problem after drinking alcohol. It is important to know about diarrhea and constipation as an induced after effect of drinking alcohol.

Diarrhea & Constipation- An Induced After Effect of Drinking Alcohol

Diarrhea & Constipation- An Induced After Effect of Drinking Alcohol

Hangover, the next morning is common but diarrhea and constipation are also known as an induced after effect of drinking alcohol. Yes, diarrhea and constipation both can be a result of drinking alcohol and can be seen in few people as soon as they start boozing or on the next day.

Consumption of alcohol reduces the intestinal muscle contraction which typically results in diarrhea. Whenever you drink alcoholic beverages, you are prone to suffer from diarrhea. In case, if you regularly drink alcohol then this may lead to chronic diarrhea.

On the contrary, alcohol doesn’t always cause diarrhea. Sometimes, people get constipated from these strong beverages as consuming alcohol leads to dehydration. This affects the functioning of the colon and hence, results in hard stools.

In short, diarrhea and constipation both are an induced after effect of drinking alcohol and need to be managed properly to avoid complications.

Symptoms of Diarrhea - An Induced After Effect of Drinking Alcohol

Knowing the symptoms of diarrhea as an induced after effect of drinking alcohol can help to understand the need for medical advice. While mild diarrhea can be managed, if diarrhea persists for more than two days you should visit a doctor. Severe abdominal pain can be a sign of severe infection. If there is passage of blood or black colored stools, it may need attention. There might exist an uncontrollable thirst due to severe loss of water and electrolytes from the body. If there is dry mouth, dry skin, dark colored urine and a decrease in the frequency of urination, medical help is needed.

Why is Diarrhea an Induced After Effect of Drinking Alcohol?

Here are some of the commonest causes of why diarrhea is induced after effect of drinking alcohol.

Consuming Alcohol, Empty Stomach

If you want to understand the cause of diarrhea after drinking alcohol, you should have an understanding of how your intestine processes the alcohol. Your intestinal muscle contraction excretes the stools out of your intestine. So, when you consume alcohol these contraction rate increases gradually due to which water absorption capability is affected and stools are excreted as diarrhea with ample amount of water. This scenario worsens if you booze on an empty stomach because the alcohol travels to your intestine at a much faster rate. The result is diarrhea as an induced after effect of drinking alcohol.

A research states that drinking beer and wine induces diarrhea often because these beverages have the ability to kill good bacteria in the intestine. As a result, drinking alcohol can aggravate the digestive tract and as a result, worsening diarrhea.

Intestinal Diseases and High Risk of Alcohol Induced Diarrhea

People with intestinal diseases such as Ulcerative Colitis, Crohn's Disease, Celiac Disease as well as people with irregular sleep patterns are more likely to suffer from diarrhea after drinking alcohol. These diseases or lifestyle habits make your gut extra sensitive and therefore, drinking alcohol may irritate the lining of the bowel which induces diarrhea. Thus, your gut health is also responsible for increasing your chances of experiencing diarrhea as an induced after effect of drinking alcohol.

Food Allergies and Alcohol Induced Diarrhea

Ingredients in your food may also contribute to alcohol-induced diarrhea. Food allergies too can add to the possibility of having diarrhea as an induced after effect of drinking alcohol. People who are gluten intolerant should stay away from beer because most of the beers are made from wheat grain.

Likewise, people who are allergic to yeast and sulfites are more prone to diarrhea after alcohol because preservatives used in alcohols contain yeast and sulfites. Our intestine has certain bacteria that stimulate the digestion process of dietary fiber by fermenting. Consuming beer kills the stimulating bacteria, hence, affecting the digestion process.

The yeast content present in the alcohol travels into the system and starts slacking off the bacteria resulting in excess yeast production. As a result, one can actually witness frothy substance in the stools. It is a universal fact that beer contains soluble dietary fiber. So if you are gluten intolerant try to find one that has fiber content more agreeable to your intestinal system.

Managing Diarrhea - an Induced After Effect of Drinking Alcohol

Your digestive system may not be pleased with the type and amount of alcohol that you are drinking and therefore may not function normally. With proper interventions, you can make your intestine feel comfortable, as before. If your diarrhea is due to the consumption of alcohol then you shall feel normal in a couple of days; however, if it persists for more than two days then you should consult a doctor.

Here are some important tips to manage diarrhea caused as an induced after effect of drinking alcohol.

Ample Amounts of Fluids - Consume ample amount of fluids in the form of water and juice, to avoid dehydration, if you have alcohol-induced diarrhea.

Mint Tea - Drinking a cup of mint tea may help in relieving pain and soothe your gut after experiencing diarrhea caused as an induced after effect of drinking alcohol.

Choice of Food Items - Consume foods like fruits, bread, rice and egg that are easy for digestion. Consume probiotics because they aid in producing good bacteria in your intestine and help in reducing muscle contractions in the intestine. Avoid eating fiber-rich foods such as whole wheat, cereals and dairy fats like cheese. Stay away from spicy foods.

Medication - Taking loperamide medication will help in providing short-term relief. Taking a paracetamol tablet may help in reducing the abdominal pain. An antacid may aid in soothing your intestine. Avoid taking painkillers, such as aspirin, that can further hurt the lining of the intestine. However, before taking any of these medications, it is better to consult your physician.

Avoid Caffeine - Stay away from carbonated drinks and caffeine.

Managing Constipation- An Induced After Effect of Drinking Alcohol

Constipation is generally described as having fewer than two bowel movements per week. As alcohol can reduce the fluid levels in your body and cause dehydration, it can affect the regular bowel movements and cause constipation. This is one of the commonest causes of constipation as an induced after effect of drinking alcohol. Hence, maintain proper fluid levels and drinking plenty of water to avoid constipation.

If you have the following symptoms of constipation and persistent changes in the bowel habits, do consult your doctor.

  • Severe pain while passing stools.
  • Passing stools with blood.
  • Difficulty in having bowel movements.

How to Avoid Alcohol Induced Diarrhea and Constipation?

Now, as you know that diarrhea and constipation both are an induced after effect of drinking alcohol, it is best to take the necessary precautions. If you are allergic to alcohol then you should be more cautious while choosing your drink. It is difficult to refrain yourself from drinking alcohol however with proper precautions, you could avoid possible problems caused due to it.

Here are a few guidelines to choose the drink wisely:-

Right Choice of Food before Alcohol

Eat carbohydrate-rich food like rice, before you start boozing as it may help in reducing the alcohol absorption rate.

Know Your Alcohol Type

Try various types of drinks to know your alcohol type because different individuals react differently to different types of drinks. If you are allergic to sulfites then you should stay away from wine because wine contains a high level of sulfites. One can try white spirits like vodka as it contains fewer ingredients and therefore the chances of having diarrhea and constipation also reduces.

Drinking alcohol is best avoided, however, if you are fond of drinking, make sure you take preventive action to escape diarrhea and constipation, which are the undesirable after effects of drinking alcohol.

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD,FFARCSI

Pain Assist Inc.

Last Modified On: January 11, 2018

This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer

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