We’ve all been there: drinking alcohol and then paying the price the next day with a hangover.
But did you know that alcohol can also cause constipation? If you’re struggling to go to the bathroom after a night of drinking, read on to find out why and what you can do about it.
Can alcohol cause bowel problems?
The short answer is yes, alcohol can cause constipation. But it’s not just the occasional glass of wine or beer that can lead to digestive issues. Regular, heavy drinking can also contribute to constipation.
There are a few ways that alcohol can cause constipation.
First, alcohol can act as a diuretic, which can cause dehydration. When you’re dehydrated, your body pulls water from your intestines, making your stool hard and dry.
Alcohol can also slow down the movement of food through your digestive system, which can lead to constipation.
Finally, alcohol can irritate your intestines and cause inflammation. This can make it difficult for your intestines to absorb water, leading to constipation.
Can alcohol aggravate IBS?
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a condition that can cause abdominal pain, bloating, and changes in bowel habits.
Alcohol can aggravate IBS symptoms for some people, but the research on alcohol and IBS specifically is not definitive. However, many people with IBS avoid alcohol because it is a known irritant for the gut writ large.
3 Ways Alcohol Causes Inflammation in the Gut
A few things can happen when the small and large intestines metabolize alcohol, particularly in large quantities.
Alcohol disrupts the balance of good and harmful bacteria in the gut, leading to bacterial overgrowth. This, in turn, leads to inflammation.
The reason alcohol causes bacterial overgrowth is one of two things. Either the alcohol itself causes the problem, or it is the byproduct of poor digestive and intestinal function caused by alcohol consumption.
Either way, alcohol is the culprit.
Bacterial dysbiosis is another way that alcohol consumption can cause gut inflammation. This is when the gut’s ratio of good to bad bacteria is out of balance. This can happen for various reasons, but drinking alcohol is one of them.
When this happens, it creates an environment ripe for inflammation. The body reacts to the imbalance by mounting an immune response, leading to inflammation.
Leaky Gut Syndrome
Leaky gut syndrome is when the lining of the intestines becomes damaged, allowing bacteria and other toxins to leak into the bloodstream. This can trigger an immune response and cause inflammation.
Alcohol consumption is a known cause of leaky gut syndrome. This is because alcohol damages the intestines and makes them more permeable.
Treating Alcohol-Induced Constipation
If you’re struggling with constipation, you can do a few things to ease your symptoms.
- First, make sure you’re drinking plenty of water. This will help keep you hydrated and prevent dehydration, which can worsen constipation.
- Second, eat a high-fiber diet. Fiber helps add bulk to your stool and makes it easier to pass. Good sources of fiber include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes.
- Third, greatly reduce or eliminate alcohol from your lifestyle. If you need help doing that, we have plenty of resources to help you quit alcohol.
- Finally, exercise regularly. Exercise helps stimulate your digestive system and can make it easier to have a bowel movement.
If you’re struggling with constipation, talk to your doctor. They can help you find a treatment plan that’s right for you.
FAQs and Alcohol and Constipation
Which alcohol is easiest on the stomach?
First, let’s preface this answer by acknowledging that all alcohol has the ability to damage gut health and cause a host of digestive issues.
The type of alcohol is not exclusively the issue. You also have to consider things like quantity consumed, weight, gender, metabolism, and severity of gut issues.
For people with IBS who do want to drink, medical experts recommend consuming alcohol that is considered low FODMAP. Examples include:
- Beer (although be mindful of the carbonation and gluten)
- Red wine
- White wine
Can quitting alcohol cause constipation?
When you suddenly stop drinking alcohol after chronic use, it can cause constipation. This is because alcohol is a diuretic, which means it causes your body to lose fluids. When you stop drinking, your body retains fluid, and
How do I know if my constipation is caused by alcohol?
It’s not always easy to know if alcohol is the cause. To test the theory, you can try eliminating alcohol from your diet for a while and see if your symptoms improve.
If they do, alcohol was likely the cause.
You can also talk to your doctor. They can help you rule out other potential causes of constipation and make a
Bottom Line on Alcohol Causing Constipation
Constipation is a common digestive issue caused by many things, including alcohol consumption.
If you’re struggling with constipation, it’s important to find the underlying cause so you can treat it effectively. In some cases, quitting alcohol may be the best solution.
Being constipated sucks, we get it. Please know that it takes some time, but with consistency, things will improve.
- Stay hydrated
- Eat fiber
- Get exercise
- Eliminate gut irritants from your diet
- Reach out to a doctor
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