Does Alcohol Cause Diarrhea?

Are Loose Stool and Diarrhea Issues Caused by Drinking?

Good ol’ alcohol. It starts so innocently and fun. We all remember that night we were buying shots for the bar, making a bunch of new friends, and spending the night with the hottest person at the bar (well that is until we wake up the next morning wondering if we are waking up next to the same person we went to sleep next to). We often like to overlook the many negative consequences of our own drinking habits, such as the question that brings us here: does alcohol cause diarrhea?

We all glorify the nights of drinking (at least what we remember). Even though we may not want to face it, I think we all know that alcohol can cause many problems for us. We face short-term problems like drunk texting ex-partners at 2 AM, oversleeping and/or showing up late and hungover for work on Monday morning, all kinds of scrapes, burns, or scratches on our bodies from God only knows what, and waking up only to not remember where you left your car the night before.

Not to mention there are also more serious long-term physical problems that occur when you consume alcohol such as high blood pressure, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), heart disease, strokes, liver problems, and even weakening our immune systems. Well, another problem that alcohol consumption can have on us is its effect on our digestive systems.

Keep reading to learn more about alcohol withdrawal as the cause of diarrhea, and get proven options for support with Find Addiction Rehabs as well!

How Drinking Alcohol Affects Your Digestive System

Alcohol Affects Your Digestive System

As long as you graduated middle school, you probably remember our digestive system is responsible for breaking down food into nutrients such as carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. They are absorbed through the digestive tract and bloodstream so the body can use them for energy, growth, and repair. It is also responsible for the elimination of solid food waste.

Well, what you might not have remembered from 9th-grade biology is that alcohol can wreak havoc on our digestive systems in many different ways. Unlike normal foods we consume, our digestive system quickly recognizes that alcohol is a poison to our bodies and prioritizes the need to evict by any means necessary.

That’s one of the reasons we end up having to run to the restroom every twenty minutes after we “break the seal “. (The other possibility is that we may very well be snorting lines of cocaine, as for many of us a night of drinking goes so nicely while on a date with that “white girl”).

What Happens in Your Body When You Drink Alcohol?

Alcohol keeps our bodies from releasing vasopressin which is a hormone that helps our body keep needed fluids by preventing water from going out in our urine. Less vasopressin means that we spend a lot more time in the restroom, “emptying our tanks”. But with our digestive systems dumping out more fluid than it’s used to, that can make us constipated the next morning.

If you’ve ever been warned by a loved one to drink lots of water before going to bed, this is one of the reasons why. By drinking water all night, we can help our bodies stay hydrated and hopefully keep our sensitive digestive tract and systems working a little more normally.

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What are the Causes Of Diarrhea After Drinking?

Another problem we may experience from our alcohol use, especially chronic heavy drinking is diarrhea. A night of drinking can agitate the intestines, which can cause them to speed up digestion. As stated earlier, the intestines register alcohol as a “poison “ and say: “We don’t need this stuff. Let’s get this out as fast as we can”.

The muscles in the colon contract more frequently, pushing the digested food and drink out faster than usual. This quickening can lead to diarrhea, as the intestines do not have time to digest the passing food properly. We all know that this leads to a very uncomfortable night and the next day, as experiencing alcohol-related diarrhea can be problematic, even if you work from home!

Does Alcohol Cause Diarrhea: Alcohol as an Inflammation Trigger

Alcohol Triggers Inflammation

Another way that alcohol consumption can cause diarrhea is by stimulating the production of gastric acids in the stomach. Too much stomach acid can lead to gastritis, a condition characterized when you experience diarrhea and inflammation of the stomach lining.

Gastritis can cause abdominal discomfort, nausea, and diarrhea as the stomach tries to eliminate the excess acid. So keep this in mind before ordering that 5th martini of the night (Hopefully, without Blue Cheese stuffed olives, Yuck!)

Alcohol Abuse and Gastrointestinal Issues

One last reason why that frozen margarita might give you diarrhea has to do with this little party we have going on in our intestines. Chilling in our intestines, we have a complex community of microorganisms called gut microbiota. Recent research has shown that alcohol can disrupt their complex community.

The altered microbiota may not effectively digest and absorb nutrients when flooded with bourbon. This agitation can lead to other gastrointestinal tract symptoms such as diarrhea and, unlike Taylor Swift, our digestive systems can’t just “Shake It Off”. So not only does alcohol give us upset “tum-tums”, but the types of alcohol we are consuming can also lead us to be more likely to have “the runs”.

Does Drinking Different Types of Alcohol Matter?

So we’ve looked at how not only the amount of alcohol but also the amount of time we’ve been drinking it can cause problems, but did you know that what we are drinking can lead to gastronomic problems as well? For instance, beer is high in carbohydrates, which makes it more difficult for the digestive system to break down, which can lead to chronic diarrhea too.

A lot of people also have trouble breaking down the tannins found in the grapes used to make wine. This can also lead to what some people call “the trots”, as well as headaches and nausea. Trust me, those two bottles of white wine you polished off to feel “fancy” are going to give you a hangover and you definitely want to stay away from them.

Is Alcohol Consumption High in Sugar?

Alcohol Consumption High in Sugar

Many people believe that alcohol is high in sugars. Actually, most spirits contain very little if any sugar at all. For instance, vodka, gin, tequila, and rum actually have no sugar in them. Generally speaking when it comes to sugars in your alcohol, the higher the ABV (Alcohol by volume), the more sugar that is in your spirit. Some alcohols do contain sugar, such as wines, in particular white wines. A bottle of sweet white wine can have more than 33.75 grams of residual sugar per bottle.

However, mixed drinks, where juices, sodas, and even certain energy drinks are used, can be very high in sugar. And forget about those frozen drinks that we chug down on cruises or at the beach. Just like alcohol, the digestive system tries to push out the useless sugar quickly, which again can lead to stomachaches and diarrhea after drinking alcohol.

A popular myth is that the body metabolizes alcohol into sugar. It does not but, alcohol does significantly affect blood sugar levels, causing a yo-yo effect. Initially, alcohol raises blood sugar levels, but after the body processes the alcohol blood sugar levels drop dramatically.

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How to Prevent Alcohol Related Diarrhea

Luckily, there are some things we can do in order to moderate drinking and to try and prevent the suffering and uncomfortableness caused by diarrhea and constipation. Obviously the first, and only perfect solution is choosing not to drink.

I know you probably feel like you need that drink in order to relax and have fun though, but take it from me, a guy who hasn’t had a sip of alcohol in three years, you really don’t. Yes, alcohol can loosen us up and allow us to have more fun, but the real goal should be learning to have fun without needing to be inebriated.

Ways to Reduce the Chances of Digestive Upset from Drinking

Reduce the Chances of Digestive Upset from Drinking

However, if you do choose to drink, there are ways to be more responsible and cognizant while consuming your favorite cocktails. We can start by drinking a little more slowly. Never drink on an empty stomach and give your body more time to process the alcohol, which can help ease the stress we put on our digestive tracts.

It’s also a good idea to rotate alcoholic drinks with non-alcoholic drinks during our night of partying, particularly water if we are going to be drinking for any length of time.

Another good trick can be to eat a healthy meal before or even during our drinking binge. This can help slow the absorption of alcohol into the body and lower our chances of waking up early in the morning to run to the toilet.

How Long Does Alcohol Diarrhea Last?

Obviously, I’m not a doctor (but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night), but alcohol-induced diarrhea can vary in duration and severity depending on many factors, including the amount of alcohol consumed, your overall tolerance and health, and even how quickly you drink.

In general, it should subside in a day or two as your body processes the alcohol and returns to its normal state. However, if it persists or is accompanied by other concerning symptoms, I would definitely suggest consulting a healthcare professional for proper evaluation and advice.

Hard Drinking and Lifestyle Choices

The lesson to be learned here is that alcohol can affect our physical health in so many ways. According to Dr. Kay Miller,

“As a cancer-causing agent in the same list as asbestos, alcoholic beverages are linked to innumerable malignancies in many organ systems.”

The negatives of drinking alcoholic beverages and overindulging in our favorite elixir, seem to far outweigh the positives.

If you spend the night drinking and you choose not to follow any of our advice, don’t be surprised the next day to be spending a lot of your morning sitting on the toilet. So if you end up having to throw your underwear into the trash, you can’t say I didn’t warn you. Also please be sure to check your supply of toilet paper before heading out for a long night of drinking.

Finding It Difficult To Reduce Your Alcohol Intake or Stop Drinking?

Stop Drinking Alcohol

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism defines an alcohol use disorder (and alcoholism) with respect to many different traits. Being an alcoholic isn’t always defined by how much you drink. It’s more about the ways it impacts you. A few questions you may want to ask yourself:

  • Do you feel the need to drink every day even if you do not do so?
  • Can you feel agitation or anxiety when you do not drink?
  • Do you sometimes drink at odd times of the day, like the morning, during lunch, or even while at work?
  • Do you use alcohol as a way to deal with thoughts and feelings, or stress or depression?
  • Do you experience cravings when you do not drink?
  • Do you find yourself needing to drink more often or larger amounts of alcohol than before?
  • Do you sometimes try to refrain from drinking and sometimes end up doing it anyway, or drinking more than you planned?

If you answered yes to more than one of these, you may want to good and honest look at your drinking. If you’ve tried multiple times to stop drinking alcohol and just can’t seem to be successful, you may have developed a dependence on alcohol that may be unhealthy.

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Reach Out for Alcohol Treatment Options Now

Please, if you think you might need help, don’t be as stubborn, egotistical, and ignorant as I was. Please call us today for help. There is a solution and a better way to live. Break free from your alcoholic cage.

If you are sick and tired of alcohol consumption ruling your life, please reach out to our dedicated team at Find Addiction Rehabs today and get proven options for alcohol treatment now!

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