Why do I have diarrhea after drinking? This is not a complaint that people tend to voice out loud, but you would be surprised by the number of people who experience this. Diarrhea after drinking alcohol is rather common and can occur in both regular drinkers and those who indulge in the beverage occasionally.
Diarrhea can develop as soon as you drink alcohol, while in some cases, it could be in association with a hangover. This varies depending on the individual. Those who are heavy and regular drinkers might find themselves suffering from chronic diarrhea.
If you want to acquire more information as to what causes diarrhea after drinking, there are various factors that can give rise to the problem:
- It is important to keep in mind that alcohol is an irritant that leads to the inflammation of the GI tract. It can lead to enhanced acid production in the stomach, thereby resulting in irritation and inflammation. This can cause diarrhea.
- Alcohol results in the inhibition of water absorption from the large intestine. Hence, an outpouring of fluid occurs which then leads to stools acquiring a liquid consistency.
- Alcohol also has an effect on the motility of the large intestine. As a result, the passage of stools is speeded up after the ingestion of alcohol. This is particularly true for the sigmoid colon and rectum.
- A decrease in digestive enzymes can occur owing to alcohol, which impedes with the normal digestion process.
Who is at risk of diarrhea after drinking?
Some people are more at risk of facing this situation than others. Let us now provide you with information regarding the people who are at increased risk:
- People who consume alcohol regularly have damaged guts and, thus, are more susceptible to developing diarrhea since the gut is unable to function in an optimal manner.
- Binge drinkers are also at an increased risk because when they drink, a large amount of alcohol reaches the gut within a short span.
- Those suffering from intestinal disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome and ulcerative colitis are also prone to suffering from diarrhea following the ingestion of alcohol since they have a sensitive digestive system.
- People who have food intolerances and allergies can also develop diarrhea after consuming alcohol.
How to stop diarrhea after drinking alcohol
If you develop diarrhea after drinking, short-term relief can be attained via Loperamide. It is available as an over-the-counter medication, which means that you do not have to face any difficulty in getting your hands on it. Other anti-diarrheal medications include the likes of Pepto-Bismol.
However, medication will only be able to provide you with relief for a short while. The ultimate solution for you is to abstain from alcohol completely. If you cannot do so, you need to take measures that would lower your risk of developing diarrhea.
If you have a food intolerance, you can look for an alternative for alcohol and opt for some other beverage.
For instance, those suffering from gluten intolerance can drink wine without resulting in any allergic reactions. Similarly, those suffering from a sulfite intolerance can opt for beer to avoid diarrhea.
There are other treatment options as well that can provide you assistance in recovering from diarrhea following the intake of alcohol:
- The intake of clear fluids should be increased. Ensure that the quantity of water, juices, and broth are increased in your diet. It would be a good idea to stay clear of caffeine.
- Incorporate food items that are low in fiber. Opting for semisolid foods is also a good idea. You can have a diet comprising of items such as toast, chicken, rice and eggs which will serve to bring the bowel movements back to normal within a short span.
- Dairy products can aggravate diarrhea which is why you should abstain from them while you are recovering. Similarly, you should stay away from anything that is enriched with fiber and fats.
- At the end of the day, it is your health that you need to be concerned about. Chronic diarrhea can lead to quite a few problems, so this is something that should not be ignored.
When to see a doctor
This is something that should be given quite a bit of attention. Often, it happens that people neglect to see a doctor, and matters get worse. Therefore, it is a good thing to know when medical attention should be sought. You should consult a doctor if:
- You have persistent diarrhea which is not relieved with time
- You have dehydration with symptoms such as excessive thirst, dry skin, decreased urine output and weakness among others
- You have abdominal pain
- You notice the presence of blood in your stool
- You have persistently high-grade fevers
What can I drink now?
Once you decide to give up on alcohol, this is the question which would then come to your mind. Various options are available as alternatives.
The obvious choice would be to opt for alcohol-free beers and wines which would not pose any threat to you. However, many people do not like the taste of these drinks. For such people, there are other substitutes that are worth considering.
- Virgin Collins drinks which include fresh lime juice, club soda, and sugar syrup
- Iced coffee
- Ginger ale with grenadine
- Angostura bitters and lemonade
- Cordial and soda
- Virgin Mojito
- Tonic water with some lemon
- Half apple juice, half fizzy water