Drinking alcohol can cause digestive problems in some people, including constipation.
Alcohol is a central nervous system (CNS) depressant and can have a variety of effects on the body. What a person drinks and how often they drink can affect how their body responds to alcohol. Not everyone will experience the same symptoms or side effects.
For some people, long-term drinking may cause constipation.
This article explores the link between alcohol and constipation, other effects alcohol may have on the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, and tips for preventing constipation when drinking alcohol.
Constipation can be a symptom of an underlying problem or condition.People with constipation may experience
- Difficulty emptying bowels
- Having fewer than three bowel movements per week
- Feeling like not all the stool has been passed out
- Dry, hard or lumpy stools
Although drinking is
Learn more about constipation.
Drinking alcohol can cause dehydration.
Dehydration or lack of fluids can cause constipation. Without enough fluid, stools can become hard and lumpy, making them more difficult to pass.
Learn more about dehydration.
Affects gut bacteria
Some evidence suggests that drinking alcohol can lead to bacterial overgrowth in the gut.
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Affect intestinal motility
Alcohol can have different effects on bowel movements, or peristalsis.
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The rate and amount of alcohol you drink may also affect your ability to exercise. Drinking large amounts quickly may inhibit the rate of emptying, but drinking large amounts over time may cause the intestines to empty more quickly.
IBD and alcohol
Some evidence suggests alcohol interferes with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).in a
However, drinking red wine may have beneficial effects on inflammation, thereby improving inflammatory bowel disease symptoms.
Currently, it is unknown whether alcohol contributes to the development of IBD. Additionally, the researchers’ evidence was insufficient to provide general advice about drinking alcohol. However, data suggests it has a negative impact on IBD symptoms.
Learn more about IBD.
Drinking alcohol can cause or increase the risk of a variety of gastrointestinal-related problems. Some potential effects that long-term alcohol consumption may have on the digestive tract include:
- gastritis: Long-term drinking may irritate the stomach lining (gastritis), leading to problems such as ulcers, bleeding, and erosion.
- ulcer: Drinking alcohol may cause stomach ulcers.
- Cancer risk: Drinking alcohol can increase your risk of certain cancers, such as:
If constipation or other problems occur as a result of drinking alcohol, a person may not experience any symptoms. When they do occur, they may include:
- abdominal pain or discomfort
- lose weight
- Feeling too full during or after a meal
- Loss of appetite
Learn more about the short- and long-term effects of alcohol.
Preventing constipation when drinking alcohol may require people to make changes in their daily lives.Some tips to prevent dehydration
- Eat more fiber throughout the day
- Drink lots of water, this
It might also be helpfulPrevent hangover
- exercise regularly
- Try to have a bowel movement at the same time every day
Learn about natural remedies for constipation.
Drinking large amounts of alcohol too quickly can lead to alcohol poisoning. Alcohol poisoning occurs when excess alcohol in the blood causes vital functions such as breathing and heart to stop.
If someone around you shows any of the following signs, seek emergency help immediately:
- epileptic seizure
- difficulty maintaining consciousness
- clammy skin
- extremely hypothermic
- Slowed breathing or heart rate
If a person feels like they need alcohol, has a few drinks a day, or finds that alcohol affects their ability to function, consider talking to a counselor, doctor, or support group.
Support groups, specialists, and other therapies may be able to help a person stop drinking or at least reduce the amount of alcohol they drink.
Learn about alcohol use disorder and the treatments available.
Drinking alcohol can cause constipation due to dehydration and slowed bowel emptying. It may also cause bacterial overgrowth or worsen IBD symptoms, which may include constipation.
Beverages with higher alcohol content may increase the risk of constipation. However, long-term drinking may cause a person to have diarrhea or hasten bowel emptying.
People concerned about constipation may consider eating more fiber, drinking more water, and exercising regularly. These steps may help prevent constipation problems when drinking alcohol.