Alcohol Use Disorder Increases the Risk of Irritable Bowel Disease PMC

Alcohol Use Disorder Increases the Risk of Irritable Bowel Disease PMC

alcohol and ibs

The popular use of d-glucitol in cough mixtures, cough drops, and various pharmaceutical syrups also began to receive attention; all of them have been reported as potential causes of diarrhea especially in infants. Such products were, however, beneficial from a dental standpoint, provided that d-glucitol replaced all fermentable carbohydrates previously used in such products. This was clearly a positive property of d-glucitol-containing items.

alcohol and ibs

Use of this website and any information contained herein is governed by the Healthgrades User Agreement. The content on Healthgrades does not provide medical advice. Always consult a medical provider for diagnosis and treatment. Alcohol can speed up peristalsis (the movement of the muscles of the intestine), further increasing the risk, severity, or frequency of diarrhea.

What causes IBS?

Eating fried foods can lead to uncomfortable digestive symptoms and even cause health problems. A small study from 2022 suggests that a gluten-free diet can improve IBS symptoms in a significant number of people studied, though the mechanism is unclear. Another small study from 2022 found that following a gluten-free diet improved pain frequency and severity.

  • Nesterin also described a large number of animal experiments.
  • People who have IBS tend to initially keep a food diary, writing down everything they consume to try and narrow down a reason as to why they are experiencing these symptoms.
  • Compared with a 45 g sucrose dose, 50 g xylitol in water significantly increased the number of subjects reporting nausea, bloating, borborygmus, colic, watery feces, and total bowel movement frequency.
  • Alcohol affects the intestines of the body, thus leading to inflammation and more IBS symptoms.

These alcoholic beverages are not digested well by the stomach, especially for those who have Irritable Bowel Syndrome. When consuming these alcohols one may find that it makes their usual symptoms worse, such as more pain or diarrhea. The reason these alcoholic drinks are low in FODMAP is that they’re easier on the stomach.

Alcohol and FODMAPs

When a person consumes solutions containing excessive amounts of carbohydrates and polyols (or salt), water can draw from the body into the gut lumen, causing osmotic diarrhea. This can naturally also result from a disease condition (such as pancreatic disease). In healthy individuals, too-large quantities of common substances such as vitamin C, magnesium salts, lactose, and certain antibiotics may cause severe cases of osmotic diarrhea and bowel distension. Owing to its simple physical cause, osmotic diarrhea normally stops completely when the use of the offending agent is discontinued.

One source recommends consuming up to 1 tablespoon of linseeds (flaxseed) per day. Drink plenty of water to help prevent both constipation and dehydration in the case of diarrhea. Avoiding or limiting high FODMAP foods, artificial sweeteners, caffeine, and spicy foods may help manage symptoms of IBS, although triggers will vary between individuals. There are also some other ways in which alcohol and IBS may have a relationship to one another. Having a healthy, balanced diet is important to keep IBS symptoms at bay, but people who drink excessively are often lacking in key nutrients and can even become malnourished.

  • Stress and nervous system problems can lead to IBS flare-ups.
  • Aside from the possible central cause of CRF pathway dysfunction, alcohol itself may also directly influence IBS development.
  • Even if you consume a low FODMAP alcohol, mixers in alcoholic drinks can often cause digestive problems too.
  • After ingestion of xylitol, gastric emptying was markedly prolonged.
  • The low FODMAP diet involves elimination and reintroduction phases and may be difficult to follow without the help of a healthcare professional.

This late effect may not make you sure about what triggered your symptoms. So, we can say yes, IBS may be caused by alcohol in people who over-consume it for long periods. This is due to the different sensitivities to alcohol across different persons. On the other hand, others may have a bad experience with their IBS just from having one drink. So, the relationship between alcohol and IBS is complicated, and alcohol effects are subject to individual variations. In this article, I’ll do my best to answer all your questions and provide evidence-based data to help you.

Housecall: Alcohol — risks, benefits and why moderation is key

Lifestyle factors like stress or gastrointestinal illnesses can also trigger an IBS flare-up. These safety aspects include gastrointestinal effects of xylitol, such as its slow absorption and potential causing of osmotic diarrhea in situations where recommended upper consumption limits are exceeded by unaccustomed subjects. Lactitol [4-O-(β-d-galactopyranosyl)-d-glucose; molar mass 344.31] passes through the small intestine almost completely unabsorbed and is subject to microbial fermentation in the distal parts of the gut. Lactitol can cause flatulence and osmotic diarrhea in some individuals, since most subjects lack the necessary β-galactosidase enzyme in the upper gastrointestinal tract. After reaching the large intestine, the lactitol molecules can pull water into the gut lumen by simple osmosis. In a human study, consumption of 5 g of lactitol per day resulted in no gastrointestinal distress, while 10 g per day did cause some changes [53].

Oats are often processed in gluten-containing facilities, which increases the chance of cross-contamination with gluten. If you’re extremely sensitive to gluten, you can look for products that specify on the packaging that they’re processed in a gluten-free facility. Foods rich in insoluble fiber may worsen IBS symptoms in some people, but others may not have symptoms from these foods. Too many people have taken the Surgeon General’s advice as gospel and assumed that because there’s a safe level that you can drink every day, that you should drink every single day. The science behind the idea has to do with saturation levels, and the more alcohol the food in your stomach soaks up, the less chance there is that it will aggravate the lining of your stomach and cause your symptoms to manifest. We’re going to quickly run through some of the guidelines that you should be sticking to like crazy glue if you want to enjoy alcohol moderately and make sure that it doesn’t trigger symptoms that you desperately want to avoid.

alcohol and ibs

People with frequent gastrointestinal problems need to consult with a medical health professional to get the necessary treatment. Diarrhea, constipation, and stomach pain occur more frequently and severely in heavy drinkers. If they are not addressed individually, they can cause long-term damage to the body. Consuming FODMAP foods or beverages can cause abdominal pain and bloat, and those with IBS should avoid them. Sodium nitrate, a preservative that’s used in some processed meats, such as bacon, jerky and luncheon meats, could increase your heart disease risk.

The Link Between the Gut and Mental Health

By this, I mean that it is triggering symptoms and not the cause of symptoms. This underlying cause of IBS symptoms is different from person to person, but by addressing this and supporting gut health triggers become less of an issue. Foods and drinks containing alcohol may trigger IBS symptoms, and some research suggests high alcohol consumption may increase the risk of developing IBS. Even some light drinking can lead to an IBS flare-up, so those diagnosed with IBS should avoid alcoholic beverages and mixers which can have high fructose corn syrup. While there is no formal cure for IBS, the treatment often consists of symptom management such as limiting specific foods and avoiding alcohol.


Some people’s bodies have a severe immune reaction to gluten, known as celiac disease. These conditions share symptoms with diarrhea-predominant IBS. Even some healthy foods can generate digestive discomfort, including beans and cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli and Brussels sprouts, as well as nutritional and weight-reduction supplements.

If you or a loved one are struggling with alcohol abuse, contact our helpline to learn about our addiction treatment services. Alcohol weakens the immune system and lowers the number of nutrients in the small intestine. If the lining of the small intestine is damaged, celiac disease may occur.

Which foods can trigger IBS?

Be sure to read labels and avoid taking in too much added sugar. The fermentation process takes out most of the lactose, so it’s fine if you’re lactose intolerant. You can also find non-dairy options, such as eco sober house ma coconut kefirs. Even if you aren’t lactose intolerant, lactose is one of the fermentable oligo-, di-, mono-saccharides and polyols (FODMAPs). You can add a small amount of sugar (not artificial sweeteners).

When drinking alcohol with IBS avoid fizzy beverages and sweet wines. Also, avoid binge drinking because it raises the acidity of stomach acid and creates inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract. First, the NHIRD does not include patients’ personal histories, including smoking, diet, occupational exposure, and family disease information. Second, accurate diagnosis depends on ICD-9 coding by the treating physician in this study. However, NHIRD covers a highly representative sample of Taiwan’s general population because the reimbursement policy is universal and operated by a single-buyer, the government in Taiwan.

They can improve the makeup of your gut bacteria, and theoretically reduce symptoms. Read on to learn about the effects of alcohol on IBS, discover which tipples are the most gut-friendly, and read some tips on how to drink responsibly with IBS. Because there is little information as to the interaction of IBS and alcohol, the answer as to whether or not you should be drinking if you have IBS seems to be that it is a fairly personal decision.

Heavy alcohol intake can exacerbate IBS symptoms and lead to other problems in your digestive system. Stress, emotional state, social factors, food, and drink all interact in a complicated way to increase the symptoms of IBS. However, IBS coupled with the prolonged use of alcohol complicates the diagnosis. IBS and alcohol use share similar signs and symptoms and are often co-occurring. There seem to be mixed reviews on this question, with no definite answer. However, everyone seems to agree that the reason why the answer to this question is so elusive, is  because everyone’s alcohol habits and IBS triggers vary greatly.

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