Can alcohol cause diarrhea for days? Do you get diarrhea after drinking beer? Do you also get diarrhea after drinking red wine?
Alcohol and diarrhea seem to have a strange affinity for one another, and just to make sure, we have taken a look at the all medical explanations to this phenomenon so you will have a better idea of what is happening to your body whenever you make a beeline for the toilet the next day. Your gut feels like exploding for no reason. We must know these little things, so we also know what we are getting ourselves into when we go out for a night of socializing and drinking.
The Big Question
Why does it happen? What happens to the body when we drink alcohol? Here are some answers, tips, and guidelines so you won’t suffer as much.
Alcohol has a twofold effect on the body.
The first thing it does when it enters the body is it suppressed the production of vasopressin, which is responsible for keeping you hydrated (literally, so you won’t dry out). Vasopressin keeps water in the body, and when vasopressin levels are low, you will make a beeline for the toilet for number one.
Everyone is aware that alcohol can make you pee, though the impact is different for each person. Some pee like a river (or a waterfall), while others don’t pee that much because their bodies are so used to alcohol.
But then again, there’s the gut-wrenching event the next day. You feel like you have diarrhea. You may run to the toilet more than twice the next day. You don’t feel right. This is the dreaded ‘runs’ that people hate after a night of drinking.
What happens is that the alcohol reaches the gut before the liver can detoxify it. The bacteria in the stomach are the ones responsible for the pain, and the ‘runs’ to the toilet.
The bacteria feed on the alcohol, and their byproducts are what you feel the next day. You feel bloated and heavy for no particular reason. And you just have to go to the toilet because it feels so wrong.
This phenomenon is called gut motility, and the more motile your intestines are, the more you will run to the toilet. Think of this is a natural effect of alcohol on the body. It’s sort of an equal effect – you enjoy your beer and cocktails, and the intestines go into hyper-drive the next day.
If you are wondering what type of alcohol is most responsible for the worst kinds of runs, then we have you covered. Studies show that the more concentrated the alcohol is, the worse the effects are on the body.
This is basic science – the solution with the highest volume will likely cause the worst side effects. But then again, not everyone gets the same results, so it would be best to gauge your capacity to drink. Don’t overdo it if the side effects are not tolerable.
Another way to soften the blow to your gut is by switching it up. If one type of alcohol is always causing cramps and diarrhea, then it’s vital that you avoid that, or lessen your consumption of it. Switch to other kinds of spirits that may have less of an effect on your gut. Out guts have specific compositions (imagine a slide rule), and not everything that other people drink is going to be perfect for your intestines.
The problem is always the speed at which things happen: the body takes its time in metabolizing the alcohol, and bacteria in your intestines are interested in fermenting the booze that is already in it.
There is no way to stop the process, and drinking for years may not address the issue because technically, it’s not a problem for the bacteria in the gut. Your liver, on the other hand, is equipped to detoxify the alcohol, but not before it does full round on your small and large intestines.
But is it deadly to have the runs after a full night of drinking?
Despite the feeling that you are dying from the constant running to the toilet, the answer is no, and you are not dying.
However, diarrhea should stop shortly within the day, and if you are still running to the bathroom after two days, there might be something wrong, and it might be severe. We recommend that you visit your GP immediately if this is the case.
Take note that some people with health conditions are more prone to diarrhea after consuming alcohol. These are people with celiac disease, folks with IBS or irritable bowel syndrome, and Chron’s disease.
Chron’s disease, specifically, is an excruciating GI tract problem. If you have Chron’s disease, you should avoid drinking altogether as the illness and alcohol are not compatible at all, and you will be setting yourself up for a lot of pain just by consuming this beverage.
If you want diarrhea to stop faster, you need to take these reminders to heart:
- If you are suffering from diarrhea already, do not take any more alcoholic beverages. This should be obvious because you are already experiencing discomfort, and more alcohol will prolong your pain.
- Give your gut a break. Don’t start your day with anything meaty or greasy. Lay back on the dairy for now. You can eat any of the following that is relatively kind to the intestines: soda crackers, bananas, bread, rice, and some chicken. Pork and beef are off the menu. Don’t even think of ordering anything dense Mexican food, because your gut is going to go boom on you.
- Cereals and whole-grain food items are not recommended when you are suffering from alcohol-induced diarrhea. The fiber may cause further bloating, and you will not like it.