Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Does alcohol cause constipation?"
Is it true that drinking alcohol can interfere with your pooping? I don't drink very frequently (though when I do drink, I drink my share!) and I noticed that for a few days afterwards, my whole digestive system seems out of whack. But I thought that alcohol was good for your digestion?
Alcohol has been shown to cause constipation because of many of the side effects associated with drinking. These side effects can be exacerbated by binge drinking or excessive drinking intermittently. The causes of the constipation are numerous. Dehydration is very common after drinking alcohol, even in small amounts (this is why we have increased urination while we drink) and can be associated with constipation. One method to combat dehydration is by drinking water and/or gatorade while drinking alcohol to help hydrate the body and avoid the dehydration that can affect bowel movements. Alcohol causes electrolyte imbalances which can cause constipation. Again drinking gatorade or other nonalcoholic liquids infused with electrolytes can combat the ensuing constipation. Alcohol has also been shown to cause bowel irritation which can cause constipation or diarrhea. It is very important that when drinking alcohol, try to drink in a moderate fashion, and maintain hydration with water and gatorade to decrease the associated side effects of alcohol which can then also cause you to have constipation. This is also important for maintaining an overall healthy body and mind. Consult your primary care physician for further information on detrimental effects of alcohol and how to avoid associated side effects including constipation.
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