Alcohol and IBS - Is Alcohol an IBS Trigger?
Tip Takeaway: When it comes to IBS, alcohol is the devil's brew. Avoid completely, or limit your drinking to small quantities, infrequent occasions, and happy (not stressful) events.
- Is alcohol an IBS trigger? Yes! Alcohol is a strong GI irritant (and a potential colon carcinogen).
- It can cause painful spasms, urgency, and diarrhea, as well as bloating and rebound constipation.
- The worst drinks? Ones that contain other IBS triggers as well:
- Carbonation (beer, champagne)
- Coffee (regular, decaf, lattes, doesn't matter)
- Dairy or coconut cream (pina coladas, creme liqueurs)
- Fruit juices that are high in fructose (a FODMAP)
- Does this mean that you can never drink any alcohol at all ever again? It might - but maybe not.
- If you're not sure alcohol bothers you, eliminate it and get your diet stabilized.
- Don't just assume one drink won't hurt you, so you never take the step of eliminating all alcohol.
- This is a very common pattern with the foods and drinks people really don't want to give up - a juicy steak, ice cream sundaes, or that favorite cocktail before dinner.
- I definitely sympathize - but it's better to know for sure how your body reacts to triggers.
- IBS doesn't often respond to wishful thinking. Unfortunately.
- Already stable? Carefully try one drink and see how it affects you.
- Tolerance is greater when your IBS is stable, as your GI tract is less hypersensitive.
- How you drink, not just what you drink, could make quite a difference.
- One light drink after a high soluble fiber meal or a dose of Tummy Fiber may be tolerable.
- This is especially likely on an occasional (instead of daily) basis.
- Judging by reader feedback, white wine may be safer for IBS than red, and beer seems to be big trouble.
- Having a drink when you're feeling relaxed instead of stressed can make a difference as well.
- If you do drink, have at least one glass of water for each alcoholic beverage.
- Alcohol is very dehydrating, and this seriously impacts constipation and bloating.
- Even better, follow up your booze with actively helpful drinks like Fennel or Peppermint Tummy Teas.
- A happy exception? Cooking with alcohol is usually very tolerable.
- The alcohol evaporates and carbonation dissipates. You'll get all of the flavor but none of the risk!
- Special case: if you have Crohn's or ulcerative colitis as well as IBS, avoid alcohol completely.
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