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Can Drinking Alcohol Mess with Your Poop?

Written and reviewed by
Dr. Kiran Kalyankar 91% (359 ratings)
MD - Ayurveda, Bachelor of Ayurveda, Medicine and Surgery (BAMS), Diploma in Yog and Ayurveda
Ayurvedic Doctor, Navi Mumbai  •  16 years experience
Can Drinking Alcohol Mess with Your Poop?

Consuming too much alcohol can cause people a lot of problems like nausea and headache. Additionally, it can also mess up with your bowel movements and affects your motions by giving you loose motions or constipation. Alcohol hinders digestion, causes dehydration and drying out, discourages glucose metabolism and compromises the working of the central and peripheral nervous systems. The combined effect of these components is the primary reason for chronic constipation, identified with alcohol misuse.

Here are a few reasons why and how alcohol can mess up with your poop:

  1. Dehydration: Alcohol tends to dehydrate the body almost as much as a session in a sauna does. That is the reason your mouth feels so dry the next morning. Once your body gets dehydrated, it works extra minutes to recover the liquids and electrolytes from any place it can find them, including from the substance of your stomach. Accordingly, stools become dry, hard and difficult to pass.
  2. Powerlessness to move bowels: Alcohol smothers intestinal peristalsis and kills the urge to move your bowels. For the same reason, it kills your decision making ability. Inability to move your bowel when you want, expands, impacts and solidifies the already dried out stools until it gets too difficult to go out without straining and subjecting yourself to anorectal harm. These are the two issues that usually precede chronic constipation.
  3. Loss of electrolytes: Alcohol causes loss of electrolytes that are vital to hold dampness in the poop. Eg. Sodium and potassium. Water maintenance in the body and stools requires sodium and potassium, the minerals known as electrolytes. These are not stored in the body for the same prolonged way as calcium or magnesium and they require constant replenishment. Since alcohol stimulates urination and regularly causes diarrhea and nausea, these minerals are rapidly lost.
  4. Occupies digestion: Alcohol in excess causes extreme vomiting that encourages the majority of the above conditions. Liquor hinders stomach absorption and causes deferred stomach emptying. This condition is known as gastroparesis. After around 8 to 10 hours inside the stomach, undigested proteins begin to spoil. This can lead to loss of appetite and the inability to eat proper meals.
  5. Diarrhea: Alcohol affects your glucose level to such a degree that it might bring about loss of bowel capacity control and result in loose bowels, with symptoms like vomiting and nausea. Just like sometimes the knees go powerless on you from an excessive amount of alcohol, so does your bowel movement. In turn, diarrhea and vomiting are caused due to excess intake of alcohol may bring about serious irritation of the whole GI tract and digestive system, and fester in the body for quite a while. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a doctor and ask a free question.
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