Alcohol and Diarrhea

If you have ever had a bit too much alcohol and wound up spending the rest of your evening in the bathroom with a serious case of diarrhea, you might be wondering what happened. This is actually a very common side effect of imbibing, and there are reasons why.

When you drink alcohol, several things happen to your digestive tract and intestines. The more often you drink, the more likely you are to suffer from these problems, but it can happen if you aren’t much of a drinker at all. The most common issue is that as your intestines absorb alcohol, they lose the ability to absorb water. This is one of the reasons why you feel so terrible during a hangover – you’re very dehydrated, even if you drank a great deal of alcohol the night before.

In addition, alcohol depresses the movement of your digestive tract. When the muscles don’t move as fast, you might find that you are sensitive to foods with high sugar content. You might also notice that you have diarrhea that comes on very quickly after eating. This is because your body isn’t absorbing enough water to mix with the food, and your muscles aren’t doing their job of digesting the food properly.

Finally, alcohol can reduce the muscle contractions in the rectum and large intestine. The result is the same – reduced time for the food to move through your body, and diarrhea as a consequence. All of these issues can lead to excess fluid from the intestinal lining, and combined with the absorption problems, that can lead to significant diarrhea.

In addition, this problem with diarrhea is often more sinister than it seems. Sometimes you might feel as though you need to pass gas, but that turns into an uncontrolled diarrhea episode. This can be both bothersome and embarrassing, depending upon the situation.

The problem with diarrhea usually lasts for several hours, or until the alcohol is cleared from your digestive system. Keep in mind that your chances of developing diarrhea vary greatly depending upon your physiological makeup, your tolerance for alcohol and how much you had to drink.