Alcohol and Diarrhea

Drunk, angry bowels strike back!

girl sits in a toilet with an alcohol bottle from solvingtheibspuzzle.com

“In one end and out the other.” But you don’t have to party hard to have problems with alcohol and diarrhea.
© Bigstockphoto.com

Alcohol and diarrhea often go together, particularly if you are suffering from irritable bowel syndrome.  Alcohol irritates the digestive tract in general, and if you have sensitive bowels, well, let’s just say that instead of “driving the porcelain bus”, you may be riding it. :( Since many people don’t even know they have irritable bowel syndrome you may want to check the IBS symptoms page. You may find out you’ve been sick, and there is help. Now I’ve got no gripe with alcohol. I’m part Irish, and you know the reputation  ;), but I almost never drink alcohol of any kind because…

Alcohol and IBS don’t go well together.

If you’re already struggling with diarrhea, alcohol can make it worse. If you’re currently between bouts of IBS, alcohol can trigger an attack! For other foods that may trigger IBS, see Foods to Avoid with IBS. Alcohol irritates the lining of your bowels even if you don’t have IBS, but for those of us that do (%20 of the population by many estimates), that irritation can lead to belly pain, diarrhea or even constipation. That’s right, alcohol can cause constipation as well as diarrhea. For me, a few hours of warm fuzzy feeling isn’t worth two or more days of alcohol diarrhea and bowel pain (make that agony).

Woman relaxing with wine by the fire from solvingtheibspuzzle.com

A cozy evening at home with a glass of wine, a few hours before disaster strikes.
© Bigstockphoto.com

How does alcohol cause diarrhea?

Well as I’ve mentioned above, Alcohol itself irritates the lining of the bowel, but many ingredients in your favorite

booze may cause IBS symptoms. For instance if you have:

  • Wheat intolerance – Most beer is made from wheat or related grains.
  • Celiac – This is a genetic form of grain intolerance.
  • Yeast – Many people have a yeast intolerance or allergy.
  • Sulfites – A kind of preservative that many people have a food sensitivity to.
  • Serotonin problem – Okay this part is a guess, but since there is more serotonin in your bowels (%90), than in your brain (%10), and since alcohol is a nervous system depressant, I believe they’re related.  I know I feel pretty down for a day or two after drinking even small amounts.
  • Bowel spasms - The irritation from alcohol (or many other foods) can cause spasms that lead to diarrhea OR constipation. It also hurts like heck!

What about alcohol and constipation?

Yes, many people get constipated from drinking alcohol. Painful bowel spasms (cramps) can stop up your colon, causing hard dry stool. Alcohol can also cause dehydration (remember how you had to pee, like 50 times), which can cause constipation or make it worse.

Alcohol and bad choices:

Alcohol has an amazing way of making a pile of greasy french fries seem like a great idea! Come on, a few won’t hurt, right?  How about some Pizza for those people that really not should eat dairy and/or wheat? MMMMM, I could go for some Chinese food! Chicken fingers and grease and MSG, OH MY! Alcohol helps us choose things we shouldn’t be eating if we have food sensitivities or IBS food triggers. Of course it can help you make other bad decisions but those are none my business ;).

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not lecturing against alcohol.

I miss having “a few beers” with friends, or some wine with dinner. It’s just not worth it for me. I know alcohol, diarrhea and abdominal pain will plague me for days.  That along with feeling down is more than enough to keep me away from the booze. I still miss it though.

Alcohol and diarrhea. What can you do?

Woman on the toilet with toilet paper from solvingtheibspuzzle.com

A few drinks the night before, and then nothing but sitting doing paperwork.
© Bigstockphoto.com

If you decide that you want to risk alcohol induced diarrhea or constipation, there are a few things you can try.  I’m NOT saying you should drink, but here they are: Find out if you have a food intolerance.  If you do, you may be able to find a form of alcohol that you can still drink. For instance if you are gluten intolerant or have problems with wheat, you might be able to drink wine.  If you’re sulfite intolerant, you could skip wine and try beer or even hard liquor. If it’s alcohol causing your diarrhea then these steps won’t help.  Also, you will still likely make the occassional “bad choice” for food etc. Frankly, I’d try giving it up. My life has been a lot better without it. And I’m Irish ;). Good luck and be safe! Shawn

Comments

  1. clair says

    Hi!
    Thanks so much for this… I used to suffer from ibs although its been better in recent times due to a better diet.
    However over the last 9 months or so I suffer really bad diarhea after drinking the night before… Even if its only one or two! I was worrying that maybe my liver was struggling, but now I realise it must be the ibs.
    So, panic over. I really want to cut out alcohol, and this will help…and I’m of Irish blood too, so well done you! I really hope I can cut it out too :)

    • says

      Thanks for sharing your story Clair. And thanks for appreciating my work, it means a lot to me. I hope the cutting out alcohol helps your IBS, even if it is tough on us Irish ;).

      • D says

        Irish and Dutch. Bad day today lol I laughed so hard a “driving porcelain god” good to know I’m not alone.. You are very kind and unconditional

      • Debbie says

        I know I have IBS and I know I’m an alcoholic. I was hoping the two were not realeted so i really need help!!

  2. Kirk says

    Shawn,

    I think you really hit on it with the Serotonin issue. I am not a doctor, but pardon the pun, my gut tells me that is dead on.

    I could literally feel going through that process when you described it on your page.

    Nice work. I have been looking for reasons to stop this stupid habit and messing with your serotonin is just NEVER fun.

    Thanks man!

    Kirk

    • Mark says

      I was searching the web trying to link bouts of depression followed by a horrible blast(s) of diarrhea – knee knocking, sweating, thank god you’re not in a mall kind. But interestingly, the bouts of diarrhea are nearly a cure, albeit temporary, for the bout of depression. It’s as though the depression starts as a toxin in the stomach and then spreads until the pressure valve finally releases (and the process starts all over again). I eat to fast, have horrible gas all the time and should stay away from ice cream but interesting I have not had a drop of alcohol in a year and would say the symptoms are very similar and, yes, maybe a little better. I have spent 30 years of adulthood trying to feel normal and can’t get there and can’t get a doctor to nail it. It just has to be food related. Do toxins build up or is that my imagination?

  3. Michelle says

    Shawn,

    Thanks for the post.
    I’m a 24 y/o female, diagnosed with IBS when I was 18 (Actually, was more of a diagnosis of elimination).
    I’ve been struggling the last few years to make sense of it all but I’m sick of suffering so I’m really going to buckle down and see just exactly causes my pain and other symptoms.

    I wanted to thank you for your posts and all your info – it will def. be useful for me the next few weeks!

    Thanks!
    ~Michelle

  4. peter says

    Interesting I am now 59yr old male and the last4-5 weeks I have had terrible diarreaoh within 3-4 hours of drinking even small amounts of alcohol l was diagnosed many years ago with IBS. ““`this never used to happen. Why do you think that it has started all of a sudden. What do you think I should do next?
    Thanks Peter.

    • says

      Well, I’m no doctor or anything, but if have you changed your diet in any way? Or switched to a different kind of alcohol? IBS bouts come and go. No one knows why (or they’re not telling), so it could just be a flare up. During the flare up you may be more sensitive to things like alcohol and coffee. Of course if you’re concerned I’d ask your doctor. I hope it helps. Shawn

  5. Megan says

    Wait….So that means you can NEVER drink with IBS? Not every once in awhile? I mean, Im not a big drinker AT ALL, but I would like to know that on occasion I can.

    • says

      Hi Megan, I’m not a big drinker either. I know that when I do, I pay a price. Some people are bothered by alcohol more than others too. So your experiences and choices may be different from other peoples’. Thanks for the question! Shawn

  6. Steve says

    Shawn – thanks for publishing your article. I stopped all alcohol about three weeks ago and all my symptoms went away. You helped me understand why. And I’m glad to know I’m not alone out there with this issue. My specialists didn’t mention that alcohol could be the cause of my issues. Anyway I’m alcohol free and intent to stay that way for the rest of my life. Thanks again.

    Steve

    • says

      Steve that is the BEST NEWS I’ve heard in a while from someone on this site!!!! Thank you SO MUCH for your comment. I hope it gives other people the courage to give it a try. Your comment will reach thousands of people and give others hope.

      Thanks again.
      Shawn

  7. amanda says

    i dont even like drinking but after being a single mo for 3 weeks cuz my husband works 13 to 14 hours a day iv had the itch to drink and chill. well on its own my stomach has been all sorts of messed up. but after drinking 2 smirnoff ice’s forget it. i just plain died last night. thanks so much i had no idea what was wrong with me for the past 2 months till now. :)

    • says

      I hear you Amanda. That can be rough. Just one thing though. Make sure you have your stomach checked out by a doctor or something. Better to catch things early!

      All the best, Shawn

  8. Paul says

    Hi Shawn,

    Great write-up here. Interesting to know that the symptoms can last for several days. I never had a problem till I ended up drinking a lot of wine one night. And have been paying the price for the last 3 days. I haven’t touched a drop since and am hopeful things will go back to normal soon.

    As for the wine. Not touching it again – not like that anyway. Nothing else seems to affect me like that so its gotta be the cause. No doubt the volume is also a contributing factor ;)

    Cheers,

    Paul

  9. Matt says

    Hi Shawn,

    I seem to get really bad stomach pains and diarrhoea if I drink rum. For some reason its the only drink that gives me this. It is my favourite drink as well. So theres no way of getting around these things?

  10. also, shawn(not irish/but north eu decent) says

    Thanx tons. I thought my symptoms might be the result of drinking on acutane many years prior. No physician could make a corrilation. No insurance now, so ive been doing every “self diagnosis” since. Wine gives me black stool which first scared me _hitless! Now im statring to learn whats a trigger and not.

  11. Mell says

    I went out drinking last night and being that ive known alcohol to be a trigger for quite a while now, it was a very bad idea. But now im intent on getting my IBS on track. Ive never actually been diagnosed professionally, but is there any way they can help ? Im only 19 and had this for a good 5 years :(

    • says

      There are things they can do to help. It’s also a good idea to rule out other things that could be causing problems. A visit to the doctor is probably in order. And cutting down on known triggers would certainly be a good idea :). Still it’s tough to be without your favorite foods or beverages. Good luck! Shawn

  12. Danielle says

    Hi shawn, just wondering if you could help me. I’ve been diagnosed with a wheat intolerance so beer is a no go! But i still find myself having problems after drinking any other type of alcohol. Is it just because im more prone to stomach and bowel issues?

    • says

      Hi Danielle, Well as the article says, alcohol can be a gut irritant. I can’t say if that’s why it’s causing you trouble, but I wouldn’t be surprised. It sounds like you’ve already figured out that alcohol and wheat give you trouble. The only way around that, that I’m aware of, is to avoid it. I haven’t had more than trace amounts of alcohol in years.

      Sorry for the bad news. :(

  13. Tina says

    Hi Shawn, I have been suffering from chronic diarrhea for over 4 years. Yes FOUR YEARS! I have been through every test possible and my doctors have not diagnosed my problem as IBS but I have no doubt that is my issue. I was told that I am more than likely lactose intolerant, so I take lactase when I have dairy products. But sometimes still have attacks. I have often felt like wine had a part in my attacks but wasn’t sure, or maybe just didn’t want it to be. Well, last night I indulged a little too much in the wine and OMG I feel terrible. I am giving up alcohol!! It isn’t worth it. My IBS is totally out of control right now and I am DONE with feeling like this. Thank you for confirming my “gut” feeling that alcohol was a major contributor to my attacks! Thanks for the article!!

    • says

      Thank YOU for your comment, Tina. 4 years is a long time to be suffering like that. I urge you to read about the food elimination diet! I’ve found that by getting some foods out of my diet, I feel MUCH BETTER.

      Here is the link to the food elimination diet page: http://solvingtheibspuzzle.com/food-elimination-diet.html.

      I hope you get some relief, and SOON. Good luck, and thanks again for telling your story! – Shawn

  14. mike says

    hi shawn

    well it took a long time for the penny to drop for me regarding alcohol and my ibs, drinking heavily over the last 15 years and eating crap food left me a mental and physical wreck, only having sought help over the last 12 months i finally have a label-IBS- and i’m glad, at least something to concentrate on to get better, i think a lot of people like me are ignorant that they have ibs, i tidied up my diet and cutting out wine beer spirits and all alcohol have left me feeling a lot better( still flare ups but nothing like compared to before) i think i kept the toilet roll industry in business alone for 15 years!nice site mate

  15. Rod says

    Hi Shawn, I have just returned from a great holiday in Menorca with my family and stupidly on my part I drank too much Jack Daniels on Sat night (3 days ago), my wife and I estimated it was around a 3rd of a bottle, in the space of an hour….its not often we get time on our own due to having an 18 month old, and the overseas measures are huge compared to the UK. Ive been suffering stomch problema and diarrhea since sunday, and the usual Imodium is not working. IIve had IBS for 20 years and know too much alcohol kills me, but being stupid and letting my hair down, I thought I would be fine! (idiot). Anyway, can you suggest something other than Imodium to stop the movements…I have had 6 tablets in the past 4 hours and its still not helped!!…can you point me in the right directon…Thanks and a great site. This is the end of my drinking exploits now…ive had enough!! Thanks.

    • says

      Hey Rod, Glad you had a great holiday. It’s easy to slip up when on vacation, either with food or alcohol. I don’t know how much Imodium the box recommends, but that sounds like quite a bit. Though I can’t give medical advice, my doctor has told me that dehydration can actually lead to gut troubles, including diarrhea. I bow to his greater knowledge. Alcohol and or diarrhea can cause dehydration. If it were me, I’d make sure to get a lot of water, and avoid coffee, tea, and soda. I hope you get some relief soon. – Shawn

  16. Lynn says

    Just a mention about black or tarry stools. Last year I had black and tarry stools and thought it was being caused by the wine I drank. Be warned that it is a sign of bleeding ulcers. I had black diarhea for several days and when I couldn’t get out of bed, husband took me to hospital ER. After 3 days in ICU and 2 units of blood, I discovered I had a major bleeding ulcer. BE careful if you see black stools.

    • says

      WOW! Thanks for the warning Lynn. I’m glad you made it through that close call. Please remember this one folks. Don’t take chances with your life. If ANYTHING weird is going on, it’s worth making a phone call to the doc or even a trip to the emergency room.

  17. Belle says

    Hi. I had gastric bypass surgery 7 yrs ago and developed craving for wine. Drinking everyday (never drank) before I’m having terrible bouts of diarrhea frequently and feeling depression and panic/anxiety. Anyone else relate to this? Or do you have any input about this? Thanks. Your article is great!

    • says

      Hi Belle, Somehow I missed this comment. I try to say thank you to everyone that rights. Sorry this is late. I’ve read there is a link between the brain, anxiety, and bowel trouble. I’ve never heard about someone developing a wine craving, but gastric bypass. I’ve read that alcohol is a nervous system depressant, and can be bad for people with depression and anxiety issues. I hope you’ll consider talking to your doc about this. It sounds miserable! – Shawn

    • Tracy says

      Belle
      I, unfortunately, have found out after my bypass surgery that a lot of people end up drinking a lot. I don’t know if it’s just wine, but it is something , I think, people considering the surgery should be told. I have the same problem and struggling with it daily. I basically never really drank before and now I find it hard not to drink. Good luck to you! I also have anxiety attacks all the time and about stuff I shouldn’t be anxious about. :(

  18. Lisa V says

    Hi Shawn,

    Earlier this year (mid Feb) I had my gallbladder removed as there were 20 stones present and I had a lot of pain. During surgery it was discovered that I also have a fatty liver. After the surgery there were no problems drinking alcohol whatsoever. However, over the past 3 weeks on 3 separate occasions I had 1-2 drinks (vodka with cranberry or lime juice). The following morning for 1-2 days duration, I experienced horrible cramping and watery (explosive) diarrhea. Is this IBS or possibly complications from my surgery? I am a social drinker…usually no more than 1-3 drinks per week if that. Thanks in advance for your advice.

    • says

      Hi Lisa,
      I’m not giving advice here, I’m just relating what I’ve read. I’ve read that some people have problems with fructose malabsorption or sugary foods. I think that cranberry juice has a lot of corn syrup in it which might be part of the problem. There is also something I’ve read about called “bile salts diarrhea”. It’s also referred to as bile acid diarrhea, or bile acid malabsorption. No matter what you call it, It can cause serious problems with diarrhea after a gall bladder removal. It’s possible that changes in diet might help it. I’d talk to the doctor that either did, or recommended you have your gall bladder out, to see if there’s any help for it.

  19. John says

    I used to have severe IBS problems to the point where my day couldn’t begin anytime before noon. I had to drop classes and even not apply for morning jobs. I started lifting weights and I started taking a weight gainer. I have no lactose problems so I was taking my protein with milk and within a few weeks I noticed I wasn’t having stomach problems anymore.

    I went off the protein and the morning problems came back. I don’t know why but the protein shakes have allowed me to use the toilet like a normal person now. I am not sure if all protein shakes are the same or different but I use syntha 6. Maybe some folks who are into weights might look into this themselves.

    • says

      That’s very interesting John. I’ve heard of excercise helping IBS, but I’ve never heard of a protein shake helping it. If any of you out there have tried this, please let us know how you made out!

      • Dima says

        Many protein shakes include amino acid l-glutamine. That restores mucus membrane of the gut and decreases permeability and gut leakage

  20. Nicole says

    How encouraging to find such a great website. Ive suffered from IBS like symptoms my entire life. After an episode lasting almost a year and losing 40lbs while eating an insane amount of calories the tests finally began. No one took it serious. (Im 40) they found 10 polyps and allot of yeast. Im lactose and fructose intolerant and im prone to parasitic and bacterial infections. I also do not absorb fats. I can begin an exercise program and never eat enough. Sad to say i have to limit my physical activity to keep even my blood sugar from getting too low. It took a lot of pushing prodding pleading and tenacity to figure out it wasn’t just stress. That said all of these issues can be stressful for all of us….so ALCOHOL can help you relax in moderation but what to drink? Ive found if you do your research and find spirits beer or wine from a place that believes in minimal to no processing and uses organic ingredients you will see a huge difference. Im intolerant to wheat due to the fructose. Ive found that vodka is my friend and I STAY AWAY FROM SWEET MIXERS. Splash of club soda and alot of lime and i swear it actually sets my gut straight. Think it kills the bad stuff. Another thing…if you have alot of plant and weed and mold allergies your foods will cross into those areas. Even though vodka can be derived from wheat the distilling process takes the problems away, especially the more you $$$. It is a special treat these days for me.

    • says

      Hey Nicole,
      Thanks for the thorough description. So it sounds like you’re using alcohol to keep the stress levels down. Alcohol as self-medication. I’ll have to give that some thought. I’m concerned that could become a bad habit though. I’m glad you found some relief.

  21. Donnie says

    Several years ago I switched my pre-dinner cocktail from 2 Manhattans to 2 glasses of red wine. After a few weeks I started getting diarrhea 2-3 hours after drinking the wine. I switched back to Manhattans, and the diarrhea stopped. I’ve tried going back to red wine on many occasions, but the diarrhea returned. White wine does not affect me the same way, although it does frequently give me heartburn. I don’t think it’s due to sulfites, since there generally are more of these in the white’s, nor is it due to alcohol. I assume it must be an allergic reaction to something in red’s. Do you have any ideas about causes for this?

    • says

      Hi Donnie, I looked into this a bit. Some people do report having more IBS trouble with red wine rather than white. Not a lot of info about why. There are usually more sulfites in sweet wines than in dry. So a sweet red might have more than a dry white. I’m guessing on that though.

      There is a difference in how white wine is made too. They don’t use the skin. In reds they do. Do you have any problems with grapes in general?

      • Tim says

        I think by the process & grapes used, there a lot more histamines in red wine than white. I know of more than a few people that loved red wine, but had to take a Claratin or Benadryl to mitigate the allergic reactions.

        • says

          That’s interesting Tim. I looked into this because of your comment. I’ve always just heard that it was sulfites causing trouble with Red whine (though it’s in other wine too), but scientists are studying tyramines, histamines, prostaglandins, as other possible candidates. Red wine DOES seem to be a bigger player than the whites though.

  22. Liz says

    Hi I dont know if I have IBS but I do get an irritated stomach easily lately. I went to a concert had too much to drink like 5 beers and a shot of tequila. not good. I threw up in the morning which I never do. It was all watery acid then the last part came out as red blood. Ive been achy stomach the last 2 days after now. I pooped orange then yellow now brown and dark brown, doesnt look lik eblack stool so I dont thin there is blood in there. Ive got no insurance, im 28 and Im scared a bunch right now. I also have really bad anxiety which I think is making this all worse….sorry if this is not the right place but I need some sort of help and Ive been searchign and no luck so far.

    • says

      Liz,
      I know this isn’t what you want to hear.

      This is important.

      I’m going to email you as well.

      Go to a hospital. NOW.

      I know you’re scared. You should listen to that fear. I know you don’t have insurance.I don’t know where you live. But in most places there is a sliding scale (the less you have, the less you pay), or even free care if you can’t afford it.

      Going now could keep a small problem from becoming a BIG PROBLEM. I’m not trying to make you more scared. But you need to go. NOW. Please.

  23. Donnie says

    Thanks for your reply, Shawn. I don’t get the same reaction from eating grapes, red or white. Perhaps the fermentation process produces byproducts that cause my problem. There undoubtedly are many different variables involved in red vs. white wine production.

  24. Sarah says

    I just wanted to thank you for this very insightful article.
    I am only 19, so I haven’t had a chance to really experience any of things involving alcohol until recently at my friends 21st birthday party. I was spending the night so I decided since I wasn’t going anywhere that I could drink a little..
    Well, a little turned into more than I intended.. and I woke up feeling absolutely awful. Drank water, puked all that up (had an empty stomach aside) and oh my.. I have never experienced a bowel movement as watery as that. I chalked it up to having consumed a lot and eaten almost nothing, and it passed in 7 hours or so.

    Well. Last night I was at a bachelorette party and had a mudslide.. well, more like a fourth of a mudslide.. and woke up with the -same- problem..
    I was super concerned, that maybe something serious was wrong with me (these events were only a week apart)

    I will now be discussing IBS with my doctor whom I am lucky enough to keep no secrets from (I’m sure we’ve all had those doctors with absolutely no regard for patients feelings) as a possibility of this and other problems I’ve had for a while including bouts of terrible cramps nowhere near my menstrual cycle that birth control never helped and random bouts of constipation…

    So thank you! You’ve helped soothe my worries and give me some insight on what might be wrong.. maybe i’ll be completely pain free in the next couple of months!!

    • says

      Hi Sarah, I’m so glad you like this article. I’m even more glad you have the kind of doctor you can talk too. I really hope that you two find the answer, and soon! Something to consider might be a dairy or lactose intolerance. Maybe you had the standard “I drank way to much” experience the first time, and the second was a dairy issue. Just thinking out loud. I miss mudslides. :(

  25. Dave says

    Hi mate,

    I drink quite a lot (I know right) and as luck would have it, I suffer with IBS too!
    For four days I’ve had abdominal pain, a feeling of awful gastric discomfort, constipation and diarrhoea… Reading your post has given me a lot to think about, I feel a few days of pepper mint tea and lots of water is called for.

    Best advice for my IBS AND alcohol issue I’ve had in a while :)

    Thank you xx

  26. Harry says

    I haven’t been to any doctors yet, but I think I may have ibs and over the past 6 months or so my stomach hasn’t been well at all, I have about 2 glasses of red wine a day, and the days after I have had loose stools. The day after a binge like on week ends I get chronic diarrhea (liquid). After reading these posts I am going to give cutting alcohol out of my diet a try and see if this helps with my diarrhea. I will keep you posted over the next few days.

    • says

      Hi Harry. That sucks, but if cutting out the wine fixes you up, at least you have a fix. If it DOES’NT though, PLEASE see a doc. Chronic diarrhea can cause weird things to happen to your blood chemistry. Also, there may be something simple or something serious going on. Not trying to be a worry wart. Just saying. Please do keep us posted. Good luck!

  27. Emelia says

    Messages from the porcelain throne itself. All my life I have had issues with using the toilet and I’ve never had tests but my doctor told me its most likely IBS. Sadly I’ve had to give up dairy which is one of my favorites but I can enjoy the odd ice cream with the benefit of lactase pills. But I still have issues. I find myself going to the bathroom every hour with the runs after a night out. Usually mine ranges from diarrhea and hard stools, I don’t even know what q normal poo is like! I am quite young, only 20 and I do enjoy drinking with friends but I worry for ky health, because I know diarrhea can cause dehydration which can be dangerous. Usually I’m a strong drinker, vodka and tequila. Is it possible these spirits could cause a reaction or is it just the alcohol itself? Thanks for this site

    • says

      Sure, it’s possible that the hard liquor could be causing some or most of your problems. It’s also possible that you have a sensitivity to something in the kind of liquor you choose. I’ve read in many places that people have trouble with red wines due to sulfites or other issues. Beer can also give people some trouble who have sensitivities to wheat or other grains. Strong alcohol might make for a strong bowel irritant.

      HOWEVER!

      It’s very possible that you have something else going on entirely. If you’ve never had any testing done, I would strongly recommend going to a different doctor. It seems very unusual for a doctor to just write something off as IBS, with no testing or anything. There are all kinds of things that might be causing your problems. You might be suffering, and avoiding things that are not the true cause. Please look for better help. YOU ARE WAY TO YOUNG to just accept an off the cuff diagnosis, and suffer for the rest of your life. Keep trying. If you find something that helps you, please let us know back here (if you think of it). Thanks, and best of luck! – Shawn

  28. Cheryl Edwards says

    My husband has drank all his 63 years of life..now its almost 12 30 packs of beer a month…he has terrible diarrhea…is this from all the beer he is drinking

    • says

      Hi Cheryl,
      I can’t say for sure. I don’t know hime or his circumstances, or any other history. Also, I’m not a doctor, and don’t have any medical tests, etc. even if I was. If it were me, I’d stop for a few days to see if it makes a difference. But if he’s drinking at that rate, it doesn’t sound like he’d be open to quitting for a few days to see if it changes the diarrhea. In my opinion, it’s probably not helping.

  29. Kay says

    Oh my goodness! I am so relieved to know that there are people out there that can relate to these horrible issues! Misery loves company?! I have had THE worst time with alcohol and IBS! The cramps feel like contractions and the gas?!!! WHOA! My husband is sympathetic but yet cannot understand or relate to my symtoms. I WAS a beer enthusiast. IPA’s were my thing and with that also came severe acne at the age of 37. I am now 28 days alcohol free and as much as I miss it… I can finally eat without running to the restroom, I can layoff the makeup AND I don’t have to lay in the fetal position while waiting for the pain to subside. I agree… it’s just not worth it.

    • says

      A great story, Kay! I’m so glad you’re getting some relief, even if it means giving up something you really like. Thanks for sharing it to inspire others!

  30. shane says

    hi great website

    i was diagnosed with “ibs” about 6 years ago after a colonoscopy and endoscopy (spelling probably wrong) as i believed it was lactose intolerance it was not the case yet dairy gave me diarrhea so upon eliminating foods i discovered it was the combination of alcohol and dairy that did it so at the time i chose booze over dairy i was young and “invincible” aka dumb however upon growing up gave up my addictions and went clean and my diarrhea and stomach pain in my sides went away however recently i picked up smoking and booze back again over the Christmas break and years later it came back again so i gave up smoking and drinking and i am still in the same pain i believed was gone forever can’t have softdrink now either which is a new one…

    anyway that’s my story hopefully someone can learn what it is and cure it or least make th pain go away the constant dull pain becomes unbearable after awhile

    imo booze caused my ibs in the first place.. id be surprised if it isn’t some bacteria in your stomach caused by excessive drinking anywho im dribbling in more ways then one

    Shane on te phone on the toilet :-[

    • says

      Thanks for the compliment Shane. Thanks for sharing your story. I’m sure it WILL reach others, and help them out. I hope you can make your way back to feeling better. – Shawn

  31. Frida says

    Hello. Wow. The symptoms and such you listed fit exactly. Two days of feeling horrible and tons of loose bathroom visits after a night out drinking. And now that you mentioned the feeling down part, I can definitely relate. I’ve been feeling ridiculously depressed all day (last night was a rough liver night). I suffer from Crohns diseases, since 2008, and I’m right now struggling through a relapse, since the end of summer. The meds I was prescribed to get it under control in 2008/09 aren’t working this time arround unfortunately.. But the point is, thanks for your post, I’m definitely cutting down on my alcohol consumption (that’s hard though, being in college and all, but I’ll try). Because like you said, it’s not worth the, excuse my language, “shitty” feeling..
    Thanks!

    • says

      Hi Frida, From what I’ve read, Crohns is a tough illness! I’m glad you found something useful here. I wish you the best in cutting back on the alcohol, and I sincerely hope it makes a HUGE difference in how you feel. – Shawn

  32. says

    hi shawn my name is shawn too and i read what u were saying about IBS and what alcohols are bad for it. And i had an episode but i dont know if i really have ibs or its just the alcohol but i went out drinking n had 3 liquor mixed drinks n now today ive been feeling plugged up like my gut has just stopped working or like not doing its job u know. i havent vomited but its scary cuz i havent had the the hungry feelin i get when i need to eat and my stomach is giving me that full feeling but i havent ate anything since before i went out drinkin. do u have any idea whats wrong id appreciate your advice- or if anyone else on this site can help please let me know. thanks

    • says

      Hello Shawn! Please to hear from another Shawn. I just got to this comment, and I hope you’re doing MUCH better now. Sorry for the delay, but, work, life, etc. You know the drill I’m sure. Here’s my thoughts on it. Alcohol has caused me to feel just the way you describe. Dark, dark, port wine. Stopped me up but good. I don’t know how common that is, but it does happen. If it were me, I’d drink lots of liquid, and try to eat something.

      If that didn’t help after a day, or if there was any blood, I’d be calling the doc.

      Shawn

  33. Tim says

    Like a previous poster, I’ve battled with IBS for 4.5 years. Had all the tests, GI Specialist, MRI, CatScan, Upper/ lower XRays & nothing found. So more of a waste basket diagnosis. It made me so wary that I got down to only eating 1 meal per day. Admittedly, I’ve been abusing alcohol during that entire time (beer/ wine only). Recently I took a break from alcohol…about 10 days and my situation cleared up. I’m Irish as well. I was at a point where I thought I might have a problem, but slowing my roll was easier than I thought (which I was relieved). It was good to understand it was a bad habit as opposed to an addiction. I know I need to “pick my spots” and probably pay closer attention to how much or how frequent my consumption triggers my IBS. The short term fun is not worth the aggravation. I also noticed that once my situation started to clear up, my appetite came right back and I am eating 3+ meals a day. After only taking about 15 solid poops in 4.5 years is a miserable place to be. So thanks, Shawn for your site, forum and information.

    • says

      Tim, I think your story is very important. All the aggrevation of tests, and the misery of IBS, and quitting alcohol fixed it. Quitting alcohol is hard for lots of folks, and it’s a big part of a lot of cultures, and people’s social lives. Giving all that social stuff up, on top of the alcohol can be VERY difficult (been there done that).

      Thanks for sharing your story so that others can be moved by your example.

      Shawn

  34. sonia says

    Omg, I had been on a healthy diet to a point where my boddy got used to healthy food. So this one night in Las Vegas, I decided to eat a Tommy’s chili cheese burger with chili cheese fries never have had a problem with Tommy’s, so I get home and as soon as I start drinking my first beer i get a stomach discomfort. I knew it was the beer and burger which i wasnt getting a good reaction I still drank the beer. Next morning I woke up with a really bad stomach pain, nausea and diarrhea. It sucked so bad!

  35. michael says

    Hi I’m a huge drinker, but after reading this I tryd to see what makes my tummy happy or not, turns out its wine and if been paying the price for a week now I dident want except that my body was weak but thanx to shawn I know to look after myself

  36. Mel says

    Thanks heaps for that info!
    I was diagnosed with ibs last year and I knew that alcohol wasn’t helping but kept drinking anyway, staying clear of hard liquor as it set of the ibs the worst. But after two rounds now of drinking just beer, and becoming physically sick, and sufferring for days after, I have decided to give it up! I am going to miss having a couple with hubby when he gets home from work but in the end it will benefit me. I have vowed to allow myself only 2 or 3 on the odd occasion but for now i will be going cold turkey off the alcohol all together. I thank you for this well written thread as it has inspired me even more to do this for my own health :)

    • says

      Hi Mel, I’m glad you found the information useful! I’ve found that giving up alcohol itself wasn’t as difficult as the social aspect of it. “Having a couple” of drinks with the spouse or some friends is part of many cultures. It sure is here in the USA. I sure hope you have the best success! If you think of it, come back and let us know how you make out. Thanks! Shawn

  37. SHONA says

    HI! Thanks for the article. I had debilitating IBS in my late teen age years, to the point my social life was non existant and I knew where the safe bath rooms were during every daily trip. I am 28 now and had a beer earlier with dinner. It may not help that I rarely drink, but immediately after, I felt my face get hot, and my stomach rumble. I started to wonder if I was allergic to beer. Then after a few bathroom trips, I realized this old feeling is very familiar. IBS!! It will be another few months before I try a beer again. I am now contemplating taking all bread out of my diet. I know I should anyway. I still have small bouts of IBS but nothing like today. I used to drink beer, daily almost, during the college days.

    • says

      Wow! That sounds like a very difficult experience. Please let us know back here, if cutting out the beer helps. If you do decide to stop eating bread, please let us know if that helps either. Your experience may help others! Thanks Shona

  38. Dale says

    Hi Shawn,

    Currently in a motel room after a 4 day bender at Byron Bay music festival in Australia…and boy am i paying for it. That’s it I’m not drinking again :-) I’ve known about what drinking does to me for years, but i still do it. The pain i am in is unbearable :-( not worth it. Water and healthy living from now on. Cheers mate.

    Irish ancestors lol, i see a pattern here…haha

    • says

      Sorry for the delay in getting back to you Dale. Glad you had a great time. Sorry it sucked afterward though. Cheers to you. Good luck with staying on “the wagon”. It took ME a while.

  39. rick says

    Shawn,

    Thanks for your work! 53 y/o male and have had stomach issues-the D-what seems like years. Thought it might be milk/ ice cream/ dairy, but cheese has no bad results, so rule out lactose intol. (Won’t drink milk or ice cream when on the road still). Have drank red wine since 2005 more frequently and lately it proves to be a killer at times. Not a good morning after 3 or 4 glasses of red. I believe your ideas that the process in red wines-especially the fermentation involve so many acids- tartaric, malic ,citric acids, acetic, butyric, lactic and succinic acids can cause IBS flare-ups. Sometimes, additional acids, such as ascorbic, sorbic and sulfurous acids,are used and these can wreck havoc on a sensitive bowel. With me, vodka is the go to drink now and no side effects. I really believe moderation is the best way in anything, so I keep it low and slow. Thanks again for your service to us IBS’ers.

    • says

      I really appreciate that Rick. I really do. One thing about your comment. I’ve read that some people can have cheese when they can’t have milk because the bacteria eats up most of the milk sugar (lactose). I can get away with some harder cheeses, but milk, cream, even yogurt, all make me really sick.

      Thanks again for the kind words. Shawn

  40. aaron says

    around 8 years ago, i sat down to watch a game with a few cans of beer. never had any problems before. after drinking a couple, i had very bad very painful stomache cramps and diarreaha. didnt know beer caused it at the time. the next time i drank, just one sip of beer caused the same thing. i learned through a friend, to take a prilosec prior to drinking. it works!! but i cant drink more than a six pack without feeling bloated and sickly. i would like to know whats wrong, and thanks to your site, im almost certain its IBS. i have recently found, because of forgetting to take a prilosec, that liquor doesnt effect me like beer. im about to try wine.. but the memories of pain are making me want to run to the medicine cabinet first

  41. teep says

    Hi
    I suffered from IBS ill 2 yrs back and then through diet control, exercise and knowing what hurt me I brought it under full control. Antibiotics, whisky, red wine left me miserable for days together with bouts of loose motions
    Last week I took long flights from India to USA and drank a lot on the flights. Drank red wine, whisky, contreu and in large quantities. ( I curse myself). I also had to take antibiotics like Amoxicillin- 500 mg bd for my bad tooth as proscribed by the dentist in Amsterdam.
    Now, I have long bouts of diarrhoea since last night/ a day after my arrival? Hope my IBS does not return. What do you think and how long would it last.
    All my IBS pals, just don’t mess up with a stable condition like I did!!

    • says

      Hey there Teep. Yes, it’s so easy to “fall off the wagon” either with alcohol or junk food (my weekness) or coffee (my other weekness), only to end up sick as hell. From things I’ve read, antibiotics OR alcohol OR even traveling to a place with different water (or bacteria in the water) can cause diarrhea, abdominal pain, and other IBS symptoms.

      How long will it last? Tough call. I know when I “misbehave” my bowels can act up for as much as a week, but everyone is different. I hope by the time you get this, you’re over it! – Shawn

  42. Darlene says

    I am allergic to alcohol or at least a component of it. Even if I have it in cooked food (marinated, added to sauces, etc). It took me a very long time to figure it out because I hardly ever drank alcohol – but after charting everything I eat and drank I started to see the pattern. Within 24 to 36 hours afterwards it hits and the result is at least 2 hours of non-stop diarrhea with lots of abdomal pains, and sweating. By the end I’m dehydrated and get the shakes. I’ve learned to drink water throughout so at least I’m not as dehydrated. We suspect it is the sulphates and/or phosphates. Beets, and MSG does the same thing too me. Its not the drinking thats the issue it is the constant discussion at people’s homes and restaurants about making sure nothing is in the food or marinated, etc in the food that is exhausting, but well worth it.

    • says

      Hi Darlene, I agree. The constant conversations, and lack of understanding or knowledge can make it a really frustrating experience to socialize. I’m glad you found some of the things that trigger your attacks. Thank you for sharing your story. May it help others. – Shawn

  43. Esdaile says

    Thanks very much for that information regarding the alcohol-diorrea link. It is comforting to know one isn’t alone-benefit of the internet I suppose. You several times write “I am not a doctor”: it reminds me that many doctors no longer seem able to give basic advice such as you give. What you write is common sense, but with my 20 year (!) history of irritiable bowel NO doctor EVER suggested I should see if alcohol is part of the problem. Many years down the road, with countless experiments, backsliding tests etc mostly my own initiative supported by the internet, I have alas, alas identiifed a link in my case between drinking alcohol (yes, red wine worse than white) and “the runs”. I advise everyone to make their own food diary. It isnt as easy as some people pretend finding out those triggers but it keeping that diary does help. I went to a birthday party yesterday drank five glasses of white wine and am paying the price today. The truth is that it is alcohol wehich is one of the triggers for my diorrhea and I ahve to face it. I have known this for some time but your blog and the occasional testing (as yesterday,) are brutal reminders for me: What can be helpful-open a bank account and transfer the money that you used to spend on alcohol into the account. You will be plesantly surprised by the amount you can save and it can be a big consolation. Also maybe nice to think your government (if you dont like your government) is not getting that extra tax from you live and drink in the UK we are talking big money there! Thanks again Shawn for confirming what I feared and didnt like to admit. I think it is goodbye to demon drink for ever now.

    • says

      Esdaile, you have said some great things here. Saving the money you’d spend on alcohol, for instance. Thank you for well thought out words of wisdom. I’m glad something I or others have written helped you find some relief. I hope you continue putting aside that money and take a vacations somewhere nice. THANKS! – Shawn

  44. teep says

    Thank God, I got out of trouble in 4 days flat. No more nonsensical drinking. The joy of no IBS will compensate for any other minor joys!!!Thanks Shawn.

  45. John says

    Found this site using Google. I’ve had IBS for almost 1.5 years now and rarely/never drank in that time frime. 2 days ago was the first time I “partied” and drank (more than 1 beer) since I got diagnosed.

    And my god I’m I paying for it now. So much pain and toilet trips that I’m just boggled. Hadn’t had a attack this bad since god knows when. And of course I decided to eat something bad along with the alcahol..

    Alcohol = not worth it.

    Thanks for the post and site Shawn. It really helps to find out that you truely are not alone.

    • says

      You’re welcome John. I admit, I slip up and eat things I shouldn’t too. Not alcohol, but some other temptation. You’re SO right. Not worth it. I hope you’re feeling better. Thanks for your comment. – Shawn

  46. Tim says

    Been dealing with IBS for about 13 years. Was so bad at first that I wouldn’t even go out of my house without planning where I was going n where a bathroom was located. Tried forever it seemed to cut out what I could to get it under control but nothing really worked for long. Finally started taking Imodium on a daily basis. I wouldn’t recommend it to anybody but it really gave me a life back over the years when several doctors just told me it was in my head. Only downside is that the dose increases over time to continue working but at least I have a life. But even taking those pills drinking is an absolute no no for me.

    • says

      Hi Tim, I get very frustrated when doctors say “it’s all in your head”. “No doc, it’s coming out my butt.” Sorry for the graphic, but this makes me angry, and I think it’s very common. I’m glad you found something that helps, though taking that stuff every day worries me, and I can’t recommend it here. Still, you’ve got to live somehow.

      I wish you could find a doctor that could help. Sometimes naturopaths can be more sympathetic to your plight. Sometimes, depending on where you live, the doctor’s just aren’t as good (in general, there are always a mix, just like everything else).

      Is it possible you could travel to a place that has better medical care? I know it’s not very practical. Just trying to help. I wish you the best. – Shawn

  47. Kevin says

    I’m so glad i found this site!! About 3 years ago i was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis and that’s when i starting experiencing loose bowel movements the day(or a couple days) after drinking, and this is moderate to heavy drinking. When i have just a few beers and eat a lot the problem doesn’t seem to appear. I am 23 and drinking is pretty much a hobby for my friends. I hate the feeling where i’m the only one who has to watch my drinking and limit myself to 2 or 3 beers. These past few years i haven’t really had much of a social life because i decided to completely give up drinking which means i avoid putting myself in any situation where i have the opportunity to consume alcohol. A few years ago after classes my and a few college buddies decided to go to the pub and have a couple beers, which turned into more than a few beers. I had a lot. On the way home i was trying my hardest to keep my bowels under control. Right as i opened my room door i couldn’t hold it much longer. The first time i ever pooped my pants from when i can remember. I’m only 140 lbs and i feel like alcohol isn’t making things any better. I lost some friends and a whole chunk of my social life but hey! feeling much better without alcohol. Now thanks to this site alcohol = no more..

    • says

      Tough times, Kevin. I know what you mean about social life. But thinking back, if the thing that kept me and my friends together was having a few drinks, then maybe there wasn’t that much there in the first place.

      Even now though, I go to a cookout, and have to keep explaining that I don’t drink. Weird looks. etc. It’s a tough choice, but not really much of a choice. I’ll deal with the inconvenience of constantly explaining, rather than feeling that misery.

  48. Abs says

    Hi, I don’t suffer from IBS but I do love red wine. I have been drinking red wine for many years now – usually 4/5 glasses a night. As a result, I have suffered from terrible daily diarrhoea in the mornings (spoiling my day – worried about getting to work without an accident etc). I have recently had major surgery and when I came out of hospital I didn’t fancy drinking red wine (it tasted foul). That was 5 weeks ago now and I haven’t had red wine since before the operation (nor any other alcohol). No more diarrhoea!!! I knew it was the red wine causing this problem and I feel shamed that I wasn’t strong enough to give it up earlier. I WILL stay reformed!

  49. Irish D says

    Hi Shawn
    Im 27 i realy only get the runs only after a 2 day piss up pardon the french and by 2 days im 12pm till about 10pm i drink about 8 cans at 375mls a day but saturday and sunday i smash it but the diarrhea may only happen evry 3 or 4 months could this be due to my lack of respect of the grog or ibs may be both im half irish cuban and i was born in Australia so beers and Rums big part of my backround dont want to give up i own my own business never a DUI never had problems with te law or at home thanks for your post and time very helpfull

    Irish D

    • says

      Like I always say, I’m not a doctor, but what I think is that you may be having some kind of bowel flare up that comes and goes. If the alcohol were the problem I would think it would be more constant, since you drink regularly. Some people get flare ups. You may want to check with the doc, to make sure it’s not something like Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis. There could be some help for what’s ailing you. Or should I say aleing you (sorry, couldn’t resist). If you figure something out from this, will you let us know back here??? All the best to you! – Shawn

  50. Stephi_poo says

    I take a loperamide or two depending on how I’m feeling every day, and if I know I’m going to be drinking(or eating anything really acidic or greasy), I just take an extra one before going out and an extra one the next day and everything’s been great. I think that’s a good way to lead a life free of lava-like punishments and still have a few drinks. That’s what I recommend.

    • says

      Hello Stephi, I end up taking Loperamide (aka Imodium) when things get bad. If I’m careful about what I eat and drink, I’m usually in pretty good shape. Thanks for sharing your experience. I don’t know what the long term issues might be of taking it every day. I do know that it’s saved my butt ;) – Shawn P.S. lava like punishments was hilariously put.

  51. Ryan says

    Hi Shawn,

    I am 17 and Recently I have had trouble drinking very small amounts of liquor. Drinking 1-2 shots has made me throw up almost instantly and leaves me feeling nauseous and having diarrhea for 1-2 days. The same seems to happen with beer also. I have no idea what the problem is and wondered if you had any insight on this. Thanks

    • says

      Well Ryan, that’s pretty young for drinking. It’s illegal where I live. Shots are often hard on the stomach. Alcohol can certainly lead to diarrhea from what I’ve read. Hard liquor and beer usually have different “other” ingredients besides alcohol, so it’s likely the alcohol in my opinion. That means no drinking, at least the way I see it.

  52. BK says

    After all that i read here,I have a news for extreme alcohol lovers.I am a IBS patient since 4years and sadly just 23yrs old :( . yes it was hell finding that i had ibs,cos i had to undergo too many tests many doctors finally gastroentero confirmed this as ibs.everyone knows what ibs does.I will tell you few tips.

    1)When i drink beer(usually i drink no less than 3-5bottles i.e. 650ml each)next day i get such a pain which happens like poison in stomach.And it lasts for 4-8hours sometimes 12hours,later i get no normal.In this time i wudnt like to eat,drink anything,cannot move out from my room at least.do nothing,just sit or sleep without moving.
    -Conclusion : if u r a beer lover u might drink but only once in a while not often.atleast a month or two gap in between.preferably only 2 bottles :)

    2)I started drinking different brands now like whisky,scoth,vodka,tequila,wine,brandy etc.
    -Tequila went well not much probs next day,no much pain but tolerable.
    -whisky: few brands fked me to death,few worked very well,not much pain next day.
    -scotch: Best i can say that too only fewer brands,no big problems next day.
    -vodka,brandy,wine-i dnt like them though vodka,but i dnt prefer as vodka may be reason fr diarrhea(experienced as well suggested by others)

    All this process took me years of research,in between i visited doctor so many times and my position became stable to unstable vice versa but never got back normal when am at peak stages with diarrhea.

    NOTE: IBS patients when suffering diarrhea using normal tablets NEVER works.you should take tablets which contain Saccharomyces Boulardi etc which are perfect for IBS diarrhea and could be given only by a GASTROENTEROLOGIST.No other physician or doctors can treat you.Unfortunately worlds strongest diarrhea injection or medicine too will not work.

    I hope someone will find my experience valuable and take good care.

  53. jerry trevino says

    i am a drinker for years…i only drink beer but it is at least 10 beers everyday..am not proud to say it but i ben fighting this for years….i know all the advices maybe…but one more is not gonna hurt me…PLEASE CAN YOU INSPIRE ME TO QUIT…PLEASE…

    • says

      Hi Jerry,

      Quitting alcohol is hard for many people. If you are struggling to quit, I think the best thing you can do is go to AA. I know people there, and I’ve seen how they operate. It’s DEFINITELY worth it. It costs nothing but time, and of course the effort of resisting. YOU CAN BREAK THIS! Here:

      PLEASE give it a try. My father quit. I know people that quit. YOU can quit. I wish you the best. – Shawn

      • pat says

        I am in the same boat. I want to quit beer so bad. But i have heard terrible things about quitting cold turkey…..like even death. Please help. I dont want anyone to know.

        • says

          I don’t think you can die from quitting alcohol, even if you’re drinking a lot. If you’re afraid, your doc can reassure you. You’ll also probably lose a few pounds, which most people like.

          • regina says

            Hi Shawn, useful discussion here. I am sure many people will benefit from. I myself have been having problems with upset stomach lately, and have been trying to pinpoint the cause. But my main reason for writing is your statement regarding that quitting alcohol cold turkey, even if you drink a lot, is safe. I am a nurse anesthetist, so I have some knowledge about this matter. Look up DTs – short for delirium tremors. Acute withdrawal from alcohol consumption when you are a heavy chronic drinker could result in death. I have taken care of many patients in ICU who were there just so they can be safely weaned off. Patients can suffer from extremely high heart rates, blood pressure fluctuations, and just a myriad of life threatening symptoms. Patients have to be restrained so they don’t hurt themselves or others since they are not in control of their mental or physical behavior. Long story short, I am not giving advice as to what Is the best way to quit chronic alcoholism, but if you drink 3 or more alcoholic beverages every nite, quitting cold turkey, albeit a wonderful choice, should be a well thought out decision and should be researched. Hope this is helpful to someone. Happy Holidays!!!

  54. Jared says

    Just some friendly advice, im 28 years old and have similar issues as discussed in this blog. Diet modification is important, however I have found a few herbal remedies that have really helped reverse many of my symptoms. I highly recommend licorice root and slippery elm. Sorry but you will have to go to an actual health food store to buy these supplements (no sale at walmart.) These supplements are about 30 to 40 dollars a bottle.. But it works for me and would rather spend a little extra money to avoid misery. Probiotics like acidophillus are important too. I hope this information helps. Because it had certainly ended much of my ibs misery.

    • says

      Hi Jared. I’ve used licorice and slippery elm. I’ve read that licorice can mess with hormones if you take to much. Then again, too much of anything is usually a bad idea. Slippery elm has helped me in the past. HOWEVER, I ALWAYS PAID MUCH LESS than 30 or 40 dollars. You can get a bottle of licorice root and/or slippery elm online right now for about 5 bucks each, plus shipping.

      Thanks so much for the tips. I’m glad you’re feeling better. – Shawn

  55. Derek says

    Hello yesterday I drank fruit punch vodka and now I’m pooping watery bright orange/red poop.should I go to the ER.

    • says

      I’d like to have an answer for you. If you are ill you need to talk to a medical professional. If you get better, by the time you read this, it would probably still be a good idea to check with you doctor.

  56. gux says

    Well im kinda confused of what i got ,I drank a brandy heritage 3 days ago , the day after I drank it I woke up i started drinking water after 3/2 hrs i vomited the water & I reapetedly drank the water & i kept vomiting & it stopped later & in the evening i tried to eat bread it was hard swallowing & i even felt the food dropping in my stomach it felt so hard could you know what it is & how it can be treated

    • says

      Sorry Gux, that’s way beyond my “pay grade”. If this is new, and even if it’s not, I’d have it checked out. That DOES’T sound like IBS to me. – Shawn

  57. Bob says

    Have enjoyed wine for many years, up to a bottle a night. A couple of years ago noticed that white wine gave me heartburn so took a prilosec every day and everything ok. I stopped drinking wine about two months ago just to make sure I could and no problem. I was at 2 functions last week that both served wine and I drank a few glasses at each. Both times I had cramps and diahrrea 8 hours later. Several eliminations, right down to water with yellow mucous. The following day everything would be back to complete normal. Drank twice in two months, diahrrea twice in two months.
    It looks like my body has adapted to no wine, thus it will stay that way.
    Scheduled colonoscopy as a backup.

  58. Sarah says

    Thank you so much for posting this. I still feel like a freak when it comes to my IBS, and reading this made me feel so much better. I’m only 18 but if I even have one drink than I have horrible diarrhea for at least two days, so college life has been hard.

  59. Dutchy says

    Wow! I thought it was just me who had issues with alcohol and diarrhea.
    At first it happened after a few too many pints of pear cider….but everyone knows pear can cause ‘loose’ bowels in the most normal people.
    But then it was happening with just a glass of wine!
    Spirits seem to be fine – or cocktails. Wine kills me and that’s tragic because red is my drink of choice :(
    Think I’ll be carrying some Imodium with me at all times now and definitely not drinking on dates!!!!

  60. shashi says

    Hi Shawn ,first i would like to thank you for useful article!! I am 29 year old guy having drink(only beer) often since last 5 year,….but from last couple of weeks I am facing diarrhea,stomach ache,acidity after drinking 4 bottle of beer(each 12 oz) followed by heavy dinner !!
    Can you pls advise me how to avoid such reaction. Is something wrong with my liver !!

    • says

      Hi Shashi, A couple of weeks seems to early for self diagnosing IBS. Diarrhea for 2 weeks should definitely be checked out by your doctor, because it can mess up your blood chemistry (electrolytes). Also, it could be something your consuming WITH the beer. Poke around here for tips AFTER you’ve seen your medical pro.

      • Shashi says

        Thanks swan!!sure will share any such tips.
        But as I forgot to mention clearly that diarrhea and stomach pain takes place exactly next morning after my night drinking and stays with me for that full day only!! ….But its happening with me from last one month.

  61. Jo says

    This is the best website on IBS!! I’ve suffered for 15 years since my teens with my worst triggers being Coke, coffee, artificial sweeteners and fructose. The results of these being diarrhea and not being able to stand up straight due to the gas pains. Only just starting to eliminate these things and take IBS seriously. The alcohol trigger is one I never thought of. I’ve always suffered from agonizing tummy pains after drinking (along with terrible diarrhea) but it never occurred to me that it was the IBS, I just thought it was normal. I do love having a few drinks but after reading this article and all the great comments I’m happy to give it up.
    Thanks for all the great info!

  62. Kelly says

    Hi, Great website and I am so glad to learn what I always suspected, Wine in excess causes the runs. I am a recovering alcoholic and have not had any wine in 11 years. I also don’t have IBS anymore and I’m off of daily Lopermide and the little purple pill for Gerd. Turns out it was the alcohol causing them and they went away when I put the plug in the jug. My cholesterol also went down after quitting which made my doctor happy. I never knew that alcohol raises cholesterol. The only benefits seem to be for the small glass of wine drinkers. I was quite the opposite and at the end I drank two 2.4 liter bottles of wine a day. I looked 7 months pregnant and thank God I stopped or my liver surely would have! The thing no one mentioned was urine that smelled like wine and giving off a fruity smell. I was in having surgery and the surgeon told me he tested me for Diabetes because I smelled like a fruit salad! My health improved so much since giving it up but I do miss having a glass at times. Well for me a glass was a 20 oz. tumbler with ice cubes to keep it cold… I was not into wine for the enjoyment of it but for the effects. I also did not know about the seratonin connection but it makes sense. I’m much happier now and I had depression to begin with and the wine was not helping in that area. Good info and thanks for posting this!

  63. someone says

    if you do drink and make ‘bad decisions’ as discussed in the article, please do yourself and your partners a favor and get a blood test, and another 3 weeks from then.

  64. Shawn's fan says

    Hi Shawn,

    Any advice on how to get off alcohol? I am not an alcoholic, but I end up consuming about a pint of hard liquor a week. If I try to stay away from it one night, it is difficult, I crave it too much. Maybe I AM alcoholic. :/
    I stopped going out too often to minimize it, but I still drink more (a week) than I wish.
    How did you quit ?

    thanks for this great site.

    • says

      Shawn’s fan is a great name ;) If you’re craving it that much, you may very well be an alcoholic. Quitting was kind of hard, not because of the craving, but because I enjoyed wine with dinner or having some beer with friends. Also, it affected my social life, because drinking is an activity, and if you’re not doing it, it feels weird to be around people that are. I noticed I didn’t have a lot in common with some of the people I drank with except drinking. I ended up using the drinking time in other ways. School classes, photography, a nature based spirituality group… Of course you would have to find something that interests YOU. I met people in these areas that I had something in common with BESIDES drinking. That helped a lot.

      I’d still say “screw it” sometimes, and drink. Then I’d pay the price the next few days and be reminded how much drinking sucks for me.

      After a while I just stopped because I was tired of being sick.

      Meanwhile if you’re having trouble with cravings you can’t control, there IS a place to meet people that aren’t drinking. You probably don’t want to hear it, but Alcoholics Anonymous is a great organization. I went to the ACOA meetings and met some really nice people. It also made some things easier.

      GOOD LUCK!!!!!

  65. Choose another vice. says

    I appear to have this exact same problem with pain, from having a single beer.

    My advice is to find another vice.. mine has been sugar (desserts, ice-cream, nutella on waffles, ect.).

    Seems to have helped a lot with the cravings.

    Although I do miss a good session on the booze.. (it’s a feel good social thing).

    I used to be able to handle the booze without any problems.. it seems to have gotten worse as I have gotten older.

    Is there seriously no way to fix this? An operation, transplant, or meds?

  66. Dave says

    Serotonin connection is correct. My doctor told me that alcohol ethanol dissolves serotonin. Serotonin in the brain then turned to melatonin which is why if you have sleep problems and alcohol this may be the cause. This all came from a very prominent brain doctor in my area.

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