Question for IBD Sufferers: Was it OK to Drink on St. Patrick’s Day? - Crozer-Keystone Health System - PA

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Published on March 18, 2013

Question for IBD Sufferers: Was it OK to Drink on St. Patrick’s Day?

The nation just enjoyed its annual St. Patrick’s Day celebration, and like always alcohol was consumed. For those with Irritable Bowel Disease (IBD), the celebration may have felt like a horrible tease. You’ve heard that alcohol and IBD don’t mix, but was it really that bad if you let loose and have a few beers?

It turns out doctors haven’t found a direct link between alcohol and inflamed symptoms of IBD after all. But, consider this brief list of some of the ways alcohol negatively impacts the digestive system in a healthy person:

  • Increased chances of diarrhea
  • Destroyed mucous lining in the stomach, cause by bleeding and gastric lesions
  • Difficulty absorbing nutrients in the small intestine

Do these side effects sound familiar? They should.

Many of these digestive issues that can occur in a healthy individual are daily concerns for those with IBD who simply eat the wrong foods. Alcohol can also cause dehydration, nausea and vomiting. And if you’re having a carbonated beverage such as beer or a Rum and Coke, you’re only increasing the chances of digestive discomfort.

While not everyone experiences irritation when consuming alcohol, some people experience digestive problems even after one or two glasses of alcohol. If you keep a food diary to track foods that trigger your IBD, you should include a glass or two of alcohol to observe how your body reacts to the drinks. Try this before the next celebrations kick off so that you can enjoy a little privacy if you do experience IBD symptoms.

Crozer-Keystone offers a range of board-certified physicians who are trained in the latest technologies and procedures to comprehensively diagnose, manage and treat gastrointestinal and liver conditions. For more information or to make an appointment, visit or call 1-877-CKHS-GI1 (254-7441).

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