Alcohol inhibits digestion, causes dehydration,
depresses glucose metabolism, and compromises the functioning of the central
and peripheral nervous systems. The cumulative impact of these factors
is behind chronic constipation related to alcohol abuse.
Oh, boy, do I need a drink to answer that one… You see,
boozing yourself up until amnesiac is still a national pastime in my
country of origin, so this ‘Russian-American‘ (me) knows the hard truth,
and it is, indeed, very hard…
Here are the primary reasons why it does:
● Alcohol dehydrates your body just as reliably as a
sauna does. That is why your mouth feels so dry the morning after.
Cause-and-effect: Once your body becomes
dehydrated, it works overtime to recover fluids and
electrolytes from anywhere it can find them, including from the content of
your bowels. As a result, stools become dry, hard, and painful to pass.
So don‘t be surprised — pardon my French — over your crap getting just
as dry as your mouth.
● Alcohol suppresses intestinal peristalsis and kills
the urge to move your bowels for the same reason it turns off your good
Cause-and-effect: Failure to move your
bowels on schedule enlarges, impacts, and hardens up already dried out
stools until they become impossible to pass out without straining and
causing yourself anorectal damage — two problems that commonly precede
● Alcohol causes the loss of electrolytes, such as
sodium and potassium, that are essential to retain moisture in stools.
Cause-and-effect: Water retention in the
body and stools requires sodium and potassium, the minerals known as
electrolytes and aren‘t stored in the body the same long-term way as
calcium or magnesium. Since alcohol stimulates profuse urination, and,
often, diarrhea and vomiting, these minerals are quickly lost. In turn,
the body recovers lost electrolytes from feces, making them just as
hard, dry, and abrasive as prune pits. Just imagine the aftereffects of
squeezing out these pits from your poor drunken ass!
● Alcohol in excess causes profuse vomiting that
precipitates all of the above conditions.
Cause-and-effect: Alcohol inhibits
stomach digestion, and causes delayed stomach emptying — a condition
known as gastroparesis. After about 8 to 10 hours inside the stomach,
undigested proteins start to rot. The exceptionally poisonous byproducts
of rotting provoke violent vomiting, that cause an extensive loss of
fluids and electrolytes, and I have already explained what this double
jeopardy does for constipation.
● Alcohol affects your blood sugar level to such an
extent, that it may cause loss of bowel function control, and cause
diarrhea, with the same side effects as vomiting.
Cause-and-effect: Just like your knees go
weak on you from too much booze, so does your bowel. The ensuing
inability to retain the bowel‘s content may cause diarrhea. In turn
alcohol-induced diarrhea and vomiting, may cause severe inflammation of
the entire GI tract, and fester for some time. This condition, known as
gastroenterocolitis, is squarely behind irritable bowel syndrome and
inflammatory bowel disease, associated with alternating patterns of
chronic constipation and diarrhea. Alcohol can lower blood sugar to a
dangerous level, and a person can loose consciousness momentarily — a
condition called syncope. A syncope may also lead to profuse diarrhea,
and all that follows.
● Alcohol is often used to self-medicate stress and
depression. Since both of these conditions are also implicated in
constipation, alcohol only makes it worse.
Cause-and-effect: Depression is commonly
accompanied by irregularity and constipation even without alcohol. After
a while, the sparks begin to fly from one‘s eyes not only from a stiff
one, but also from straining too hard, making both — constipation and
depression — even more severe.
● Finally, alcohol is behind inflammatory bowel
disease that is also instrumental in constipation, and is the number one
cause of non-genetic colorectal cancer.
Cause-and-effect: All of the above
aftereffects of alcohol consumption.
So, if you can‘t say ‘no‘ to one too many Martinis or
Manhattans, visit this page to learn how to mop up after your youthful
indiscretions and mature indulgences…
Cheers and good luck!
You already know without my council that it is best not
to drink yourself into a stupor extending all the way down to the gut! So, I'll skip
moralizing on the merits and demerits of alcohol consumption, and, instead, will give you
some practical and gut-saving advice:
● Concentrate on
hydration. This means drinking good quality mineral water on an empty
stomach, several hours before food and alcohol, so the water and
minerals have a
chance to assimilate into the blood and tissues.
salt intake. Add 1/2 teaspoon
of salt (2.5 g) to each glass of water (250 ml) — sodium chloride is essential to retain
all that water
in the body, otherwise you'll urinate most of it out as soon as it gets
assimilated into the blood.
● Find a good
balance to your water intake. If you drink too little — you'll get dehydrated
quickly, if you drink too much, you'll dehydrate yourself from urinating more. The optimal amount
will depend on your age, weight, gender, diet, climate, water's mineral
count, and salt intake. Keep experimenting until you'll find a good
● 'Empty stomach'
is the key. When the stomach is full with food and alcohol, it
won't let water pass into the intestines, and you will dilute your
digestive juices by drinking water, causing yourself even more problems
with indigestion. Restrain fluids once you start drinking alcohol and/or
proteins during 'heavy' drinking. Meat, fish, seafood, fowl, and
nuts are the worst food to eat when drinking hard, because they require
lots of time to become digested, especially when alcohol is added to the
mix. Uptake of the body's own fluids for digestion makes dehydration
even worse, while a 'locked-up' stomach and slow digestion prevent you
on an empty stomach. Do not start
rehydrating until the stomach is empty, otherwise you are going to
vomit. In some instances, it is actually better to vomit out the
of the stomach, than wait for the rotten mess inside to get digested and
yourself if necessary. If you wish to
abort the agony of a hangover, drink rapidly several glasses of bottled
(not mineral) water with salt (1% by volume), and it will induce
vomiting. If not, it means your stomach is already empty, and that the water along with
the salt will quickly rehydrate you.
● Salt is
a hangover's best friend. Always drink
water with added salt to rehydrate. When doctors pump water into the
patient via IV, the solution contains 0.9% of sodium chloride, a.k.a. table salt.
Drinking plain water will only intensify urination (by diluting blood
chemistry), and speed
● The gut ain't a
straight pipe. You can't
overcome constipation by drinking more. The intestines are not a
straight pipe, and the body doesn't work that way. Either you'll need a
laxative, or, for a safer approach, use
Hydro-C instead. In addition to softening up your stools, Hydro-C will
also mineralize your body with essential calcium, magnesium, and potassium, that
are rapidly lost with the excess urination stimulated by alcohol.
water-soluble vitamins and minerals. To prevent a
broad range of disorders caused by vitamin C and B-group vitamins deficiency, take
high-quality multivitamins, such as these Morning and Evening
packs. This is because alcohol affects the digestion, assimilation,
and/or synthesis of these health-critical vitamins. The calcium and
magnesium in these packs is essential in preventing kidney stones,
osteoporosis, osteomalacia (bone softening), periodontal disease, and
● Go easy on
carbs. Finally, while
consuming alcohol, restrain the consumption of carbohydrates, because
this combo leads to weight gain, elevated triglycerides, inhibits blood circulation
(particularly when dehydrated), and commonly causes a 'fatty liver'
condition that is quite deadly, especially along with the deficiency of
B-complex vitamins. If you are past 45-50, the sum total of carbs and
booze is the leading cause of heart attacks and strokes “the morning
All of the above recommendations will also reduce the
drunkenness, the severity of the hangover, long-term health damage, and, of
course, the risk of constipation, hemorrhoids, and colorectal cancer. What can be worse than the indignity of
having a hangover and constipation all at the same time?