Alcohol is one of the common causes of Crohn’s disease flare-ups. It can aggravate the condition to a certain level where hospital admission may be required.
Crohn’s disease is a type of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). One mechanism that may play a role in its causation is an abnormal immune response, where healthy cells in the digestive tract are attacked. This results in various symptoms, such as abdominal cramps and diarrhea.
However, it is considered safe to drink alcohol in moderation if a person has Crohn’s disease. Drinking alcohol or alcoholic beverages in moderation calms the immune system, which may help patients with Crohn’s disease.
In excess, however, alcohol can further irritate the gut and cause Crohn’s disease flare-ups. The response to alcohol varies with people. Thus, one must avoid alcohol if it worsens symptoms and even if it does not, one must not have alcohol in excess.
What is the impact of alcohol on Crohn’s disease?
Various environmental factors have been linked to the pathophysiology of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). However, evidence regarding alcohol's role in disease activity and overall therapy is limited.
Several pathways have been shown to mediate alcohol’s effects in the gastrointestinal system. Alcohol has been proven to change the gut microbiome, disrupt the intestinal barrier, and increase intestinal permeability, which promotes immunological activation both directly and indirectly. Specific alcoholic beverages, particularly red wine, may provide anti-inflammatory characteristics that can help control the illness and influence disease monitoring.
Nonetheless, most alcohol-mediated effects appear to promote intestinal inflammation, which influences illness development, recurrence, and symptom control. Furthermore, alcohol use disrupts the metabolism of numerous drugs, resulting in elevated side effect profiles or even loss of effect.
How to treat Crohn’s disease flare-ups
Anyone suffering from Crohn's disease should consult a doctor to manage flare-ups. If a trigger is discovered, it should be eliminated from the diet immediately. So, if Crohn’s disease flare-up is due to alcohol consumption, immediately cease intake of alcohol.
Even if the symptoms are in remission, make sure to take all medications exactly as prescribed. Never skip a dose because doing so increases the likelihood of a flare-up.
Keep the following handy because these could help in the event of a flare-up:
- Pain relievers
- Antidiarrheal medication
- Hygienic wipes
- A heating pad
- Mild soap to clean irritated or sensitive anal tissue
- Nutritional supplements as prescribed
- Other prescribed medications for inflammatory bowel disease
What are the effects of alcohol on the gastrointestinal system?
Effects on the gastrointestinal (GI) lining
Alcohol consumption can cause inflammation of the gut lining, which can result in:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Bleeding in the stomach or intestines
- Reduces absorption of nutrients
- Abdominal pain
These are symptoms that patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) already struggle to regulate. Studies suggest that alcohol consumption, particularly in excess, can trigger IBD.
Effects on the liver
The liver's role is to break down harmful chemicals (such as drugs and alcohol) and remove them from the body. Besides, the liver synthesizes several chemicals required by the body and stores vitamins, carbohydrates, fats, and other nutrients. The liver participates in the digestion of food. Excessive alcohol consumption can hamper the functioning of the liver, leading to various problems, such as fatty liver or cirrhosis.
Alcohol can harm the liver by damaging or changing its cells, and it can even aggravate an underlying liver problem. Chronic liver disease is a significant consequence of IBD that affects 5 to 15 percent of the population with the condition.
- Women's Gymnastics Brings High Risk for Concussion
- Going Solo: Masturbation May Give Humans an Evolutionary Edge
- Longer Breastfeeding in Infancy, Better School Grades for Kids?
- Kids With ADHD, Behavior Issues Have Poorer Trajectories as Adults
- FDA Finalizes Limit on How Much Arsenic Can Be in Apple Juice
- More Health News »
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Watson S. How Alcohol Affects Crohn's and Meds That Treat It. WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/ibd-crohns-disease/crohns-disease/features/crohns-alcohol
Mayo Clinic. Crohn's disease. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/crohns-disease/symptoms-causes/syc-20353304
Top Do Alcoholics Get Crohn's Disease Related Articles
Alcoholism and Alcohol AbuseAlcoholism is a disease that includes alcohol craving and continued drinking despite repeated alcohol-related problems, such as losing a job or getting into trouble with the law. It can cause myriad health problems, including cirrhosis of the liver, birth defects, heart disease, stroke, psychological problems, and dementia. Counseling and a few medications can be effective for alcoholism treatment.
Alcohol QuizTake the Alcohol (Alcoholism) Quiz to learn how your alcohol is processed by your body and your brain.
Can Crohn's Disease Be Cured With Surgery?While Crohn’s surgery cannot cure the disease, it can improve your quality of life as long as you take the proper steps to minimize further complications, such as taking the medication prescribed by your doctor.
Crohn's DiseaseCrohn's disease is a chronic inflammatory disease, primarily involving the small and large intestine, but which can affect other parts of the digestive system as well. Abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting, fever, and weight loss are common symptoms and signs.
Crohn's Disease QuizWhat causes Crohn's disease? What are the symptoms of Crohn's disease? How is Crohn's treated? Take this quiz to get the facts about Crohn's.
Does Crohn’s Disease Cause Dark Circles Around Eyes?Crohn's disease, a type of irritable bowel syndrome (IBD), is linked to a number of eye problems. Most medical reports don’t formally link Crohn's disease and dark eyes or list dark circles around your eyes — also called periorbital pigmentation — as a symptom.
Drug Abuse and AddictionDrug abuse and addiction is a chronic disease that causes drug-seeking behavior and drug use despite negative consequences to the user and those around him. Though the initial decision to use drugs is voluntary, changes in the brain caused by repeated drug abuse can affect a person's self-control and ability to make the right decisions and increase the urge to take drugs. Drug abuse and addiction are preventable.
Nonalcoholic and Alcoholic Fatty Liver DiseaseYou can treat fatty liver disease with diet and exercise. Learn the signs and symptoms of fatty liver disease, whether it is alcoholic or nonalcoholic in origin. Find out what causes fatty liver disease, along with remedies and prevention tips.
How Is Crohn's Different From IBS?While Crohn’s disease and IBS both share similar symptoms, the two conditions are distinct with different causes, diagnostic criteria and treatments.
Is Crohn’s Disease a Disability?Crohn’s disease can be debilitating, negatively affecting the digestive system and hampering the ability to eat or have normal bowel movements. It therefore qualifies as a disability under the ADA.
What Is the Life Expectancy of Someone with Crohn's Disease?Crohn’s disease is a chronic condition that causes inflammation in the gut (digestive tract).Crohn’s disease belongs to a group of conditions known as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). With appropriate management, patients with Crohn’s disease may expect a normal life expectancy and a good quality of life.
Mental Health: Celebrities Who Are Open About AddictionAddiction affects people from all walks of life. See celebrities who’ve battled drug and alcohol use disorders and shared their stories.
Social and Psychological Causes of AlcoholismResearch on the psychosocial origins of alcohol use has found that various behaviors entail alcohol consumption.
Strange AddictionsAre you addicted? People aren’t only addicted to drugs, alcohol, and cigarettes. Patterns of addiction can be found in less obvious places, from shopping to gambling to exercise. Learn what experts have to say about porn addiction, sugar addiction, and the definition of addiction.
What Does a Crohn’s Disease Attack Feel Like?Crohn’s disease is an inflammatory bowel disease featuring chronic inflammation of the inner of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Patients experience periods of symptomatic relapse and remission. What initiates the autoimmune reaction in Crohn’s disease is unclear, but genetic and environmental factors play roles. Crohn’s disease is a lifelong, progressive disease with no cure.