Large Colon and Alcohol

Remedy Ideas


One question I see asked fairly regularly in Ulcerative Colitis forums is whether it's okay to drink alcohol.

I'm definitely not going to judge anyone who wants to have a drink to help them relax, I completely understand why UCers would want to do that. Also, those UCers that have a social life which involves drinking with friends; if it's an important part of their life then it makes sense that they'd want to find some way to continue with it.

As I've pointed out on the 'About Ucer' page, when I was first diagnosed with Colitis I didn't really experience many symptoms and so carried on as normal. This included going out with friends and drinking alcohol (lager was my drink). Apart from hangovers, I didn't notice any changes in the few symptoms I had.

It has only been in the past couple of years that I've noticed how it can increase my symptoms. This has meant that I've had to find a way to 'protect' myself if I plan to have a drink. During more recent flare-ups I've avoided alcohol because I didn't feel like drinking it.

It's important to note that just like food, there are many different types of alcoholic drink and I believe some, on paper at least, appear 'better' for Ulcerative Colitis sufferers than others e.g. vodka and cranberry juice instead of vodka and coke. Also it's worth remembering that fizzy, carbonated drinks can cause symptoms as well: so potentially Real Ale would be better then Lager (I hate the taste of Real ale!!).

However, as we all know with diet, it's down to trial and error to find something that doesn't cause symptoms.So in reference to my colitis, here's what I do to keep symptoms at a minimum if I decide to drink alcohol:

NOTE: alcohol is a diuretic (causes the body to pass more urine than usual). IBD can mean we're already dehydrated so we must make allowances for the loss of fluids by keeping hydrated. Urine consists of water, potassium and sodium so as well as replenishing your body with water, you will also need to replace electrolytes potassium and sodium. A good source of potassium are bananas and avocados; a good source of sodium are egg yolks, celery, carrots, red cabbage and of course salt e.g. Himalayan pink salt or sea salt.

General Before After Symptoms caused if I DON'T protect myself
  • Remission: Only drink alcohol now and then e.g. maybe twice a month
  • This means a small amount e.g. up to 6 units. I only drink more on special occasions - maybe 6 times per year.
  • Flare-up: Avoid alcohol
  • Eat a meal a couple of hours before drinking alcohol
  • Drink water
  • Eat something to help 'soak up' the alcohol - in my case a sandwich.
  • The day after:
  • drink plenty of water and carry on with my normal diet - avoid tempting hangover diet e.g. junk food, fried food.
  • Blood
  • Cramps
  • Diarrhea