How To Stop Diarrhea After Drinking Alcohol: Solutions for an Unpleasant Dilemma
How To Stop Diarrhea After Drinking Alcohol: Solutions for an Unpleasant Dilemma

How To Stop Diarrhea After Drinking Alcohol: Solutions for an Unpleasant Dilemma

Solutions for an Unpleasant Dilemma


June 6, 2023

Alcohol and Health
How To Stop Diarrhea After Drinking Alcohol: Solutions for an Unpleasant Dilemma
Reframe Content Team
Alcohol and Health
8 min read
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Reframe Content Team
June 6, 2023
8 min read

Have you ever noticed that after a night of a bit too much to drink, you find yourself running to the bathroom more often than usual? Well, you're not alone. Many people suffer from a condition affectionately known as "hangover diarrhea." Though this phenomenon is as common as confetti at a New Year's Eve party, it doesn't make the situation any less uncomfortable or inconvenient. In this blog post, we’ll discuss a few useful solutions.

Alcohol and Diarrhea: What’s Going On?

Alcohol can wreak havoc on our digestive system. It's a diuretic, which means it encourages our body to lose more water than it takes in. This effect can lead to dehydration, and our gut's reaction is to try to get rid of any excess contents as quickly as possible, leading to the all-too-familiar rush to the restroom. Researchers have found a correlation between alcohol consumption and faster transit times through the gut, which translates into loose stools or diarrhea.

A Gut Reaction

Alcohol can also interfere with digestion in a number of ways. It’s known to increase acid production in the stomach, potentially leading to inflammation and irritation of the stomach lining known as gastritis, which can result in an upset stomach and diarrhea. It can also hinder nutrient absorption in the small intestine, leading to malabsorption and further exacerbating the problem.

Alcohol can also stimulate the gut to move more quickly than usual, a phenomenon called gut motility. A study published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology found that alcohol increases gut transit times, effectively pushing food and other digestive material through the intestines faster than normal. When things move too quickly through the digestive system, our intestines don't have enough time to absorb water from our food. As a result, the stool becomes loose or liquid, causing diarrhea.

Upsetting the Microbes

Moreover, our gut is home to trillions of bacteria, collectively known as the gut microbiota. These bacteria play a crucial role in our health, helping with everything from digestion to immune function. Alcohol can disrupt the balance of these beneficial bacteria, leading to an overgrowth of harmful bacteria and potential digestive issues like diarrhea. This overgrowth can interfere with normal digestion and absorption of nutrients, leading to diarrhea and other gastrointestinal distress.

The disruption of gut microbiota balance by alcohol can interfere with the absorption of nutrients from the food we eat, leading to nutrient deficiencies. These can further exacerbate gastrointestinal issues such as diarrhea while also impacting our mood and stress levels.

Halting the Hangover Diarrhea

We've identified the problem, now let's discuss solutions! Here are a few science-backed tips to help you put a plug on post-party bathroom trips.

  1. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! Alcohol pulls water from your body, so replenishing your fluids is key. While chugging water might be your first instinct, an even better choice is drinks with electrolytes — such as sports drinks or coconut water — which can aid in rehydration and help combat diarrhea.
  2. Mindful munching. Consuming bland, starchy foods like bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast — the so-called BRAT diet — can help firm up stools. A recent study in the Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology found that this diet is effective at reducing diarrhea symptoms. These foods are gentle on the stomach and can help absorb excess liquid in the intestines.
  3. Probiotics to the rescue. Studies suggest that certain strains of probiotics can improve digestion and promote a healthy gut flora balance, potentially reducing the likelihood of diarrhea after drinking.
  4. Space it out. Moderation is key. Sipping your drinks, alternating between alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, and ensuring you're eating enough can all help reduce alcohol's impact on your gut.

Alcohol-Free Alternatives

If you're trying to cut back or quit alcohol, there are plenty of alternatives that can still let you enjoy a festive night out without the morning-after mishaps. Non-alcoholic beers and spirits have gained considerable traction recently, with studies showing a significant reduction in alcohol-induced diarrhea among those who switch to these alternatives.

Remember, everyone's body is different. What works for some might not work for others. Listen to your body, and if you're concerned about any symptoms, don't hesitate to reach out to a healthcare professional. You deserve to enjoy your night out and the following day, too, without being chained to the toilet.

So, next time you plan on enjoying a night out, remember these tips to keep the party in your stomach calm and your trips to the restroom to a minimum.

Breaking Free With Reframe

Are you ready to help your gut recuperate and provide your body and mind with an opportunity for a reset? The Reframe app is your ally in getting started. It offers tools and techniques that facilitate an intuitive mindset change without reliance on willpower — a method that leads to enduring transformation.

What will you get when you become a member? Our #1-rated app will give you access to a wealth of daily readings explaining the scientific aspects of alcohol and its effects on your body and mind. We will send you daily goals, journaling prompts, and other activities, such as guided meditations and inspirational quotes to help you throughout your day. You'll also have the chance to join a global community of empathetic, supportive people just like you who are eager to share their experiences and help you via our round-the-clock Forum chat. For additional assistance, we can connect you with certified coaches for individual therapy sessions and daily follow-up calls through Zoom.

The Toolkit within the Reframe app is an extensive collection of resources tailored to assist you in everyday situations you might encounter and provide solutions for handling anything life throws at you.

Plus, we’re always introducing new features to ensure your in-app experience is optimal. We recently launched our in-app chatbot, Melody, powered by the world’s most powerful AI technology. Melody is here to support you whenever you need it and lend an extra helping hand as you adjust to a life with less (or no) alcohol. Oh, and that’s not all! Every month, we launch fun challenges — from Dry/Damp January to Sober Spring to Outdoorsy June. You won’t want to miss out on the chance to participate alongside fellow Reframers (or solo if that’s more of your vibe!).

Oh, and the Reframe app is free for the first 7 days — so try it out risk-free! We're convinced that we can help you create meaningful change in your life and are eager to support you on your path. We’ll see you in the app soon!

Reframe has helped over 2 millions people to build healthier drinking habits globally
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