Why UC’ers Avoid Alcohol
Ulcerative Colitis and Alcohol, a Bad Combination
Colitis is a disease of the digestive system effecting the colon, or large intestine as well as the rectum. Symptoms of the disease include frequent bowel movements, loose stools, bloody stools, abdominal pains and a lack of control over the bowels. Colitis is diagnosed with an internal examination of the lower digestive tract which may show ulcers, inflammation and bleeding in the large intestine. There are different levels of severity and some cases can become life threatening.
Most people are treated with immune suppressant medications. In addition, the disease can often be controlled by diet. Moderation and changes in lifestyle can be difficult for some people but with time they get to know how their body will react to certain foods and drinks. Avoiding foods that cause a flare up or an onset of symptoms is beneficial to keeping the disease under control. Dairy products, foods that are high in fiber, hot and spicy foods and alcohol should all be avoided by people who suffer from colitis.
Alcohol is a natural irritant to the digestive system, even for people who do not suffer from colitis or other digestive diseases. For those who have colitis, it is imperative to avoid drinking alcohol. As mentioned earlier, most people are treated for colitis with medication. Most of these medications, when mixed with alcohol could cause liver damage, bleeding or severe cramping. A small percentage of people with colitis will ultimately suffer liver damage. Drinking alcohol will negatively contribute to this, accelerating the process and possibly causing further complications. Remember that the inside view of a colon effected by colitis has open wounds and bleeding ulcers. To force your body into processing alcohol would compare to pouring alcohol on an open wound.
Some people may be able to tolerate a drink or two on occasion if they are in remission, not bleeding or not symptomatic. If you have your illness under control and want to risk it you certainly can. If you have a flare up you will know it isn’t a wise choice for the future. Flare ups can take weeks or even months to get under control. Is it worth it to you to have one or two drinks and then be sick for such a long period of time?
Remember to always check with your doctor or pharmacist before consuming alcohol if you are being treated with medication.