Can I Drink Alcohol if I have IBS?

Red alcohol drink, cocktail

Is Alcohol OK with IBS and The Best Drinks to have and Avoid

You are off out for the evening with friends or maybe it’s been a long week and you just want to unwind with a glass of wine. The question you may be thinking is Can I Drink Alcohol with IBS?

Well, it’s well known that Alcohol irritates the digestive system. People with conditions such as Gastritis and Acid reflux are told to avoid alcohol as it can aggravate the stomach lining, but IBS is a little different and not everybody with IBS symptoms has an issue with alcohol.

For many people with IBS though alcohol is a definite trigger and if this is the case it’s really worth considering abstaining from alcohol altogether. If it is a trigger for you, you might experience bloating and cramps after drinking just a small amount.

Research has shown that after a night of binge drinking women with IBS are more likely to have symptoms such as Stomach pain, nausea and Diarrhoea compared to women who only had moderate or light levels of alcohol.

It also showed that drinking alcohol seemed to affect women that have IBS D (diarrhoea) more than those with IBS – C (constipation). Alcohol acts as a stimulant, so if you suffer from IBS-D you may find this causes you issues

But for many sufferers drinking has little or no effect and so moderate alcohol intake may be ok.

FODMAP and Alcohol

People who suffer with IBS are often advised to follow a low FODMAP diet and many people have had great results. FODMAPs( fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols.) are carbohydrates that some people cannot digest easily.

The diet was designed by researchers at Monash University and has been shown to help a vast majority of IBS sufferers with their symptoms.

There are certain alcohols on the diet that it advises IBS sufferers to avoid and some that are considered ok.

Low FODMAP alcohol

Red wine/white wine – No more than 1-2 glasses

Beer – 1 can or glass ( although it does contain Gluten and is carbonated, which may be an issue for some people)

Whisky

Vodka – avoid flavoured varieties as these may contain sweeteners/sugars

Gin – Same as vodka avoid flavoured brands.

Sparkling wine – some people suffer with carbonated drinks, so it’s a good idea to avoid this if that’s a trigger for you.

High FODMAP alcoholic drinks to avoid

  • Sweet wine – although dry wines are ok, Sweet wine is high in fructose and so should be avoided.
  • Rum
  • Cider
  • Port
  • Sherry

Mixers

It’s also important to remember to be mindful of what you are mixing with your alcohol. Many fruit juices are high in Fodmaps and are best avoided.

Low fodmap mixers

  • Cranberry juice
  • Tomato juice
  • Soda water
  • Fresh lime
  • Diet drinks/soda (not all diet drinks are ok, ones containing sorbitol, xylitol, mannitol and maltitol should be avoided)

Some mixed drinks to try

  • Vodka and Cranberry juice, with a little soda water and ice.
  • Vodka with lime juice
  • Vodka with orange juice (one orange squeezed only)
  • Gin with soda and a dash of lime.
  • Whiskey and diet coke
  • Gin and tonic (as long as there is no high fructose corn syrup in it – some have, some haven’t)

Tips on drinking alcohol with IBS

  • Don’t drink on an empty stomach. This will help line and protect your digestive system. (Eat food that you know doesn’t trigger your symptoms)
  • Drink plenty of water, this will make the alcohol less irritating to your digestive system.
  • Take your time! Drinking slowly will let your body process the alcohol and will hopefully avoid you having next day symptoms.

Can I Drink Alcohol if I have IBS?

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