Drinking Liquor With Crohn's

Crohn's disease is a form of inflammatory bowel disease that occurs when the lining of your digestive tract becomes irritated and inflamed. The severity and triggers for Crohn's disease can vary from person to person. Crohn's can be a debilitating disease because it causes severe abdominal pain, diarrhea and malnutrition. Certain foods and drinks are known to trigger or worsen Crohn's symptoms, including those that contain alcohol. Always talk to your physician about the potential effects liquor could have on your Crohn's disease.

Liquor-containing drinks may irritate your stomach. (Image: Jupiterimages/Goodshoot/Getty Images)

Irritating Effects

Having Crohn's disease often means you go through periods of wellness coupled with flare-up times when you experience a bout of symptoms, such as diarrhea, abdominal pain, cramping and loss of appetite. It is not entirely certain what triggers these bouts of illness. However, alcohol can be irritating to the lining of your digestive tract. Since your intestinal lining is already more sensitive to inflammation, drinking liquor can trigger some symptoms associated with Crohn's disease.

Liquor’s Effects During Flare-Ups

Alcohol is a stimulant to your nervous system and your intestines. This means that when you are experiencing a Crohn's flare-up, such as one that causes diarrhea, drinking alcohol can make your symptoms worse. Liquor in particular may be troublesome to your condition because it contains a higher alcohol content than beer or wine.


One of the key concerns related to Crohn's disease and drinking liquor is malabsorption. If liquor triggers Crohn's symptoms, such as appetite loss or diarrhea, you will not receive enough nutritional benefits from your foods because they must reside in your intestines long enough for the nutrients to be absorbed. If you cannot absorb the needed protein, vitamins and minerals in your food, your body may be unable to continue needed functions, such as building healthy skin cells.

Consumption Level

While Crohn's disease sufferers may have some disease triggers in common, not every food or drink known to cause Crohn's symptoms will affect you. For example, some Crohn's sufferers can consume liquor in moderate amounts without ever experiencing any adverse side effects, according to Dr. Garth Swanson, M.D., a physician interviewed on EmpowHER.com. However, chronic or excessive alcohol consumption potentially could worsen the inflammation in your intestinal lining. This means if you restrict enjoying a liquor drink for a special occasion and avoid overindulging, you may be able to consume liquor without irritating your Crohn's disease symptoms.

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