Alcohol can cause gastrointestinal problems even for those who don’t suffer from IBS, particularly diarrhea, acid reflux and heartburn.
Alcohol has been shown to interfere with the function and the structure of the gastrointestinal tract.
It can prevent the muscles that separate the stomach from the esophagus from contracting, causing heartburn, and it damages the lining of the esophagus, increasing the risk of esophageal cancer.
It can cause diarrhea in those who suffer from IBS by preventing nutrients from being absorbed by the body, and it allows toxins to penetrate through the intestinal walls.
Additionally, alcohol alters the secretion of gastric chemicals, causes an imbalance of bacterial flora in the gut and makes the esophageal sphincter relax, causing acid reflux and heartburn.
Non-IBS sufferers should limit their alcohol consumption to one drink a day for women and two drinks a day for men.
If you have mild IBS, limit your alcohol intake to just a few drinks a week, and avoid beer, which is reported to be the worst alcoholic offender by many of those who suffer from IBS. If your IBS symptoms are severe, it’s best to avoid all alcohol.