Crohn's Disease Forum » General IBD Discussion » How dangerous is alcohol, really?

04-11-2012, 12:23 PM   #1
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How dangerous is alcohol, really?

I've been diagnosed and treating with Pentasa/Omeprazole for about two years. For about a year I've been drinking alcohol pretty regularly. When I was first diagnosed my doctor told me to avoid alcohol, and pretty much every crohn's sufferer I've heard about doesn't drink.

I very rarely experience pain from drinking - I know what my limits are with certain type of alcohol. But I'm wondering if I'm putting my bowels at greater risk in the long term.

04-11-2012, 12:36 PM   #2
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Location: Ipswich, United Kingdom
Hello Brian,

Well I have no idea about drinking alcohol or not - However I will take 95% of all the medical advice I am given but I will always enjoy a beer with friends, wine with a meal and cigars! All this will be in moderation. I get huge enjoyment from these pleasures - so it is all about a balanced approach.

All the best,

04-11-2012, 12:53 PM   #3
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I used to drink pretty heavily myself, and for the first 2 years after being diagnosed I drank more if anything, even when on predisolone. nearly every weekend, not forgetting the holidays in ibiza and various other trips to europe where I would get wasted. At the time I didn't think I was doing any damage and felt fine but looking back now I wish I'd stopped. Now i've had a resection gone wrong and got a temp ileo and have barely touched a drop in the last 12 months, and have no intentions of drinking again. If you drink small amounts in moderation then I'd say be sensible , but i certainly wouldnt recommend the binging that i used to do. I've no doubt it led to me having further flare up's and problems controlling my disease.
My Story
Diagnosed 2008
Currently taking
omeprozol 40mg
codeine x4
ferrous sulphate
folic acid

ileostomy, colostomic mucus fistula stoma. gastostromy after recent surgery

tried, prednisolone, pentasa, azathioprine and infliximab
04-11-2012, 02:13 PM   #4
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I stopped drinking when I started my enjoyment of Crohn's. Mostly because if I was going to throw up, I wanted to know why. I'll have an occasional beer now, but not much more. Not worried about throwing up because I discovered moderation, but I find that a) I get buzzed a whole lot quicker now b) it gives me the runs c) it upsets my bowel bacteria. Not really worth having much more than a beer anymore.
04-11-2012, 02:17 PM   #5
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I can tolerate a couple drinks in a day, but any more than that and I'm in worse shape the next day. I also find that I get nauseous easier these days.
dx 2003
Remission 2004-2010
Moderate/severe flare through entire colon 12/2010-10/2012
Lialda, omeprazole, Remicade, Methotrexate, Folic Acid, Questran
Been on Asacol, prednisone, Apriso, Imuran, Entocort and Cimzia
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04-11-2012, 02:39 PM   #6
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At 1st I was fine, but soon found some alcohol didn't agree with me. I'm ok if I don't get drunk too often and don't drink twice on the row
Current Meds:
2x 1200mg Mezavant, 3x50mg Azathioprine, Infliximab (6 weekly)
04-11-2012, 02:54 PM   #7
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I wondered about this too, I've been diagnosed with having crohns for 13 months so far. I miss my one to two grape vodka and sprite drinks I used to have once or twice a month. I'm afraid to touch a drop seeing that I still can't work because of my crohns, doc visits, and constant body infections preventing me from going to any job interview etc. I really miss vodka once in a great while. I'm afraid if I drink it, my intestines will inflame right away and I'll be sent to the hospital seeing that I'm still in a flare
04-11-2012, 03:42 PM   #8
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I find the more refined and less sugar drinks are the better for me.
Vodka doesnt seem to bother me, but i have to drink it straight (coke, too much fruit juice, fizzy drinks etc cause me problems). I can also tolerate white wine, but not red. Not sure what the difference is as i cannot stomach red grapes either but white grapes are fine

Maybe have a glass and see how it goes, just remember to drink in moderation and give your guts plenty of rest afterwards
04-11-2012, 03:47 PM   #9
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I have never drank much.
To be honest I am afraid to even try now I have Ozzie stoma. I might have a glass of wine one day when i feel better. Will let you know how it goes!
DX: September 2011 UC now possible Crohns Feb 2012
Have tried: Pentasa(all forms),Prednisolone,Aza, 6MP, Infliximab,colifoam,metronizadole
Allergic/sensitive to: Penicillin, medical adhesives, tramadol
Am on: Citalopram,warfarin, paracetamol
Ozzie was born on 2/2/12
23/2/12 p.e in both lungs.
Now the gallbladder decides to say hello!!
04-11-2012, 03:59 PM   #10
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I was 22 when diagnosed, and the only time my GI told me NOT to drink was when I was on Flagyl. When not on that, I would continue to do what all my normal, 20 something friends were doing, including drinking. I didn't get drunk often, as I have always hated throwing up. But would get darn happy. I still drink, but again, don't get drunk.
Previous meds: Sulfadiazine, Flagyl, Prednisone, Imuran, Pentasa, Asacol
Surgeries: re-section 2004
Currently taking: B-12 injections every 2 weeks, multi vitamin/mineral, fish oil (1000 mg), D3 (5000 mg)

Also lucky enough to have psoriasis as well.
04-11-2012, 04:22 PM   #11
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i had ONE BEER, and it put me in the hospital. never again beer.
04-11-2012, 04:31 PM   #12
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i had ONE BEER, and it put me in the hospital. never again beer.

That is what I am afraid of! Plus I don't like any feeling of being hung over. Am in enough pain most of the time anyway! Why add to it.
04-11-2012, 05:23 PM   #13
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I can't drink....even a glass of wine makes me ill. Its not worth it. I would love a glass with dinner without worrying if my guts were going to pour out 20 min. later & the effects would linger for the following week to 2 weeks.
I have never been told not to, that I can remember. I just can't...
04-11-2012, 06:14 PM   #14
Slim Johnson
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I stopped drinking when I started my enjoyment of Crohn's. Mostly because if I was going to throw up, I wanted to know why. I'll have an occasional beer now, but not much more. Not worried about throwing up because I discovered moderation, but I find that a) I get buzzed a whole lot quicker now b) it gives me the runs c) it upsets my bowel bacteria. Not really worth having much more than a beer anymore.

I too have had issues with drinking even one beer. Since surgery, I haven't had a drop of alcohol.

Alcohol is an antiseptic, so it will kill the flora in your gut. This is my bet why the D is so bad after a night of drinking...
Don't assume my posts are about you. But if you are affected, that must mean you are guilty of something.
04-11-2012, 07:11 PM   #15
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Its actually really good for a person to drink 1 glass of red wine every single day. In fact the people that hold the records for the oldest ages do that. It could be different with crohns though but that would be based on how it makes you feel. I know in my life right now I could do that with no problems at all.

Its rare for me to drink now just because I've got out of hanging out with those crowds and I'm just too busy with school and what not but I've definitely been to the point where I forget what I did the night before and didn't have any problems crohns related.

Everyone will give you a different answer (doctors included) so its all about what works for you.
Age 2 (1992)

Previous Meds:
Methotrexate (oral)
Methotrexate (injections)

Current Treatment:
200mg Simponi, Psyllium
04-12-2012, 03:27 AM   #16
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Location: Cwmbran , gwent, United Kingdom
No alcohol at all for me !
I end up in agony the next day with my stomach , full blown D , an bad joint pains to the point I can hardly walk !
So for me it's not worth it , Im always pressured to drink by friends , family etc but I remind them that I won't b able to function the next day or 2 and if they would like to have the time off work to look after my kids an make sure they get to go to their friends party's or school or the park whatever then that's fine with me ! Lol
I never actually get an offer as u can imagine !!!
diagnosed with crohn's disease September 2010 symptoms since 2003
Acute pancreatitis 2003
gallbladder removed laprascopic 2003


Budesonide finished again !!
Pentasa 2g 2x a day
Pred 40mg
Ensure plus ( no longer needed)
Dihydrocodeine 120mg slow release 3 a day
Dihydrocodeine 30mg 2.. 4x day
Tramadol 50 mg 2 ...4x a day ( stopped coz it's not helping )

Waiting for fist appointment at pain clinc I hope it helps !
04-12-2012, 03:35 AM   #17
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I usually feel ok with alcohol, but like the others say it depends what I drink and how much. I think its ok in moderation. And I'm young and a uni student! I'm not guna give it up if it doesn't make me feel too bad, I want to enjoy it
Diagnosed with CD March 08 at 17
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04-12-2012, 12:20 PM   #18
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I drink in moderation. When I was first diagnosed, I wasn't legally old enough to drink and was frankly too sick. Once I turned 21, however, I did drink quite a bit. I don't know if it contributed to my Crohn's being bad throughout my 20s, though. Now I am too old to drink more than one or two drinks per week, or I suffer for it. But I refuse to let Crohn's ruin my life, and I like to have a glass of wine or a martini every now and then. But if I'm on a med that would contraindicate alcohol, then I abstain, such as when I was on methotrexate.
Crohn's Sucks!
04-12-2012, 02:30 PM   #19
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I also drink in moderation. I can have a couple of pints if I'm out, beer has never been a problem for me, but I have to avoid red wine. I'll limit myself to one glass of wine if I'm eating a meal. The same goes for any spirits, I like sherry and scotch, but only one glass. More is bad.

Having said that, I don't drink every day or even every week so it's never a huge issue.

Dx. Sept '01 - Undefined Colitis
Dx. Feb '09 - Crohn's Disease

Currently taking:
Balsalazide 4500mg
Azathioprine 150mg
04-12-2012, 02:48 PM   #20
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I like a drink or two with usually no probs, i can't drink 2 nights in a row but always like a few on a friday night. I can't drink white wine or fizzy drinks as mixers. If I have too many my tum will be tender for sure in the morning but short lived. When I was in a flare though I couldn't drink at all except I craved guinness (must've been the iron).

Diagnosed Crohn's 2010
ileocecal resection 2010
Meds: Nil and in remission

04-12-2012, 06:52 PM   #21
Slim Johnson
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MMMmmmm... Guinness!!
04-12-2012, 07:31 PM   #22
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I drink occasionally. Mostly wine and once in a blue moon beer.
Crohn's Disease 1/98
Not Crohn's but Ulcerative Colitis 5/12
Axial Arthritis, Hiatal Hernia, Anxiety
After being on every type of medication Humira seems to be working.
04-13-2012, 01:20 AM   #23
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I must admit it was one of the 1st questions I asked my surgeon - talk about getting your priorities right lol, he said it would be fine in moderation as long as I can tolerate it which I can thankfully once a week. I don't smoke now and keep myself pretty healthy in other ways.
04-13-2012, 06:32 AM   #24
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Dublin, Ireland
I certainly can't drink as much as I used to, and I tend only to have a couple glasses of wine at the weekends these days. I have spoken to my doctor about it and he says if it doesn't have a negative effect on my gut then its ok. But i've decided to give it up entirely for one month and see how I get on. So MAY is my dry month and if it makes any sort of a difference then I would consider giving it up entirely.

Diagnosed Jan 2012
Pentasa 4g
Fish Oils
Calcium Supplements
04-13-2012, 06:53 AM   #25
orchard archer
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Join Date: Feb 2010
Drink Moderately & Enjoy
My Last one was years ago, I could drink for about 6 years after 1st diagnosis 1992.?
Then, the desire for no pain is Easy.
Welcome, Ryne
04-13-2012, 08:45 AM   #26
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Well my consultant said it would be ok for me to drink...until i got this fistula which means drinking a hell of alot of water when i am drinking so that i don't get dehydrated but i do occasionally go out and get drunk and if i remember to drink water whilst clubbing i'm fine *touch wood*
04-16-2012, 05:02 PM   #27
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This might be one of those things it is easier to just test. So say you stop drinking for 4 months or so and see if you feel better. If you do feel better that is probably a good enough answer.

Alcohol’s Role in
Gastrointestinal Tract
Job 30:27 My bowels boiled, and rested not: the days of affliction prevented me.

Celiac disease, (not Crohn's), thyroid cyst and nodules, Lactose / casein intolerant. My current bad list is: gluten (wheat, barley rye and oats), dairy, coffee (the devil's brew), tea, Bug's Bunnies carrots, garbanzo beans of pain, soy- no joy, terrible turnips, nightshades (tomatoes, peppers, potatoes), alcohol, and hard work. have a good day! :-) Paul
06-29-2014, 05:17 AM   #28
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Location: Romania
I unfortunately fell downhill on the path of addictions since I was about 12, signs of an addictive personality I can now sense much better and can say I had it in me since I was 5 or 6.

For me it started with scratch cards loto tickets and moved onto the devils of all devils of gambling Casinos! Things have just gotten worse as timed passed. I have been successful in mostly everything I did in life. From jobs in early teens to becoming an entrepreneur and have been successful in all my businesses. Crohn's though also had a toll on this as many other traumas in my life. The more I've earned the more I've lost. Anyhow back to alcohol, my addictions have ranged from gambling to spending, to being an addictive workaholic no drugs, besides prescription pills for my depression. I've never seen alcohol coming. After I've lost everything and I mean everything, including self respect, friends and relationships, partners, house, money, business, long term relationships, I started drinking heavily.

I am still drinking almost on a daily basis, unless I do not have money. It's been 2 years since I cannot recover from all the trauma and I keep drinking. I have always changed one addiction for the other, now I am left with drinking and smoking. Terrible. I am researching often on different aids to quit drinking all together, but the way I really see it is just willpower. Change the addiction for something that brings good. Alcohol destroys lives. I am a 5 Liters of beer a day drinker or 1-2 bottles of liquor. I have to admit liquor has some benefits for me but only when drinking with moderation and it doesn't work every time, as Crohn's is an unpredictable disease, one day something might make you feel well, the same thing will make you feel worse another time. I wanted to point out that it can take a very nasty path, we are told we are not allowed to drink, of course a doctor will say that to his/her patient, but with moderation it might work for some in their benefit. All the surgeons that have performed surgeries on me here are alcoholics, as I fact.
Nothing feels better than freedom, I miss those days, I've had long periods of time when I did not gamble, did not spend, did not smoke much and felt great.

Say no to alcohol, one drink today and might end up like me. I see alcohol as the worst addiction a person suffering from any digestive problem can have. Moderation is indeed the key, and even if with moderation it makes you feel bad then surely it is not for you. I will quit altogether and probably enjoy a 50 ml of liquor on holidays, bday etc.

One thing I am considering a miracle about my 2 years binge drinking spree, not even seeing a doctor in these years is how on earth have I survived? I did not feel bad for long periods of time, but now it is starting to change. I constantly feel bad.

Thank you for reading
Been diagnosed with Chrohn's 2003
Ileectomy 2003 (35 cm removed)
Intestinal Obstruction Surgery 2009

No meds, no doctors for over 2 years. my only meds have been alcohol and antidepressants which have worsened my overall condition. don't afford an insurance over here, I don't even afford to see a doctor, how bad can it get? I hope the sun will shine !
06-29-2014, 10:38 AM   #29
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Oh wow fribourg, I hope you're able to get some support and help!

I've only been diagnosed 6 months and am finding my limits. I think in good with beer & not two nights in a row. I can handle that!
06-30-2014, 03:35 AM   #30
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Join Date: May 2010
Location: Romania
Thank you Nancey

The only thing that stops me from helping myself at the moment is financial issues. I don't even afford to pay my insurance these days, disability is out of the question, they don't even give disabilities funds from Crohns over here, and if they would it would cover 2 months of assurance, yes ppl on disability pay health assurance over here. So it might take a long while until I reach a doc. I just want a colonoscopy done, medication is out of the question even with the assurance paid I still pay around half the minimum wage here on meds.

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