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A Quick Note on Alcohol and IBS


tmsh
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Because of the way our bodies react to alcohol, some people may experience stronger reactions than others and even if you find you don’t have any FODMAP triggers, you may still experience symptoms after drinking. There is more to consider than just FODMAPs when it comes to alcohol and IBS. Your gut is a very sophisticated system and you have to learn to work with it for best results. 

Since realizing that my plan to hack my gut not only wasn’t working, but was actually making my symptoms worse I’ve learned some dos and don’ts about drinking with IBS.

DO

  • Choose your alcohol carefully: Whether you’re on the low FODMAP diet or not, you should know what you’re drinking and how it impacts your gut.

  • Be a pest about what’s in the mixer: If you’re thinking about getting a mixed drink, ask what the ingredients are or even if you can see the bottle so you can check for sneaky FODMAPs/other triggers, or better track what you’re consuming if you’re still trying to sort out your triggers. It may be that the liquor doesn’t bother you as much as the mixer does and being informed is the only way to learn what your body tolerates. If you can’t know for sure what’s in it, try a different drink.

  • Continue to drink water: This will help dilute the alcohol and keep you hydrated. It will also help keep you from getting drunk and potentially making other bad gut choices like eating too much or eating trigger foods.

  • Drink in moderation: Have a plan beforehand for how much you’ll drink so that choice has already been made before you start drinking and your inhibitions are lowered. Learn your limits!

  • Pay attention to what you’re eating and drinking and how you feel the next morning. This will help you determine if alcohol is a trigger for you and to what extent. 

DON’T

  • Be afraid to ask about ingredients: Seriously, know exactly what you’re drinking so that you can avoid anything that will trigger symptoms. 

  • Assume something simple is going to be safe: My go-to drink of choice is a classic gin and tonic. I was delighted to learn that these are low FODMAP (details below) and went to make one at home during the elimination phase only to discover that my tonic water had high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) in it! Lesson learned: always read the label.

  • Drink on an empty stomach: This is good advice generally because having food in your system will help absorb some of the alcohol so your body doesn’t have to.

If you enjoy the occasional alcoholic beverage, but you’re on the low FODMAP diet, take heart my friends. Below is the latest from Monash about the FODMAP content of several alcohols, but remember to always check your mixers carefully!

Low FODMAP alcohols

  • Gin (1 ounce/30 ml)

  • Vodka (1 ounce/30 ml)

  • Whiskey (1 ounce/30 ml)

  • Red, White, and Sparkling Wine (5 ounces/150 ml)

    • Pay attention to sparkling wine and how your body reacts because carbonation by itself may trigger symptoms.

  • Beer (12 ounces/375 ml)

    • Beer is low FODMAP but NOT gluten free unless it says so specifically so if you know you have gluten issues, watch out for that.

High FODMAP alcohols

  • Rum (fructose)

  • Sticky wine: sherry, port and ice wine (fructose)

Tequila has not yet been tested by Monash so it’s recommended to avoid it during the elimination and reintroduction phases. Tequila is made from the agave plant (agave syrup is known to be high FODMAP) but in processing the agave into alcohol, the FODMAP content may change. If you’re past the elimination and reintroduction phases, you can start by trying about 1 ounce/30 ml and see how your body tolerates tequila. Make sure that you only have foods/drinks that you know won’t trigger you and that you don’t have symptoms leading up to testing so that you’ll know it’s only the tequila you’re reacting to.

The failure of this little experiment was actually the catalyst for making the doctor’s appointment that would lead to my diagnosis. Let this story be your catalyst to reach out to someone who can help you. Make an appointment with a health professional to get on the right track for your body.


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I find ANY wine doesn't suit me any more, nor does any beer (I like both but have to stay away from them) Vodka and brandy are fine.

I am okay with sparkling water. It doesn't give me more gas that I would have anyway (odd but true) But I'll have a bad reaction to a sparkling wine. Which shows me it's the wine itself, not the carbonation which hurts.

So I don't know what it is about  wine. I am okay with grapes, most of the time, so it can't be the grapes. I doubt if it's sulphites either because I don't think white wine has them. Another mystery.

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On 7/26/2020 at 8:16 PM, Esjie said:

I find ANY wine doesn't suit me any more, nor does any beer (I like both but have to stay away from them) Vodka and brandy are fine.

I am okay with sparkling water. It doesn't give me more gas that I would have anyway (odd but true) But I'll have a bad reaction to a sparkling wine. Which shows me it's the wine itself, not the carbonation which hurts.

So I don't know what it is about  wine. I am okay with grapes, most of the time, so it can't be the grapes. I doubt if it's sulphites either because I don't think white wine has them. Another mystery.

That is tricky! Have you ever worked with a healthcare professional on this before? I don't know enough about wine specifically, but I wonder if there's just something about it that gets you. That's so unfortunate, especially if it's something you used to enjoy.

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On 7/28/2020 at 1:21 AM, tmsh said:

Have you ever worked with a healthcare professional on this before?

Haha! 😄 My doctor must have signed the Pledge or something, because he tut tuts at me even if I tell him I had ONE drink in the evening!

Gosh!! He says  ....that's ONE UN IT!

No I don't think that would be up for discussion with him.

I dunno. It's just something about wine or beer that gets me since my gut was upset. I use to be able to drink both before that.

But it's no loss. I am okay with a glass of brandy. To be honest my favourite drink is water! Earl Grey tea close second, black coffee when it doesn't make me shaky

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13 hours ago, Esjie said:

Haha! 😄 My doctor must have signed the Pledge or something, because he tut tuts at me even if I tell him I had ONE drink in the evening!

Gosh!! He says  ....that's ONE UN IT!

No I don't think that would be up for discussion with him.

I dunno. It's just something about wine or beer that gets me since my gut was upset. I use to be able to drink both before that.

But it's no loss. I am okay with a glass of brandy. To be honest my favourite drink is water! Earl Grey tea close second, black coffee when it doesn't make me shaky

I can relate to that! I mostly drink water, but I do love a nice hot cup of tea

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  • 8 months later...

I found that beer helps me a lot. I even posted a topic on that.

Nonetheless, I'm aware that people who have problems with gluten should avoid it. In despite of that, beer is low on alcohol, so I guess it wouldn't do harm to the ones who do not suffer with gluten issues.

 

Wine, on the other hand, was making my esophagus burn. I never drank wine again after that.

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2 hours ago, Visceral Dirtiness said:

I found that beer helps me a lot. I even posted a topic on that.

Nonetheless, I'm aware that people who have problems with gluten should avoid it. In despite of that, beer is low on alcohol, so I guess it wouldn't do harm to the ones who do not suffer with gluten issues.

 

Wine, on the other hand, was making my esophagus burn. I never drank wine again after that.

That's so interesting! I mean IBS is a little different for everyone so it totally tracks that one person's burning esophagus is another person's only alcoholic option and one person can have a beer with no trouble while another may end up doubled over in pain. It's part of what makes this whole journey so difficult and frustrating at times, but it's great that you have a bevvie you can kick back with!

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  • 1 month later...

Yes, I suddenly daren't drink wine any more because it just runs straight through me (well not literally....but next morning if you get my meaning.) That happened suddenly with no warning. Beer....I love it but haven't tried it again since maybe 18 months? I particularly love that Irish beer : Guinness. But too wussy to try it! 

The only alcoholic drink that seems okay with me is cognac / brandy, or vodka in small to moderate amounts. Mixers can be a trouble too, but a ginger based mixer is ok for me and so is honey (for sweetness) or sparkling water. (but gas can be a result with too much "sparkle" !) I prefer the gas to the "have to poop like -now!! first thing in the morning!" which sadly, wine does to me. I used to love a good Merlot.

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Yes I hear you! One glass of wine is fine for me or I can have a simple cocktail, but I never drink more than one in a night anymore and I'm always careful about staying hydrated still.

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