A night of boozing comes at a cost. And if the nasty hangover wasn’t enough, the morning after brings with it another (unwanted) surprise: The Alcohol Poops.
Like everything you imbibe, alcohol affects your GI tract, and it can seriously screw with your pooping habits: The Beer Sh*ts—pardon our French—tend to be runnier and more frequent than normal. Lovely.
“Your gut is responsible for the absorption of nutrients and water,” says Niket Sonpal, M.D., assistant clinical professor of gastroenterology at Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine. “When you imbibe alcohol, your lining gets disrupted and loses some of that absorptive property.”
For most of us, this unfortunate side effect sets in after about two or three drinks, but an underlying intestinal issue like IBS or lactose intolerance can make you more sensitive, says Sonpal.
Alcohol also has a pro-motility effect on your intestines, meaning whatever is already in your colon will start moving faster. Not only will you be dealing with urgency issues in the a.m., you might also see a bit more poop in the toilet bowl than usual.
Twenty percent of what you drink is absorbed in the stomach, but the other 80 percent is left to digest in the intestines. “When you have a lot more liquid in your colon, you’re going to have a higher volume of poop,” says Sonpal. If you want to cut the liquid content in your colon, stick to smaller serving sizes.
The bad news is, like a hangover, the only thing you can really do about the stomach trouble is wait for it to pass (pun intended). Chug some water and take comfort in the fact that you’ll be back on track by the afternoon.