Causes | Incontinence
Alcohol and The Impact It Has on Your Bladder and Bowels
Everyone enjoys an alcoholic drink or two. Whether it’s wine with dinner, whiskey with friends, or sweet, cold champagne on New Year’s Eve, most of us enjoy a tipple (or two or three!) every now and then. The problem with alcohol is not that we drink it; rather, it’s how much we actually drink.
And when excess alcohol is consumed over an extended period, its negative consequences can be devastating to our health and well-being.
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Alcohol and urinary tract and kidney infections
What’s the problem with concentrated urine?
It wreaks havoc on your urinary tract. Concentrated urine sits in the bladder, and it can cause irritation and inflammation in the lining of your bladder. You are far more likely to develop a urinary tract infection (UTIs) if your urine is concentrated, which can also spread to your kidneys.
UTIs cause burning, pain, or pressure when you urinate; frequent urination; and an urge to urinate right away. Cystitis is one of the symptoms of a bladder infection and is causes the inflammation and swelling of the lining in your bladder. You might feel sharp pain, see blood in your urine, and experience increased urgency or frequency.
According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, urinary tract infections are one of the most common bacterial infections in women.
If you notice these symptoms, see your doctor right away!
These issues can really damage your quality of life, and prevent you from travelling, socialising, and a healthy sex life. The best prevention for urinary tract infections is to drink plenty of water and clear fluids; you should also avoid the excessive consumption of alcohol.
Alcohol and Your Bowels
Alcohol can cause either constipation or diarrhoea in different people, and sometimes one right after another for others!
Learn more about it in Bowel incontinence guide
Alcohol and Bowel Conditions
For those with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Crohn’s Disease or ulcers, alcohol can cause a huge uptick in symptoms. Alcohol is particularly nasty for people with diarrhoea caused by IBS, and it can trigger an attack that can last for days. The body views the alcohol as a caustic substance, and for those with IBS the results can be prolonged and painful.
In addition to causing problems for people with existing bowel and bladder problems, alcohol greatly increases one’s risk of developing bowel cancer. One of the most commonly diagnosed cancers in the UK, almost 42,000 people were diagnosed with bowel cancer (also known as colorectal cancer) in 2014 alone.
While causes and factors that can lead to a diagnosis of bowel cancer are varied, increased alcohol consumption is one of the most commonly cited causes. If you are a heavy regular drinker, you are putting yourself at risk of cancer.