Diarrhea and a hangover: what to do when you've had too much alcohol?
Diarrhea and hangover: why can alcohol abuse cause diarrhea?
What is a hangover?
The expression " hangover " first used to describe the sensations of heavy alcohol consumption, has gradually moved into everyday language to characterize the symptoms of a "bad drink". A hangover that can otherwise come across as “xylostomiasis”.
Alcohol, due to its diuretic action, causes a state of dehydration which, combined with the toxic effects of alcohol and its metabolites, contributes to the symptoms of a hangover: headaches, body aches, fatigue, vomiting, diarrhea and nausea. The symptoms of dehydration are actually the same as a hangover because the two are actually linked.
Why does alcohol dehydrate?
A diuretic is a substance that increases urinary excretion (diuresis). Blood is filtered by the kidneys and water and soluble wastes from the body are eliminated in urine. In the body, antidiuretic hormone plays a major role in regulating water excretion. It allows the kidneys to reabsorb water, that is to say to keep it in the body, thus reducing the volume of urine.
However alcohol inhibits the release of antidiuretic hormone. A reduced level of this hormone prevents the reabsorption of water in favor of an increased production of urine: alcohol is a diuretic.
This water loss and a slight dehydration of the body due to the diuretic effect of alcohol, can be accentuated by the side effects of alcohol overconsumption such as sweating, vomiting and diarrhoea.
A zoom on one of the effects of dehydration: diarrhea
In practice, we speak of diarrhea when there are more than 3 loose or liquid stools per day. Other signs may be associated: nausea and/or vomiting, abdominal pain (cramps), even fever. There may sometimes appear an excessive loss of fluids, associated with significant dehydration and electrolyte loss (sodium, potassium, magnesium, chlorine), or even vascular collapse.
Diarrhea is usually mild, and can also occur during winter epidemics of acute viral gastroenteritis. But drugs, bacteria, viruses, other parasites and intoxications in general are also responsible for acute diarrhea that must sometimes be taken seriously, when it lasts more than 3 to 4 days, when it is accompanied by blood and mucus, fever above 39°C or dehydration.
What causes diarrhea after drinking alcohol?
When you drink alcohol, it travels to your stomach. If there is food in your stomach, the alcohol will be absorbed along with the nutrients from your meal by the cells in the stomach wall. This slows down the digestion of alcohol.
If you haven't eaten, the alcohol will continue to make its way to your small intestine where it will also pass through the cells of the intestinal wall, but at a much faster rate. That's why you feel more excited, and faster, when you drink on an empty stomach.
However, eating foods that are hard on your body, such as those that are very fibrous or very fatty, can also speed up digestion.
After most of the alcohol is absorbed, the rest is excreted from your body through your stool and urine. The muscles in your colon move in a coordinated fashion to expel stool.
Alcohol speeds up the rate of these pressures, which does not allow water to be absorbed by your colon as it normally is. Your stools are then evacuated in the form of diarrhea, often very quickly and with a lot of water in addition.
Alcohol can also irritate your digestive tract, making diarrhea worse. Scientists have found that this happens most often with wine, which tends to kill helpful bacteria in the intestines. Some can also attack viruses. In fact, in vitro, the tannic acid present in grapes and wine inhibits two key enzymes of the coronavirus. On contact with it, the latter can no longer penetrate human cells.
Who is most at risk of having diarrhea after drinking alcohol?
People with intestinal and gastric diseases are more likely to have alcohol-induced diarrhea. This includes: celiac disease, irritable bowel syndrome , Crohn's disease .
Indeed, their digestive system, already sensitive, reacts particularly to alcohol, which can aggravate the symptoms of the disease, generally causing diarrhea.
People who have irregular sleep schedules, including those who work nights or regularly sleepless nights, also tend to get diarrhea after drinking alcohol more than others.
The underlying cause of dehydration should always be treated. For example, if diarrhea is the cause, taking medication that cures or stops the diarrhea may also be necessary. Once the cause of the dehydration has been treated, you will need to be monitored to ensure that you are drinking enough fluids to stay hydrated. Your doctor may study your kidney function to make sure your kidneys are working properly when you take normal amounts of fluids.
If a child develops symptoms of dehydration, a health professional should be contacted immediately.
How to avoid, prevent and fight against this condition?
In the event of diarrhea, hygiene must be even more careful to limit contamination of the environment and the transmission of the germs responsible for this condition: hand washing, disinfection of toilets after use, door handles, etc.
In a person dehydrated after consuming alcohol, the manifestations of dry mouth, feeling of intense thirst and headaches will be amplified. Staying hydrated can help with symptoms of a hangover and diarrhea.
How to stay hydrated to avoid hangover symptoms?
If you have forgotten to drink throughout the day and evening, Hydratis can help you optimize water absorption, prevent dehydration and ensure rehydration. Consume a large glass of Hydratis after consumption to counter thediuretic effects of alcohol .
Indeed, Hydratis pastilles allow water to be better absorbed by the body and thus to have an accelerated hydration. In addition, thanks to its formulation rich in mineral salts, such as magnesium, as well as in trace elements such as manganese and zinc, they improve the body's protective mechanisms and prevent and relieve the symptoms of a hangover. . It is a real metabolic support that is put to the test when consuming alcohol and in order to minimize the impact of a hangover.