IBS and Alcohol: Can I drink alcohol if I have IBS?
With patio season finally on the radar, you may be craving a summery drink and wondering if IBS and alcohol can co-exist. After all, a little sip of your favorite cocktail couldn't hurt... could it?
According to Healthline, there’s no definitive answer, but there are some guidelines when it comes to IBS and alcohol consumption.
How does alcohol interact with IBS?
Alcohol’s interaction with Irritable Bowel Syndrome seems to be highly personal, varying from individual to individual. We know for sure that alcoholic beverages have several effects on the digestive system – from the esophagus down to the intestines.
Some studies have shown that alcohol is closely tied to the Low FODMAP diet, since it decreases the absorption and movement of carbohydrates, like FODMAPs (fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols). This can also increase its side effects and may trigger IBS symptoms, such as bloating, gas, pain, and irritation.
Are there any alcoholic drinks for sensitive stomachs?
Yes, it’s not all bad news! If you’re wondering what the best drink for IBS is, Monash University has actually looked into the question and come up with high FODMAP and Low FODMAP alcohol lists. These can give you a better idea of what type of bevvy is okay to pick up this summer (or year-round!).
Low FODMAP alcoholic drinks to try:
- Beer (we suggest opting for a gluten-free beer, since gluten can be triggering)
- Red, white, or sparkling wine (stick with something low sugar)
High FODMAP alcoholic drinks to avoid:
- Sweet dessert wine
Of course, it’s not only the type of alcohol that matters but also the quantity. Try sticking with 5 ounces per sitting to start, being super mindful not to have too many drinks over too short of a time period. Watch your mixers, too – skip the sugary sodas and high FODMAP fruits, choosing beverages that are safe to have on the Low FODMAP diet instead.
When in doubt, try the 3 phases of the FODMAP diet
As we said, when it comes to alcohol and IBS, everyone is different. And while moderation is key, you can also apply the 3 phases of the Low FODMAP diet to your favorite drinks. Through elimination, reintroduction, and reintegration, you’ll quickly become more conscious of what works for your sensitive stomach and what doesn’t.
Once you’ve picked out the problematic drinks in your diet, you can start swapping those high FODMAPs for low FODMAP alternatives. Document your symptoms for a few weeks and see if there’s a noticeable improvement in your IBS symptoms after an evening on the patio.
If you’re looking for a great gut-friendly recipe to get you started, give our Cran-Raspberry Low FODMAP Mimosa a try – it looks super fancy and festive, and tastes delicious too.