Can Dry January Improve Bladder and Bowel Symptoms?

After Christmas indulgences many of us resolve to improve our health and fitness in the new year. One of the ways that we can make a difference health wise is to reduce our alcohol consumption. Did you know that alcohol can have an affect on your bladder and bowel? Therefore, reducing alcohol intake can help to improve certain bladder and bowel symptoms.

So here’s the lowdown. Firstly how does alcohol affect the bladder and bowel?

Alcohol and the Bladder

  • Alcohol acts as a diuretic meaning that it will increase your urine production and the frequency in which you need to pass urine
  • This excess urine production can lead to dehydration and more concentrated urine
  • Concentrated urine that sits in the bladder can cause irritation and inflammation in the bladder lining
  • Alcoholic beverages generally contain a lot of sugar, which can also cause irritation in the bladder
  • Alcohol can increase frequency and urgency symptoms if you have an overactive or sensitive bladder
  • You are more likely to develop a urinary tract infection if your urine is concentrated

Alcohol and the Bowel

  • Alcohol can cause both constipation and diarrhoea
  • Alcohol leads to dehydration, which can affect peristalsis (contractions in the bowel) and slow down bowel motility
  • Alcohol can cause irritation and inflammation in the gut, which can cause diarrhoea
  • If you already suffer from a condition such as irritable bowel syndrome, alcohol can increase urgency and frequency symptoms

So if you suffer from a bladder or bowel disorder, reducing or cutting out alcohol can help to reduce any irritation or inflammation in the bladder or bowel that could exacerbate any urgency or frequency symptoms. By cutting down on alcohol, you will likely be reducing your sugar intake, which is another major inflammatory factor in the bladder and bowel.

As with any dietary change, it is down to choice and the key is moderation. If you are experiencing any frequency or urgency symptoms, it is worth reducing your alcohol intake to see if this helps your symptoms in any way.