Crohn's disease and alcohol


Crohn's disease, along with ulcerative colitis, is one of the so-called inflammatory bowel disease, CED for short. The disease progresses in bursts, the frequency and duration of the flare-ups vary from patient to patient.

The course of the disease is partly genetically determined, but is also used by external influences and thus influences the lifestyle of those affected. One of the most important of these external influences is that nutrition. Many patients are unsure which foods they can and should not eat, especially with alcohol, which is known to be harmful even to healthy people.

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Can I drink alcohol if I have Crohn's disease?

So far, very little is known about the interactions between alcohol and Crohn's disease.

There is no general ban on alcohol for patients with Crohn's disease. However, it has recently been shown that around 15-30% of all IBD patients complain of increased gas, diarrhea and abdominal pain after consuming alcohol.

Ultimately, alcohol is the same as with all other foods in Crohn's disease - every patient should find out for himself whether and how much alcohol he can tolerate by carefully trying out and observing himself. A food diary can help here. All food and the time at which it was consumed are documented here, along with any subsequent complaints.

In this way, over time, it is possible to differentiate between good and badly digestible foods. If you now drink alcohol on a day on which otherwise only well-tolerated foods were eaten, the possible subsequent complaints can be relatively safely attributed to the alcohol.

Although there is no general ban on alcohol for IBD patients, high-proof spirits such as schnapps should still be avoided, as these irritate the mucous membrane of the intestine and, in the worst case, trigger new attacks or worsen existing ones. Drinks with a lower alcohol content such as beer or wine are more suitable for trying out.

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How does alcohol affect the disease?

Many patients with Crohn's disease also complain of occasional attacks during the relapse-free period typical symptoms such as diarrhea, flatulence or abdominal pain.

Especially these symptoms in the intestines can be aggravated by alcohol consumption become. A recent study suggests that this is the case in 15-30% of those affected.

Furthermore can straight high percentage alcohol irritates the lining of the digestive tract, whereby a flare-triggering effect of the alcohol is conceivable.

Nevertheless, no general statements can be made here, as every patient reacts differently to food and alcohol. A unfavorable effect from alcohol consumption to the Long-term prognosis of the disease could so far not clearly proven long-term alcohol consumption is of course harmful to everyone.

Without regular alcohol consumption that is Life expectancy in Crohn's disease generally hardly reduced or not at all.

Can alcohol trigger a flare-up?

With Crohn's disease can in principle all food trigger a surge - so does alcohol.

Every patient has to find out whether this is the case with him or not through trial and error. As mentioned above high percentage of alcohol through his mucous membrane damaging effect practically predestined as a thrust trigger. This damaging effect increases the more alcohol is drunk. Best for initial trial and error smaller amounts of low-percentage alcohol how Beer or wine.

Can non-alcoholic beer trigger a surge?

Even with non-alcoholic beer, as with all other foods, an attack-inducing effect is conceivable.

The probability for this is, however no higher than other non-alcoholic foods, since the amount of alcohol in non-alcoholic beer is not 0, but negligible low is. Nevertheless, you should first try carefully, whether and how much alcohol-free beer is tolerated.

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Can alcohol cause Crohn's disease?

The causes for the development of Crohn's disease are still today not fully explored.

It will be a genetic predisposition assumed that leads to familial accumulation of the disease. Also autoimmunological processes carry along with some external factors like Smoking, contraceptives (birth control pills) and certain eating habits contributed to the outbreak, so that a triggering effect of alcohol is at least conceivable.

Even so, alcohol could not be used in previous studies Not as Risk factor for the development of Crohn's disease.

What about Crohn's disease drugs and alcohol?

In general, it can be said in advance that the simultaneous use of medication and alcohol is always problematic.

However, it also depends on the amount of alcohol. For a change, a beer after work certainly doesn't do any harm, but you should refrain from consuming large amounts of alcohol!

The most common Crohn's disease drugs are discussed in more detail below.

Please also read: Medicines for Crohn's disease

For example, in the case of mesalazine (5-ASA), which many Crohn's patients take, the interaction has not yet been well researched. Here one should carefully try out how well small amounts of alcohol can be tolerated.

Alcohol consumption while taking cortisone can increase the effect and thus also the side effects of the drug - be careful!

With the immunomodulators azathioprine and methotrexate, extreme caution is also required - these can lead to liver damage as an undesirable side effect even without alcohol. The likelihood of this damage occurring can be increased by alcohol, which is also harmful to the liver!

The situation is similar with Humira (adalimumab). Although there is still insufficient research into the interactions with alcohol, it is believed that the combination of Humira and alcohol increases the likelihood of liver and kidney damage.

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