Alcohol And Squirts?
Why is crap so watery and fluid-like after a night of drinking? Bud mud or beer shit. Southern Comfort will really twist up your guts -- sometimes I use almost an entire roll of paper. Should I stop drinking or eat more fiber?
-- Insane Wayne
The answer is relatively straightforward: Alcohol is a toxin, and is toxic to the human body in even moderate amounts.
While we may have a few drinks and not feel anything, our body certainly takes notice of the alcohol. Alcohol is toxic to any area of the body that it touches -- from the point where it comes in contact with the oral cavity and is swallowed, down the esophagus, and into the stomach, alcohol is poisonous to cells and tissues of these parts of the digestive system.
The absorption of alcohol begins in the stomach and continues in the small intestine, where the bulk of the alcohol is absorbed. As the intestinal cells absorb the alcohol, the toxicity causes these cells to lose their ability to absorb water, and some cells even die. The cell injury and death leads to an outpouring of fluid from the intestinal lining, which is in turn poorly absorbed.
The end result is large volume secretory diarrhea. The diarrhea usually lasts for several hours until the alcohol is detoxified and removed from the digestive system.
Diarrhea after the consumption of alcohol is not a universal side effect. Many of us who drink do not have episodes of diarrhea afterwards. Why this occurs in some and not others is most likely related to the sensitivity of our individual digestive systems to alcohol, along with the amount of alcohol consumed. Furthermore, other kinds of food and drink can certainly cause and/or worsen diarrhea that was already caused by alcohol.
Does this mean we should never drink alcohol? No. Alcohol has been shown to have many beneficial effects throughout our bodies. However, I want to emphasize that alcohol is toxic -- it kills millions of people in the world every year, and should be consumed in small amounts with responsibility, moderation, and respect. Even by PoopReporters.
Dr. Adams is a resident in the Department of Internal Medicine at North Shore University Hopsital in Manhasset, NY. Got a question for him?