beer and poop: why is there a correlation?

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PoopReport of the Year AwardComment Quality Moderatorj 1000+ pointsk 500+ pointsl 100+ pointsm 1+ points - Newb
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Shawn asks:

I'm thirty years old and have had diarrhea about two times a month for the past few years. I know this isn't exactly "normal." Over the past few months, I've noticed that I will have diarrhea, sometimes severe, after simply drinking a beer or two. I am a true beer lover, not just one to get drunk. I've found that the only way to prevent it is to take Immodium AD before enjoying my drink. Is there any help for me?


Dear Shawn,

I have spent quite a bit of time doing research on this question for you. Poop Report's Dr. Adams responded to a question similar to yours by saying that alcohol is basically a poison, and thus the body reacts to it as such.

I have come to the conclusion however, that unlike other forms of alcohol, beer is quite unique in its diarrhea-inducing abilities. Here's why.

While there are many different recipes and brewing practices in the manufacturing of this phenomenal beverage, there are two very important common denominators: grains and yeast.

The most common ingredients used in making beer are barley--which is a basic cereal grain--and hops, a flowering vine used for flavoring. Yeast is added to these to cause fermentation which produces the alcohol content in the beer.

In an attempt to learn more about the gastrointestinal effects of beer, I read a complete study titled "The Quantitative Analysis of the Digestion of Yeast". That was simply a waste of time, as I did not understand one single word. So I will stick with what I do know about grains and yeast for now.

Beer is made from grain. Grain is a source of dietary fiber. The brewing process intensifies the potency of the fiber. The colon has bacteria that normally aide in digestion by fermenting sources of dietary fiber that could not be broken down by the enzymes in the stomach and small intestine. The alcohol in the beer possibly intoxicates the bacteria, causing them to not do their job properly. Absorption of water by the colon is disrupted because of the imbalance created by the onslaught of all the extra fiber juice and yeast. The yeast goes into overdrive with the slacking off of the good bacteria and multiplies rapidly, producing yeast waste which would appear as a frothy substance resulting in foamy diarrhea.

So we have learned that beer is a source of soluble fiber which is derived from the cell walls of malted barley. A liter of beer contains an average of 20% of the recommended daily intake of fiber and some beers can provide up to 60%.

It may be helpful to try different brands of beer in order to find one that has a fiber content more agreeable with your system.

Thanks for asking Motherload!

Motherload is a Certified Nurse Assistant as well as an IBS sufferer, which means she knows a lot about poop. Got a question for her? Ask it here.

135 Comments on "beer and poop: why is there a correlation?"

Anonymous's picture

Do you guys realize that hops create estrogen in the male body, making you more female? Too much estrogen is the cause of potbellies, in many cases. It also makes it tougher to get an erection, because the estrogen actually replaces your testosterone.

Anonymous's picture

Hahaha, I had an ex husband like that.

Anonymous's picture

I've had the most massive shits the next day after drinking. Mostly bottle of vodka and a couple of beers. Its bloody painful when it won't all come out. Had to flush twice, nearly passed out, could see stars.

Anonymous's picture

I love the fact that a beer will make me go poo. I was a very irregular person who used to go once or twice a week if I was lucky. This never bothered me. In fact as I am a female I was sort of happy about it. Then I went on vacation and drank every night, without getting shitfaced, and I pooped every day. Now that I am home I make it a point to drink A beer every day. I feel amazing. Who knew?

Anonymous's picture

Some people have celiac disease or food intolerances/allergies. The grains in beer can inflame your small intestine (which is what absorbs the nutrients in food). So if you are having a reaction (maybe reflected by having 'beer shits'), any food you're eating will not be absorbed as much. Could explain your weight loss?

(This happens to people who are intolerant of things, like Gluten)

Anonymous's picture

I don't think I ever laughed so hard at a post.

Anonymous's picture

Dogfish Head 120 Minute IPA! It'll dissolve anything metal. And more than a few brain cells. Or 90 Minute IPA if you are a pansy weenie tutu wearer (not that there's anything wrong with that (and you have nice legs))

ChiefThunderbutt's picture
PoopReport of the Year AwardComment Content ModeratorComment Quality Moderatorf 5000+ points

Perhaps Anonymous but you will never convince this old hillbilly, with many years of beer swigging experience, that canned tastes as good as bottled. Put my IPA in glass please!

I was looking around the internet trying to decide which should be bought simply from the standpoint of which one had a smaller carbon footprint and found this interesting comment;

"As luck would have it, we conducted a double-blinded taste test (N = 9) of of canned vs bottled beer (Heinken) to settle a bet during Thanksgiving - each tester had 2 unmarked cups (one of each beer) and had to choose which cup tasted better. Surprisingly 8 out of 9 people preferred the bottled version and 1 person was indifferent..."

The writer of the blog added his two cents worth to this conservation with the following entry;

"...This is brilliant and it defies chance as ther is only one in 2 to the power 8 chance of this happeing by chance if the items tasted the same. That is one in 256...

How long a minute is depends on what side of the bathroom door you're on!

Anonymous's picture

Beer myth. There is plenty of quality beer found in cans. Aluminum cans have lining that no longer affects beer like in decades past, which led to this myth. Beer in cans stays fresher longer...just like in a keg.

Anonymous's picture

Most definitely... life is too short to drink cheap beer. And real good stuff doesn't cost a whole bunch more than that canned pisswater.

Anonymous's picture

Eeeewww, canned beer! Stop drinking that contaminated swill. Beer is what bottles are for!

Anonymous's picture

That is fucking hilarious. I might just have the laugh shits. hahahaha.

Anonymous's picture

Got pissed last night on fosters and some other random piss water beers for a friends birthday shindig. this morning my guts had the gurgles and then I knew my ass would be pissing like a racehorse! horrific beer shits. The kind that starts off like a jet of liquid shit before spraying into a foamy sludge. This thread explains why. Now my turd cutter is sore. Can't even wipe it, have to just dab at it

Anonymous's picture

Thats is the funniest thing I have ever read. Thanks

Anonymous's picture

I don't think beer shits are caused by yeast in the beer. Reason being because most domestic breweries pasteurize their cans in order to get the product to keep for longer on the shelf. I only get beer shits after drinking heavily. Maybe as you get older you just become less tolerant.

ChiefThunderbutt's picture
PoopReport of the Year AwardComment Content ModeratorComment Quality Moderatorf 5000+ points

Toss the Budweiser and try a real beer. There are enough good microbreweries in the USA today that you no longer have to drink the piss produced by the likes of Anheuser Busch.

How long a minute is depends on what side of the bathroom door you're on!

Anonymous's picture

lol the beer shits! the worst kind are when you wake up, no cramps, no anything, but all at once uyou just gotta go like a mofo. Mine are almost always totally liquid and like you guys said they usually last about half the day but I've had them a lot longer before, esp. recently. I drink a lot of beer, not anything like I did when I was younger tho. I'm 28, started noticing I'd get the shits after drinking when I was around 24 or so - but I love my budweiser and as long as you're near a toilet on Monday morning, it's all good lol. When I drank a lot more, basically if I shit it was liquid for at least a couple years, but the beer shits are the nastiest (skidmarks in your boxers lol) and most explosive (you leave your boxers at the nearest trash can all sharted on). Shit happens, dudes, bottoms up!

Anonymous's picture

Beer shits and I go way back, in fact I had to shave my ass because the beer shits sprayed juice all over my ass and I had to wipe 3 or 4 times to get all the stuck on shit out of my ass hairs. I would have to take a bath after every shit or carry around dingle berries with me all day long.... wife would also complain about the smell when giving head. Just my 2 cents from another happy satisfied beer drinking shitting machine.

Anonymous Coward's picture

Thank God for beer, so much better than laxative pills. I have IBS-c and recently had surgery to correct malrotation of the intestines. The docs said it was psychological until 28 years of age. One Dr finally said C-scan, thank heavens..... small intestines were in a knot all bunched up on the right side. Bad bad horrible pain for decades. Huge 9 inch scar on tummy but yeah I can poop now.

Anonymous Coward's picture

BB: It's good to hear that gluten may be the culprit. I have also experimented with a wheat free diet lately, and found that my gut is much more amenable to wine than beer. I'm not saying this is what is bothering everyone else, but it may be a viable alternative for some of these readers.

the thin brown line's picture
j 1000+ points

And now a word from Charles Bukowski:
Pllllatttssppppllatttoooossssshhhhhhpffttttttttttwwwhhhoooosshhhhhhsszzzzzzzzzzzzllllllllllllllll.....zzzzsssssllll...drip..drip..drrriipppppplleeeee-dooooo...................drip.

Somethin' mysterious made an exit from the gift shop.

ChiefThunderbutt's picture
PoopReport of the Year AwardComment Content ModeratorComment Quality Moderatorf 5000+ points

AC...I believe you have the cause and effect backwards. Diarrhea causes dehydration, not the other way around. I have swilled enough beer in the last fifty some odd years to float an aircraft carrier so I consider myself an expert in this area.


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Dirty old men need love too!!

How long a minute is depends on what side of the bathroom door you're on!

Anonymous Coward's picture

If you drink too much beer the alcohol will dehydrate you and give you diarrhea. Yes, dehydration causes diarrhea! This is why you always drink water when you are drinking to prevent a hangover. But, I have to admit there is something to the yeast/fiber theory that does create more stimulus to the bowel to create more "poop" the morning after.

Butt Bursts's picture

Wow I have stomach problems and it took me so long to find a page describing exactly one of my problems.

I've been doing some diet testing and can pretty handily confirm beer (or certain kinds of beer) leads to explosive, painful, frothy diarrhea.

And for the people extolling the virtues of Guinness, it was one of the worst offenders for me.

I have a handful of other stomach problems, but there is definitely a unique side-effect (as described above) that I've confirmed is beer-related.

I was going mad trying to figure out if it was yeast or gluten or something else specific, and the internet being awash with people promoting their fad diet de jour makes it hard to get real information.

Maybe you have a gluten intolerance, or maybe you think meat upsets your stomach, maybe you hate genetically modified whatever, or maybe you think it's wheat or yeast, that doesn't mean that's what's bothering everyone else.

ChiefThunderbutt's picture
PoopReport of the Year AwardComment Content ModeratorComment Quality Moderatorf 5000+ points

AC ... I am an American but I share your opinion of mainstream American beers like Bud Lite and Coors. I had a friend in this country many years ago who was from South Africa. He commented that America made the world's best ice cream but the worst beer and bread. I had traveled a bit in other countries and totally shared his opinion.

If he were to visit me now he would be pleasantly surprised by the vast improvements in both of these commodities that have been wrought by small artisan operations. We can proudly compete on the world stage in both these categories plus wine.


_______
Dirty old men need love too!!

How long a minute is depends on what side of the bathroom door you're on!

Anonymous Coward's picture

It for me, and I am a young female, hence the anonymous coward identity. Anyway for me it depends on the type of beer. For example, I can drink a shit load ( excuse the pun) of Keiths, or Keiths Lite, Olands (can you tell I am Canadaian) however, drink a few bud lite or COORS ugh, good god. Anyway. moral of the story always bring your own beer to a friends place even if they say they have lots of beer.........

ChiefThunderbutt's picture
PoopReport of the Year AwardComment Content ModeratorComment Quality Moderatorf 5000+ points
Dear Poopspert ... You are confusing dietary fiber with soluble fiber. "Beer, in moderation, can be part of a potentially good source of soluble fiber and prebiotic substances that promote digestion," reports Charles Bamforth, chair of the Department of Food Science and Technology at UC Davis. Check this out.
_______
Dirty old men need love too!!

How long a minute is depends on what side of the bathroom door you're on!

Poopspert's picture

Beer does not contain any dietary fiber at all, so that theory is wrong.
http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/beverages/8005/2

Of course, if you knew what fiber actually is, you wouldn't need a chart to tell you that. Fiber is the solid plant matter that we can't digest, and thus pushes stuff through the colon. Fiber is ALWAYS solid (soluble fiber can be more of a paste). Even if a beverage is made from a plant, like beer, wine, or just fruit juice, it has zero fiber (unless you drink you OJ with pulp).

ChiefThunderbutt's picture
PoopReport of the Year AwardComment Content ModeratorComment Quality Moderatorf 5000+ points

slitz ... How does it feel to know that you are part of the problem rather than part of the solution. Years ago, when I worked in the retail grocery business, I was given many opportunities to double my money by buying food stamps from people who would rather drink. I always threatened them with exposure to the authorities if I ever saw them selling their stamps for booze money. If you want to drink get a fucking job you God damned loser!


_______
Dirty old men need love too!!

How long a minute is depends on what side of the bathroom door you're on!

slitz's picture

Just remember-

When ya wanna get the shits Ya gatta drink the "Schlitz"

Thats the best 40oz ull ever buy in a black neighborhood and the corner licquor store- I usually trade my EBT food stamps for em.

Shitstrainer's picture

I live in Vancouver BC Canada, and consume gallons of bud (average 12/day cans). Although I still shit through the eye of a needle I don't experience gastrol discomfort ( bloating, heartburn etc). However when I travel to Ontario and drink the same brand, I experience the aforementioned discomfort intensly. Bud in Canada is brewed by Labbat's but in about five diferent breweries across the country. In the west they use glacier fed water, and lake water in the east. Could this difference cause my problem?

blowout preventer's picture

Anytime I go on a bender, I get the shits pretty bad. Whiskey, beer, vodka, whatever. But I have to drink for a few days. The big difference is tap beer tends to give me the shits more easily. Hoppier beers tend to give me greater shits. Yuengling really gives me the frothy shits, especially the black and tan. The cheapo American beers are the nicest to me. Bud, Miller, etc, are not too rough on me.

But if I've tied one on during a 3 day weekend or during vacation or whatever, it really doesn't matter what, I'm going to get the shits. It's only a matter of degree.

This past 4th of July found me busy with party engagements and bar-hopping. From Saturday until the wee hours of Monday, I was partying at someone's house or at a bar or passed out. I hoped to recover on Monday, which I partly did. The shits didn't slow down until Wednesday and then I was constipated for a couple days.

I needed a vacation from my vacation after that experience. I'm gearing up for Labor Day next. . . .

Beer Pooper's picture

I never know that beer pooping was so common! I've tried to find a cure or a low-poop beer; nada so far. Pepto before bed seems to help. Kirin (Japanese) and German light beers are easier on the gut. Here's hoping...

tab's picture

thanks Guys...for the helpful info...I just had one beer and it seems to be working. better than exlax .maybe I will be drinking more beer from now on. Becks not bad

iDRANKyoMILK's picture

i take like 8 shits a day anyways but after a long night of beer drinking i usually take like 12-14, probably cuz i always get the munchies and eat a lotta fuckin food and then pass out, and then wake up at 6am to shit and proceed to fall asleep on the toilet, waking up only to the feeling of shit no. 2

rws's picture

Thanks for the info Ed. I prefer Bass, Harp, Killians, etc, but they get expensive, especially at the bar. One bar nearby stocked Bass exclusively for me, as I was the only one that drank it. But paying $5 a beer x 15 plus tips makes for an expensive night. I'll take the Miller Lite when I go out, but at home stick with the real beer.

Japanese beers probably give me the runs too. I've never drank enough of them at once to find out though. I eat rice almost every day with no problems, so I'm not sure why it happens with rice beer. It may be another additive altogether, but so far that's the only thing I find in common with the problem beers. Coincidence? Maybe. But it works for me. :-)

ChiefThunderbutt's picture
PoopReport of the Year AwardComment Content ModeratorComment Quality Moderatorf 5000+ points

My wife went back for a visit about 11 years ago. Even though she had free lodging in her sisters home, a two week stay, including round trip airfare, cost me almost $4,000. My son was traveling with her and told me horror stories of apples that cost $3.00 each, $2.00 lemons and the bowl of noodles I used to get for $0.14 had gone up to $10.00. He said a decent meal for two in a restaurant was at least $100.00.

I remember a driving trip I made in 1964 from Tokyo to the island of Kyushu, to meet my in-laws, that covered 1,400 miles round trip and required several overnight hotel stays. I changed $400.00 into yen at the rate of 360 yen to one dollar. I lived like a king on the trip but only spent half the money.

The good old days.


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Eat chilies and feel the burn!!

How long a minute is depends on what side of the bathroom door you're on!

Thunderbox's picture
PoopReport of the Year AwardComment Quality Moderatorj 1000+ points

I`d love to go to Japan, Chief. It`s so mad, and the girls are beautiful!

But also so damn expensive....I`ll have to put it off until I win the lottery.

The voice of sanity

ChiefThunderbutt's picture
PoopReport of the Year AwardComment Content ModeratorComment Quality Moderatorf 5000+ points

I drank beer in Japan for eight years and didn't ever develop constant squirts. I also drank quite a bit of sake with no side effect other than drunkenness.

I used to buy huge bottles of sake (1.8 liters) and sit the bottle in the sink in the janitorial closet in the barracks and heat the whole thing by running hot water over it. A little bit of kimchi for munching and I was in heaven.


_______
Eat chilies and feel the burn!!

How long a minute is depends on what side of the bathroom door you're on!

Squat-n-leaveit's picture
Comment Quality Moderatork 500+ points

If rws is correct, then drinkers of Kirin Ichiban, or Sapporo Original Draft Beer, or everybody in Japan should have the shits. I will contemplate further over a plate of pad Thai, and a bottle of hot sake

Educated Ed's picture

rws ... Most American beers are brewed with barley malt to which rice or corn has been added as an adjunct to give the finished product a lighter taste, it seems that American beer drinkers don't really like the taste of real beer. Budweiser is brewed with about 30% added rice.

. I don't mean to single out the Miller company, but you may be interested to know that Miller Lite contains propylene glycol alginate, water, barley malt, corn syrup, chemically modified hop extracts, yeast, amyloglucosidase, carbon dioxide, papain enzyme, liquid sugar, potassium metabisulfite, and Emka-malt, whatever that is. I would venture to say that light beers as a class tend to have more additives than others, simply because they'd be totally flat and tasteless otherwise.

Give me real beer or just forget about it. I have been drinking beer for over 60 years and it doesn't give me the squirts.

rws's picture

I have a theory that it is the rice content in the beer. It makes no sense to me because I love rice, and rice should prevent diarrea and not cause it, but here goes... Almost all North American beers (including Canadian and Mexican) are brewed with rice. The only exception I know of is Miller Lite (not sure about other miller beers). Miller Lite gives me much less problems than other American beers. Bass, Guinness, New Castle, and other European beers also are much better in this regard. But expensive, especially at the bar. So Miller Lite is a great alternative. 2 Buds are usually enough to give me the runs all day, but I can drink 12 Miller Lites (and the Euro beers) with minimal problems. Of course, once you hit 20, it's going to happen no matter what, but it's still better with the non-rice beers.

John Burke's picture

I drink about a six-pack a day with no problems (bowel, etc) The worry warts are alway trying to make us get uptight. They're full of shit. Lots of Europeans drink 3-4 pints a day with no consequences.

MSG's picture
Comment Quality Moderatori 2000+ points

Nyyankee: Carbonation can indeed lead to diarrhea; it has happened to me, including one memorable time in Las Vegas that I recounted elsewhere on this site. Once you know it does it to you, you can regulate when you drink it.

ChiliKahKah's picture
j 1000+ points

Just quit drinking the cheap beer and chasing it with cheap snack foods.

Squat-n-leaveit's picture
Comment Quality Moderatork 500+ points

I am reminded of the story of the young woman who wandered into a tavern and ordered a bud lite. She continued swilling bud lite until passing out, at which point the bartender dragged her to the back room and had his way way with her, along with all the rest of the patrons. The next day, she wanders in again, and orders a bud lite, and the entire thing happens all over again. On the third day however, she sits down, and orders a miller lite. "No bud lite tonight?" asks the bartender. "No" she answers, then whispers, "bud lite makes my pussy sore."

Oh my sore bottom's picture

Nice to know that my husband and I do not have some terrible bowel problem....Just the problem that we love Boulevard unfiltered Wheat beer....we have had diarrhea on and off for several weeks now and could not figure out why...Thanks for all the input and helpful information. We will go back to our other brand and see if we have better results. Obviously we have problems digesting the unfiltered wheat in the beer and the yeast that is at the bottom of the bottle....Too bad though...we love Boulevard unfiltered wheat beer....but it is gonna have to go because it makes us have to go and go and go....Thanks again for all the great tips on what we should do!!!!! L and B

Backed Up Ass's picture

It's Sunday and I haven't shit since Tuesday. I've been researching online all day about what will make me poop and you people have convinced me that I need to drink some beers tonight. I'm a red wine drinker but tonight I'm reverting back to my 21 year old self. This shit has got to get out!! I just hope I don't get mud butt or swamp ass.

nyyankee23tnmn's picture
m 1+ points - Newb

What about soda? I don't really drink beer, but i love chugging Coke, and it gives me horrible runs of diarrhea. So, perhaps it's the carbonated water?

Accompanying the soda with a lot of protein (meat: chicken, steak, etc.) can help abate the diarrhea, but greasy stuff (pizza, BK, etc.) only accelerates it. Therefore, i don't think it's the alcohol that does it. Any thoughts?


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i like poopy

i like poopy

Anonymous Coward's picture

I hope this blog post is re-written at some point with a few added points:

1. Celiac disease includes intollerence of beer make from wheat or barley (most all beer) due to the gluten reaction. So if you have this problem be on the look-out for a bigger problem, and look up Celiac, or see this citation:
http://www.glutenfreeda.com/about_celiac_disease.asp

2. Some bottle-conditioned beers have yeast on the bottom of the bottle. YOu could seek out filtered beers, but many of the best have some live yeast in them. Except in the case of German Hefe Weizen beers, you are NOT supposed to swirl the bottle or drink the yeast! Don't drink out of the bottle -- this is a reason for a glass. Leave a half inch of beer unpoured, or you will get the yeasty sludge in your glass.
Citation:
http://www.howtobrew.com/section1/chapter11-9.html
That's funny and useful for drinkers of many craft or classic beers, whether home-brewed or commercial.

cheers to beers!

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