How does alcohol affect your Crohns?

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Date Joined Nov 2010
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   Posted 2/11/2011 11:31 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi everyone!  So here's the 21st birthday is at the end of this month.  I have never drank alcohol before.  Truthfully!  I was diagnosed with Crohn's right after I turned 18 and never got into the teenage drinking thing.  I have been told that alcohol doesn't mix well with Crohn's.  I've also been on Flagyl several times (though I am not currently) and was told if I even had a sip of a wine cooler I'd be throwing up into my shoes. 
I've heard stories before of someone with Crohn's binge drinking one night and ending up in the hospital the next morning.
How does everyone else's Crohn's react to alcohol?  Since I've never had any before, I'm nervous of how I will react with it.  Any advice?  I don't want to send myself to the hospital for trying something but I also think it might be a smart idea to at least know how I would react to it.

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   Posted 2/11/2011 11:57 PM (GMT -7)   
One word,,,,,Moderation, but there is nothing wrong with being the designated driver either.
If we would read the secret history of our enemies,we would find in each mans life sorrow and suffering enough to disarm all hostility.

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   Posted 2/12/2011 2:39 AM (GMT -7)   
Maybe it would be worth trying the odd type of drink prior to your birthday(with a few days in between each) and just see how you react(shots, beers etc)
My son 17 (and underage dare I say it) drinks when he goes to parties(not a regular event) I gave him the lectures about his medications, impacts of drinking etc but he did drink and has had no problems because of it.
Others I know simply cannot drink because of the affect it has on their crohns.

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Date Joined Mar 2005
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   Posted 2/12/2011 3:07 AM (GMT -7)   
I used to love single barrel bourbons but haven't had a drink in almost 2 years. Not good for me at all. Seemed to make me bleed
36 year old male living in AZ.  Diagnosed with Crohns at age of 15.
Currently on 30 mg prednisone.  still taking Asacol.  Just had 3rd Remicade infusion 3 weeks ago
In the middle of a bad flare now for over a year...lost almost 30 lbs. -- gained most of it back now.

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   Posted 2/12/2011 3:30 AM (GMT -7)   
The only times I've ever had problems, was when I was flaring. I was always able to drink mixed drinks and hard liquor, but beer would give me quite a bit of pain. Any other times, I've had no problems with beer or anything else. Don't go too crazy until you know it will do to you.
Diagnosed with CD July 2007
Currently on Remicade, acidophilus, multivitamin.
Resection December 2009

Amor fati - Nietzsche

Veteran Member

Date Joined Nov 2009
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   Posted 2/12/2011 6:05 AM (GMT -7)   
The only alcohol I could drink occasionally was Patron Silver.
Dx:Ulcerative Colitis March 2008
Dx: Crohns May 2008

No surgeries yet but I am desperately trying to keep my colon.
8 blood transfusions, SVT due to low H&H, Anxiety during new medication injections due to past reactions.
Been through MANY medications with mixed results
Currently on Cimzia, Lialda, Ambien (prn), xanax(prn) Bee Propolis 500mg twice per day.

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Date Joined Apr 2003
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   Posted 2/12/2011 8:38 AM (GMT -7)   
Alcohol just gives me more diarrhea the next day. I stay away from it while flaring, but enjoy it when in remission.
Crohn's dx April 2003, in remission 2004-December 2010
Apriso, dicyclomine, Entocort 9mg, omeprazole 40mg, Cimzia
Severe Crohn's throughout the colon 12/10-present

Bipolar I dx 2009
Saphris 15mg, Zoloft 150mg

Elite Member

Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 14995
   Posted 2/12/2011 8:43 AM (GMT -7)   
I no longer drink, but I found I could only drink mixed drinks and in moderation. Not too much was okay for me as long as I wasn't flaring. Happy early Birthday!!!
Gail*Nanners* Co-Moderator for Crohns Disease
Crohn's Disease for over 35 years. Currently on Asacol, Protonix, Estrace, Prinivil, Diltiazem, Percoset prn for pain, Zofran, Phenergan, Probiotics, Calcium, Vit D, and Xanax prn. Resections in 2002 & 2005. Also diagnosed w/ Fibromyalgia, Osteoarthritis, & Anxiety. Currently my Crohns is in remission, but my joints are going crazy!

Regular Member

Date Joined Jan 2010
Total Posts : 257
   Posted 2/12/2011 9:15 AM (GMT -7)   
same for me - as long as I didn't have too much and wasn't flaring at the time then it was okay. When I'm not feeling well I stay away!
diagnosed 2003
vit D, calcium, iron when my tummy can handle it, salmon oil, multi vitamin
stopped Pentasa
now off of prednisone
now off azathioprine after breaking out in a rash
now off 6mp after breaking out in another rash...
on Remicade since January 24, 2011

Regular Member

Date Joined Jun 2010
Total Posts : 337
   Posted 2/12/2011 10:03 AM (GMT -7)   
When I was in remission, I could drink rum (Capitan!), vodka, and most wines. Beer gave me an upset stomach most of the time, so I didn't used to drink it much.

I found I felt worse if I drank cheap liquor (like Miller Lite vs. a more expensive beer, or no name rum vs. Capitan).

My best advice is find one thing and stick with it for the whole night. Don't mix it up. Try a mixed vodka drink or a wine or a beer and stay with one type of drink ALL night. That way if it upsets your stomach, you'll know to avoid it in the future.

Also, watch your limit. I had NO tolerance even as a relatively seasoned drinker towards the end of my grad school career. One rum and coke, one rum shot and I was done.

Though if I'm flaring, no alcohol for me. I had a glass of wine with my most recent flare and felt like I was going to die...

So moral of the story? Moderation, don't binge, drink the better stuff since you won't drink much, and have fun!
Diagnosed 2002 at 18. Remission for about 7 years. Getting back into the swing of things at 26.

75mg Imuran, 750mg Balsalazide 3x day,Entocort 9mg/day, loading doses of Remicade.

Maybe this flare is going away?!

Regular Member

Date Joined Nov 2010
Total Posts : 489
   Posted 2/12/2011 10:13 AM (GMT -7)   
beer not good, wine not good, anything with lots of sugar not good..soooo needless to say i don't drink to much anymore( not that i was a huge drinker to begin with)just take it easy, don't get Sh**faced and have fun. OH and HAPPY B-Day!!!!
4 years with crohn's
starting remicade
married for 13 years(been together for 20 this march)
39 years old with a lovely 8 year old daughter
"Bellydancer, Snakecharmer...Bellydance Snakecharmer!"...Beats Antique

Regular Member

Date Joined Nov 2010
Total Posts : 268
   Posted 2/12/2011 12:35 PM (GMT -7)   
Nanners and takilra- Thank you for the early Birthday wishes! :) Much appreciated!

Thank you all so much for posting! From what I've read, it sounds like I need to stay away from the alcohol during a flare. Unfortunately, I'm at the end of a flare now, so I may just wait until I'm better to try some! It also sounds like beer is a no no? I think I may be ok with that, I don't care for the smell of it! I like the idea of mixed drinks though, much more appetizing :)

Any experience with Mike's Hard Lemonade?

Regular Member

Date Joined Dec 2010
Total Posts : 380
   Posted 2/12/2011 2:54 PM (GMT -7)   
Mike's Hard Lemonade is a malt beverage so you might react to it the same way as beer. I know I can't beer because of the yeast and wheat in it. I turn 21 in september, but I won't lie I have had my share of drinks. I went on a trips to Canada and Europe ;p

I keep it really simple, and try to stay away from a lot sugary things. I don't have a strong tolerance so I don't do straight up shots. I don't like wine very much so can't really help you there.

My Bm's get a little softer but that seems to be about it. I definitely would start off slow, and it's easier to have more than take away it.

Happy Early B-day! I'm the last one of my friends to turn 21 so I'll be DD for awhile hehe.
Diagnosed Nov 2008
Brother also has Crohn's.
Currently on Humira, LDN, and Ciprofloaxcin and Flaygl (1/2 dose)
I'm 20 years old.
I want to be a Gastro Doctor ; )

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2006
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   Posted 2/12/2011 4:25 PM (GMT -7)   
I do not drink any more (and have not since I was 22 or so- sometime early in the Navy, but before I was deployed), given that it effects my physical proformance for a couple of days afterwards (I was training for a marathon at the time and now for the last couple of years I just need every ounce of energy that I can get). Plus, I feel it is unwise for me to drink with meds that cause damage to the liver.
I would say if you are bound and determinded to do it (which I would be if I was turning 21), go with something such as a frozen hurricane (like an alcoholic slushie), and just ask them to mix it very weakly. And if you feel like it is effecting you, then just ask for a non alcoholic one. After all you can also just drink pop and say it is a rum and coke.

If you want to go with bottles for safety reasons, I would stick with the fruity ones, but that just use to be my person perferance. Just research which one's have the least amount of alcohol in them.  But bear in mind I stopped drinking because it effected my athletic proformance, long before I ever was dx with crohns.
Since this is a highly individual thing I think take it easy and just going slow might be something to consider.
Forum Co-moderator - Crohn's Disease/Thyroid Disorders: All comments have the caveat contact your local health care provider.
I will find a way or make one. –Phillip Sidney 1554-1586
All that I am and all that I shall ever be, I owe to my Angel Mother.
The Bucket List- Have you found joy in your life? Has your life brought joy to others?
Make sure your suffering has meaning…

Post Edited (MMMNAVY) : 2/12/2011 4:34:47 PM (GMT-7)

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   Posted 2/12/2011 8:34 PM (GMT -7)   
They do tell you if you drink while using Flagyl you will end up in the hospital with uncontrolable vomiting.. I could not drink when my CD was very active without feeling sick, and it burning all the way down?? I can drink on occasion now, but I will have diarrhea the next day..

Regular Member

Date Joined Aug 2010
Total Posts : 486
   Posted 2/13/2011 12:27 AM (GMT -7)   
if you are not on any medication I should say a glass or two of wine won't hurt you but would suggest you try BEFORE your birthday so you don't ruin a special event.

When I am not on meds I can drink wine (bubbly is best) or have the odd fruity cocktail. Beer and cider don't suit me at any time these days and spirits seem to make me ill as well but I suspect that may be the mixers more than the alcohol.

When I am on meds especally steriods more than a glass of wine makes me very ill indeed (major vomiting) so I no longer mix alcohol with steroids at all ;)

Maybe some non alcoholic cocktails would be make be special drink for your special day - make sure you get an umbrella and all the trimings and have a wonderful time :)

Veteran Member

Date Joined May 2007
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   Posted 2/13/2011 1:50 AM (GMT -7)   
Moderation is key. I had a beer last night, sipped it very slowly over roughly an hour. Didn't really bother me. I've gone all-out before, and paid for it the following 2-3 days.

You need to remember, though- Alcohol is a blood thinner. If you're having a flare, your guts are probably bleeding. Drinking too much will inhibit your blood's ability to clot, and can lead to serious side effects, which is probably where the hospitalization stories come from.

Make your friends aware of the situation, and be clear that you don't know how your guts will tolerate it. This not only happens to be true, but it leaves you an "escape" option if you start feeling a flare.

Also, if someone buys you a "Three Wisemen going Turkey hunting down south in Mexico," don't drink it. I have yet to try, but it looks and smells like an instant flare.

Regular Member

Date Joined Apr 2010
Total Posts : 171
   Posted 2/13/2011 9:22 AM (GMT -7)   
RiddleMeThis.. I went through the same thing. I was diagnosed right before my 20th birthday, and have never drank before then.

Through trial and error, I've found that drinks like wine, wine coolers, Smirnoff etc. don't really bother me. But harder stuff like rum, whiskey, vodka make me feel horrible the next day, even if I only have 1 or 2!

Like some other people have said, maybe try a couple before you actually go out for your birthday, just to see how it affects you.
Hope you have a great birthday!
26 y/o female from Kentucky.

Diagnosed with Crohn's in 2004. Colon resection in 2004
Had symptoms since about 2002.

Also lactose intolerant and anemic.

Not currently on any medication. Just watching what I eat

Veteran Member

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   Posted 2/13/2011 8:01 PM (GMT -7)   
IMHO the first time your drink,whether you have Crohn's or not, shouldn't be a binge drinking episode. You don't have to have Crohn's to end up in the hospital from heavy consumption of alcohol.
36 yrs old, diagnosed at age 14

artist guy
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   Posted 2/13/2011 8:36 PM (GMT -7)   

well I can say this whatever you do drink, it won't take much for you to get a little buzz going, come on 21st. take a couple shots of tequila and your done, 2oz's, maybe better than big sugery drink that might have more alcohol. just kidding, be careful, like everyone else said. moderation, OK 1 shot then. whatever have FUN!!!


Elite Member

Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 14995
   Posted 2/14/2011 8:17 AM (GMT -7)   
Good advice clonehead!!
Gail*Nanners* Co-Moderator for Crohns Disease
Crohn's Disease for over 35 years. Currently on Asacol, Protonix, Estrace, Prinivil, Diltiazem, Percoset prn for pain, Zofran, Phenergan, Probiotics, Calcium, Vit D, and Xanax prn. Resections in 2002 & 2005. Also diagnosed w/ Fibromyalgia, Osteoarthritis, & Anxiety. Currently my Crohns is in remission, but my joints are going crazy!

Veteran Member

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   Posted 2/14/2011 7:55 PM (GMT -7)   
Beer makes me sick for 2 weeks, so I stopped, but clear booze is fine. I stick to tequlia shots
Pentasa (1,500 per day for the last 2 months), Vit D and B complex, fish oil and SCD vit. Entocort (9 mg). SCD since Nov 2010. Amitriptyline for sleeping
I give thanks and keep my fingers crossed as I am having 15 good days to .5 not great. Hesitant to use the word remmission but....

Veteran Member

Date Joined Feb 2011
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   Posted 2/15/2011 11:52 AM (GMT -7)   
Never had any negative issues with alcohol and CD. The only problem I have now is that as have an ileo and not much small bowel left things don't get a chance to stay on my system very long. It takes a hell of a lot to get me drunk (except oddly for wine, one glass and completely trolleyed) and then if I stop drinking or slow down can be sober again within the hour. So very expensive night out if I want to get drunk so to be honest don't bother anymore as is bit of waste of time. Advantage is that never get hangovers as nothing stays in system long enough! Husband is pleased though as he is only 5'9 and as I am 6'3 he struggled trying to keep me upright when I was swaying badly!

Take it steady and try a few things before hand, personally I would stick to spirits diluted well choosing named brands as they tend to be purest version of alcohol. Beers/lagers/ciders can cause lot of air and wind due to yeast and wine can have effect from finings and be acidic.
Crohn's dx 1989, loop ileo 1992, end ileo 1992. Arthritis developed 1990 Stoma abcess 1995. Azathioprine started 1995. Panprocolorectomy 1999. Stillbirth 2000, antiphospholipid syndrome dx 2000. Flare up 2004, stoma abcess and strictoplasty 2004. Low blood pressure dx with impaired kidney function 2006, fludrocortisone pres. flare up 2010, steroids, Humira, codeine.

Regular Member

Date Joined Nov 2010
Total Posts : 268
   Posted 2/15/2011 6:49 PM (GMT -7)   
Thank you so much everyone for your replies! Hearing everyone's experiences with alcohol really helps me realize that anything can happen! I'm thinking I may actually not drink anything on my birthday and wait until afterwards. I think I may wait until a night at home my sister and try maybe some Smirnoff Ice or something mixed. I figure if I get sick, I'd be more comfortable and better off at home.

And I definitely agree that moderation is key! I do want to get a buzz but not crazy drunk!. I want to know how I react to alcohol both behavior wise and physically. I think it would be a good think to know about myself. So we'll see! I'll let everyone know!

I have an appointment coming up on Monday with one of my GI's...maybe I'll see what she thinks. Once again, thanks everyone! You're all a great help! :)

Regular Member

Date Joined May 2009
Total Posts : 72
   Posted 2/16/2011 3:04 AM (GMT -7)   
I heard lots of story about wine and beer affecting crohns patients in a big way lucky i dont drink that anyway.
I drink Vodka Lemonade and Lime or Blackcurrent and it seems to be fine for me.
Happy 21st
K x
Age 22 Diagnosed with Crohns in 2006
Live in the UK
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