Women With Irritable Bowel Syndrome Who Binge Pay the Price

Research has shown that women suffer more than men from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). The problem is unpleasant, inconvenient and difficult to manage. Now, a University of Washington study suggests that women with IBS who drink heavily may be making their condition worse.

The study involved 166 women ages 18 to 48 with IBS and 48 healthy women who served as a control group. All the women were asked to spend 30 days doing the following:

  1. Maintain a daily record of alcohol use as well as caffeine intake and tobacco use
  2. Score their daily stress level
  3. Rank gastrointestinal problems like gas, stomach pain, nausea each day
  4. Fill out a survey to determine each woman’s exact sub-category of IBS.

The researchers looked particularly at each day’s alcohol intake to see how it might affect symptoms of IBS the following day.

The results indicated that women who binged (four or more alcoholic beverages in one day) on alcohol suffered more the next day with problems of diarrhea, indigestion and pain than women who did not drink heavily. There did not appear to be any link between moderate drinking and IBS symptoms on the following day.

The study merely demonstrated that there is a lasting effect from binge drinking on women with the kind of IBS associated with diarrhea; it did not explain how the two are related. It remains unclear how alcohol may change the microscopic environment within the gastrointestinal tract or if alcohol use signals the existence of internal problems.

What is plain is that women who already suffer from IBS only make their problem worse by indulging in alcohol.


Posted on July 15th, 2013
Posted in Substance Abuse

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