October 9, 2009

What are the Effects of Alcohol on Diverticulitis?

Posted in Category : Common Ailments

In diverticular disease, numerous small pouches that infiltrate the lining of the colon get infected and inflamed. While these small pouches usually form in the colon, they can develop anywhere along the digestive tract. Home remedies for diverticulitis and the associated pain are easy to find as it mainly involves the use of special diets. While a diverticulitis diet cannot prevent or treat the condition, it can help bring symptomatic relief to the sufferer.

While the exact causes of diverticular disease are not fully understood, what is known is that a low-fiber diet, alcohol consumption, smoking, obesity and the aging process all contribute to the formation of diverticula.

Diverticulitis and alcohol in no way go together. Drinking alcohol does affect the symptoms of diverticulitis and can aggravate the intensity and duration of the attacks. This is because alcohol will further aggravate the inflammation in the gastric system, leading to increased pain and further complications. In addition to this, medications such as antibiotics and painkillers that you may be prescribed can interact adversely with alcohol.

Some of the symptoms you may experience, should you mix alcohol with your medications include, stomach upset and pain, vomiting, diarrhea and dizziness.

The symptoms of diverticulitis include tenderness in the lower abdomen, gas and bloating along with nausea and vomiting. Irregularities in bowels and frequency of urination may also occur. At times the pain and discomfort can be severe enough to require hospitalization for treatment. Treatment to reduce the severity of the symptoms may include medication for pain, antibiotics and a special diet. The diet will be a high-fluid and low-fiber diet. Liquids that irritate the digestive tract such as tea, coffee and alcohol have to be avoided completely as they can aggravate the problem. These dietary changes are temporary and should be followed for as long as the symptoms are present.

The goal of a diverticulitis diet during an attack is to give your digestive system a break from foods that are difficult to digest and other irritants. This will also allow the medications prescribed by your doctor to work more effectively.

Usually, the first two to three days of the diet will involve a clear liquid diet which may include broths, pulp-free juices, plain gelatin and water. This will help lessen the pain during an attack. Low fiber foods can be introduced gradually after about three days. Foods that may be included in this phase of the diet include eggs, white bread, milk, cheese, tender chicken, fish, white rice and a small portion of well cooked vegetables. Once the attack has passed and the symptoms have subsided, high fiber foods can be reintroduced into the diet.

The increase in dietary fiber needs to be a gradual one so as not to stress the digestive system. Should you feel any kind of discomfort while increasing your intake of dietary fiber, revert to the lower levels of fiber intake. High fiber foods that can be gradually reintroduced include brown rice, whole grain cereal and breads, steamed vegetables, fruits and beans. Once the symptoms have passed, your diet should contain a high proportion of dietary fiber as this may help to minimize the frequency and severity of recurrences.

Consult your doctor about when you could resume the consumption of alcohol. Once you have been given the go ahead, limit yourself to no more than two standard beverages in a day. Any amount more than this and you run the risk of a recurrence of the attack or other complications.


  1. http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/diverticular-disease-000051.htm