Alcohol and Your Gut: 3 Ways You Could be Damaging Your Gut When You Drink
You’ve heard along the way how alcohol can damage the liver – but do you know how alcohol affects your gut (and why it matters)?
1. Can damage GI tract
Your gut (also known as your intestines, colon, gastrointestinal tract, GI tract, and digestive tract) is the first place anything ingested comes into lasting contact within your body. Consuming alcohol – especially chronically and in large amounts – can damage your gut, and in turn spill over into the rest of your body.
Alcohol Irritates the gut and causes inflammation in your intestines. If your gut is inflamed it’s harder for it to absorb nutrients.
If nutrients aren’t absorbed, they’re just passing through and being eliminated as waste – which means your organs (and your body) aren’t getting the nutrients they need to stay strong and healthy. (And you could be “wasting” your healthy diet.)
Keeping your colon healthy is a big key in maintaining your overall health.
2. Can cause polyps – and increase risk of colon cancer
When alcohol is metabolized, it turns into a carcinogen in your body – and that can damage the cells in your colon, potentially causing mutations in those cells that can increase your risk for developing polyps.
While polyps themselves are benign at the beginning, that can turn into cancer – which is why it’s so important to have a colonoscopy, so the polyps can be detected and removed BEFORE they turn cancerous. Since polyps often present zero symptoms, a colonoscopy is the only way to know they’re present.
And that’s the best way for you to prevent colon cancer!
Ever gone out for a drink – or a night of drinks – and your time in the bathroom ends up a little different than normal?
On one hand, alcohol can speed up digestion, which can lead to diarrhea. However, on the other hand, it can delay digestion and lead to the opposite issue: Constipation.
You may have encountered one or both of these scenarios and didn’t give it a passing thought. However, repeated alcohol consumption – and the repeated diarrhea and constipation – can lead to more uncomfortable gut issues and concerns down the road than just an inconvenient bathroom trip or two.
Keep an eye on things with a colonoscopy
There are quite a few reasons for why you need a colonoscopy. And if you drink alcohol, there’s a simple way to check on how things are looking in your gut: With a colonoscopy. It will send a camera throughout your GI tract, and we’ll be able to see if there’s any inflammation – and how much – and if you have any polyps or other areas of concern. We can remove those polyps and actually PREVENT cancer by catching them before they become cancerous.
Schedule your colonoscopy now
If you’re 45 or older – or have personal or family history risk factors – it’s time for a colonoscopy. Call us today at (248) 273-9930 to schedule (or click here to make an appointment online). Gastrointestinal Specialists, P.C. in Troy, Michigan has a team of knowledgeable doctors – at our own surgical center and not a hospital – to make your colonoscopy as quick, simple, and painless as possible.