The recommended limit for all adults is 14 units per week (six x 175 ml glasses of wine or six pints of 4% beer) which should be spread across three or more days. This is not completely without risk as there is no completely safe level of alcohol consumption, but this is considered ‘low-risk’ consumption.1
The high sugar content of some drinks, such as beer or alcopops, can contribute to diarrhoea, so you may need to choose drinks containing less sugar, such as wine.2 Alcohol can also make some IBD treatments ineffective or less effective.3 Your doctor will be able to advise on whether it is likely that your medication will be affected by drinking alcohol. Ultimately, whether you choose to drink is your own decision.
Even if you find that drinking alcohol has little or no effect on your IBD, you should still drink in moderation as part of a general healthy living strategy.2
It can help to track your food and drink intake in a food diary to help you identify things which are worsening your condition or triggering flares. If you find that drinking alcohol is worsening your symptoms of IBD, you may need to stop or significantly reduce your consumption.
Download our food diary and begin to track your food and drink intake.
Stopping drinking alcohol may seem like a small lifestyle change, but some people may worry that it will make it difficult for them to socialise with friends and that they will have to explain their condition to more people. However, by drinking, many people with IBD do experience worsening of their symptoms which prevents them from engaging in social activities.
If you are not sure how alcohol is affecting you, or need help changing your drinking habits, please speak to your doctor. You could also read the NHS Better Health guidance on ways and reasons to drink less – find it here.
Read more here for some useful tips on talking about your IBD here.
IBD = Inflammatory bowel disease.
*IBDrelief patient survey data from 167 respondents with IBD in the UK.4