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Can beer trigger diarrhea?

Fact Checked

Always bear in mind that beer could not cause diarrhea among healthy adults. There are certain ingredients that can trigger a reaction in some individuals that result to diarrhea.

Hops, barley and yeast can be considered as triggers for an allergic reaction after ingesting beer. It is important to note that beer is produced from the by-products of wheat and initiate an allergic reaction among those who are allergic to wheat. An individual who is at risk for a reaction must stop drinking beer until a doctor is consulted.

Potential causes of diarrhea from beer

The diarrhea that occurs after drinking beer is the result of inflammation in the digestive system from the elevated levels of histamine. If the individual is allergic to one or several ingredients in beer, the immune system overly reacts to the substance and starts to protect the body by producing immunoglobulin E antibodies (IgE).

These antibodies cause the mast cells to generate histamine to protect the body. Histamine is the chemical in the body that protects the body against infection. Excess amounts of histamine can lead to inflammation, swelling and irritation in the soft tissues.

What are the symptoms?

Once an individual is sensitive to the components in beer, he/she can develop symptoms in just minutes after ingesting the beverage. Some of the initial symptoms include the following:

  • Bloating
    In case the diarrhea persists for more than a day, it is best to consult a doctor.
  • Gas
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal cramps

When the offending allergen is eliminated from the body, the symptoms start to subside. In case the diarrhea persists for more than a day, it is best to consult a doctor. The other symptoms of an allergic reaction to beer include facial swelling, skin rashes, asthma and nasal congestion.

Considerations to bear in mind

The diarrhea that occurs after consuming beer might be an indication of gluten intolerance or celiac disease. When it comes to celiac disease, it is a common condition in which gluten that is a protein present in wheat triggers damage to the small intestines.

The exact cause of this condition is still unknown but can cause stomach pain, diarrhea and bloating. If the individual has been diagnosed with gluten intolerance, he/she must avoid all beverages and foods that contain gluten including beer.

If the individual is sensitive to wheat, he/she must avoid beer. There is a risk for a severe allergic reaction that has serious complications. Anaphylaxis is a systemic reaction that can disrupt with normal breathing, thus potentially leading to death. Take note that diarrhea is an indication of anaphylaxis and once the individual is suspected of experiencing this type of reaction, call for immediate medical care.

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