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Thread: How does alcohol cause bloating?

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    Default How does alcohol cause bloating?

    I've heard that alcohol causes bloating of the body and face. What is this caused from? Is it inflammation? Is it something that goes away after a day of not drinking or something that is repaired gradually?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ronnie View Post
    People said that I looked like I'd lost weight within a couple weeks after I quit, even though the scale hadn't moved. My face looked thinner. My clothes fit better around the waist and fell more smoothly across my midsection. I attribute that to a reduction in alcohol related bloat. Totally subjective, of course, but others have shared similar experiences.
    Just a guess, but maybe it's inflammation of the digestive system. There is a lot of surface area in the intestines. If your entire digestive track was slightly inflamed it could have a noticeable cumulative increase in volume of your waist. I think my face already looks different.

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    I do believe that the bloat is from water retention caused by alcohol. I don't know how exactly, but dehydration is also a cause of water retention, and we become dehydrated when we consume alcohol so maybe that is where the connection is.
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    Here are some things I've found online.

    Alcohol abuse can result in upset stomach, abdominal pain, black tar-like stools, vomiting of blood and abdominal pain and bloating.

    Consuming alcohol and carbonated beverages will lead to stomach irritation and accumulation of excess air in your stomach.

    What characterises an addiction? Quite simply this: you no longer feel that you have the choice to stop. (The Power of Now - Eckhart Tolle)

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    Alcohol decreases testosterone and increases estrogen in men. Leading to all sorts of nasty potential side effects (water retention, decrease in lean muscle, lack of sex drive, gyno ie. man boobs ).

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    I have only had three days in, but I already see the difference in my face - my face is not as bloated as it was, my eyes are not as puffy as they usually are. I keep looking at this - pointing out the good. I have no idea why alcohol makes me bloat, but I do know when I'm hungover I have no willpower to eat sensibly so the sodium, chocolate and grease go in my body which also, I'm sure, leads to bloating.

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    Great question. Alcohol is a diuretic and it's speculated that all alcoholics are in a chronic state of dehydration. Of course, the beverage everyone thinks of for sobering a drunk up is coffee, but actually, there couldn't be a worse liquid to consume...caustic, acidic and another dirurectic...

    Losing large volumes of water from our bodies can be quite dangerous; your heart can stop from lack of potassium..and when we pee out all that liquid while we're boozing, it's not just water that's coming out, but electrolytes as well.

    But I didn't really answer the question, did I? I really don't know the answer, just a guess similar to what others have said; an inflammatory reaction of some kind?

    Now that I'm on 'the quitting' side of things, the bloating is so much more dramatic to me. I recently had a slip and couldn't believe how just one night of drinking caused my face to puff up and distort my features. Previous to that night, I had 4 months under my belt and nearly everyone remarked that my face had gotten thinner.
    THINK the drink through...no exceptions.

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    I would binge drink (15 beers over around 7 hours) about once a week or so, and would usually get that bloated look about 2 days after the binge. I find that I lose a little weight the morning after a binge .... the next day I have regained it plus a little more. And that corresponds with the beginning of the bloat look. This would completely disappear when I would drink, and my face would look a lot better. So my guess is that the bloating is at least partly a kind of rebound rehydration of sorts, a response to the fast loss of fluids that happens with drinking. Without drinking, I find it goes away after a couple of weeks. I agree about the coffee, a bad thing to drink as it will only contribute to the drinkers higher cortisol levels, causing muscle loss, visceral fat deposition and increased inflammation, poor sleep and blood sugar control, and a long term outlook for weight gain and related issues.

    Alcohol has a lot of toxic effects that may contribute to the bloating.... it can cause a leaky gut for example, which allows food proteins and other stuff to get into the blood stream setting off an immune reaction.
    Last edited by wildfire; 11-29-2009 at 09:58 PM.

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