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Recovering from colectomy. Does alcohol cause diarrhea? Will alcohol be absorbed quicker without having a colon?

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General Surgeon
Practicing since : 2002
Answered : 3189 Questions
I am recovering from a total colectomy, 8 weeks post surgery. I had 2 questions answered a week ago if you would like to review my info. I am doing as well as expected at this time, my surgeon said at OV yesterday12/13/13. I still have mostly watery stools, currently taking Prevalite 3x day. My appetite is poor and I have not been eating enough solids to hasten or help recovery (Dr. also said). My question is~ with several Christmas parties coming up soon, I may feel like having an alcoholic drink, although I have not had any alcoholic beverages for several months due to the fact that I was having abdominal discomfort and all the problems leading to my surgery and for sure, and none since surgery. Could the alcohol cause diarrhea, possibly rather soon after drinking it, like some drinks and food do to me now? Will the alcohol be absorbed quicker without having a colon? And, will it take less alcohol to have the same effects as when I had a colon? Should I avoid the alcohol for other reasons not mentioned? I am not taking any pain medication, but as I said, I really don't eat much although I am trying to get back to a better diet and intake of foods in small amounts, several times/day. Thank you, XXXXX
Posted Wed, 1 Jan 2014 in General Health
Answered by Dr. Deepak Kishore Kaltari 2 hours later
Brief Answer: Alcohol will not cause loose stools Detailed Answer: Namasthe Welcome to Healthcare-Magic Greetings of the day Dear Ms XXXXX I would like to answer your queries first and later will explain the physiological basis of it so that it's much reassuring for you. 1. Alcohol will not induce diarrhoea. 2. Majority of absorption of alcohol is from Stomach and a little contribution from small bowel . Colon has no role in the absorption. So absence of colon will not have any effect Colon plays a vital role in absorption of water from the diet or any food we consume and leads to semisolid stools from the liquid stools which are normally present in terminal small bowel. After colectomy this water absorption function of bowel is no longer there, so it leads to persistent diarrhoea and loose stools. Over a period of time the terminal ileum(small bowel) undergoes changes in function due to intestinal adaption and starts taking over the function of colon and diarrhoea settles down. This duration may range from 6 months to 12 months. Alcohol to greater extent is absorbed from the stomach and a little contribution from proximal short bowel that is jejunum. So alcohol intake is unlikely to cause diarrhoea. So enjoy your Christmas and occasional drinking on Christmas is very much acceptable. Wishing you A very Happy and Merry Christmas in advance. If you need any further assistance, will be glad to assist you Wishing you a great and happy life Take care Best Regards Dr Deepak Kishore MBBS, MS, MCH Consultant Surgeon
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