Photo by Marisol Benitez on Unsplash

With the hustle and bustle of the holiday season coming to a close, your eyes are probably set and ready to watch that ball drop and ring in the New Year (especially after the insanity of 2020!). If you are like me, alcohol isn’t part of my New Year’s Eve plans. I made the decision to stop drinking about two years ago. With my Crohn’s disease staying in the “severe” range for many years, the farther along I am in my IBD journey, the harder it’s been to recover from a night out.

Alcohol impairs your state of mind, and it also severely dehydrates you with large quantities making it very difficult for a body that already struggles to meet homeostasis. So how do you politely decline without the inevitable adult peer pressure?

In my experience, it’s all in the way you word it. When someone offers you a drink, and you choose to politely decline, how do you go about it without having to explain your entire medical history? For some reason, there is a huge difference between “I can’t drink” and “I don’t drink,” By declining a drink with “I can’t,” I’ve found people ask a lot less questions. When declining with “I don’t,” 9 out of 10 times, I’m met with that dreaded adult peer pressure. You should never feel bad about declining anything, never mind an alcoholic drink that makes your insides feel like they’re about to fall out.

Photo by Elevate on Unsplash

Photo by Elevate on Unsplash

Here are some things you may not know!

Alcohol and IBD have a long-standing tumultuous relationship. Many do not realize that the consumption of alcohol can have a direct effect on your IBD. Alcohol irritates your digestive tract and affects the way your intestines are able to absorb fluids. It could potentially change the regularity of your bowel movements, which can cause both loose stool and/or constipation. Regularly consuming alcohol can damage your stomach lining and the function of your gut over time. It can also cause malabsorption and bleeding of the GI tract.

Now, obviously, each IBD case is different. Some IBD patients are able to consume a moderate amount of liquor without any flare type symptoms. Some may be able to drink wine but not beer and so on and so forth. It’s all about listening to your body and not pushing it to its limits. Other possible consumption symptoms include anemia, decreased liver function, vomiting, ulcers, gastritis (inflammation of stomach walls), and can interact with certain medications. Also, it is important to remember that even though alcohol may not affect your IBD currently, it is possible for that to change in the

When suffering from IBD, don’t ever feel like you have to explain yourself when it comes to drinking. Some situations may seem harder to explain yourself, especially without divulging into your medical background and hearing how you can “cure” you’re IBD, but now you have some fun facts to drop if you ever find yourself with those pushy peer pressure people.

For more information about alcohol and IBD, check out these articles:



Michelle has had IBD symptoms most of her life but was diagnosed with Crohn’s at 18 in 2007. At 23, she experienced fistulas and abscesses that ultimately hit her pretty hard, leading to many other health problems. After struggling to stay working full time in the medical field Michelle chose to apply for disability and today, at 31 years old she is a stay at home mom to her 10 year old son and new wife!

Michelle came across GWG while in the hospital recovering from her Ileostomy surgery. Since then she has been part of the Pen Pal Angels and the 2018 Newbie retreat, and also a moderator on the Facebook forum, and now a dedicated blogger. Her interest in blogging comes from her late best friend who use to push her to do it. She decided to take the plunge into writing for the GWG forum because the sisterhood she’s gained through GWG has gotten her through some of the toughest patches in her life!


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