What Happens to You When You Drink Alcohol? Is This Endometriosis or Interstitial Cystitis?

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I do my best to avoid alcohol as much as possible but since being in Germany and catching up with family, the situation kinda presents itself that having a glass of wine is a given… James and I got engaged in December last year and everyone has wanted to have a toast to celebrate the event! I am sure you know that alcohol is not great for endometriosis, since it directly affects our liver. BUT… well, it inevitably lands up in a glass and down our throat somehow.

The thing is, my body seems to react quite instantly to alcohol. When I drink it, I seem to feel the affects of it quite quickly, which I figure is a great thing, since I don’t need to drink as much. I feel fine at the time but it is the next day that I seem to feel the effects. I wake up and need to go to the toilet fairly quickly as I get quite sore if I don’t. When I do go, there is this lingering pain on my left side (where my endo was found during my operations). Now I get this pain when I hold wee in for too long too, so I thought this might be interstitial cystitis instead of endo. I feel particularly drained and tired for the next day and seem to need to go to the toilet more the following day. The pain on the left side remains as this dull kinda ache for the whole day.

I have found some great solutions to reduce this pain. I drink bicarbonate of soda on the evening after drinking alcohol and have heaps of dandelion flower/leaf tea (picked fresh from a park somewhere) the next day. Now, having thought about this for a little while, I figured out that the reason these work is two fold.

See, alcohol is acidic to the body and the bladder. If the alcohol sits in the bladder for a longer period of time, it will inflame the bladder lining and any other areas of the body more. By drinking a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda in water on the night of drinking, it will create an alkaline environment in the bladder, which thereby reduces the inflammatory effects. I also find that certain types of alcohol seem to affect the pain levels more—white wine is terrible! Pure spirits seem to have less associated pain… strange?

The dandelion flower or the leaves, have a natural diuretic effect on the body. Basically, this means they will encourage the kidneys and bladder to flush out liquids properly. Note: there is a big difference between natural diuretics and coffee or black tea. Natural diuretics will soothe and encourage the flushing out of toxins, whereas coffee and black tea are acid. Coffee also adds to the acid load on the body. I have found that cornsilk or parsley tea have a similar result as they are also natural diuretics.

Thing is, it sounds more like interstitial cystitis pain (read this article to understand what that is). I personally believe that the kidney function and interstitial cystitis might all be related. That is a whole other topic. What is your experience with alcohol and pain levels? Do you get a sharp pain when you drink it or the day after? What has worked in reducing your pain levels with it? Any alcohol types that you find are easier to cope with than others?

Feel free to express your comments & thoughts below or share this article with your friends.

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14 Comments

  1. Paige

    Whenever I drink alcohol I get bloated very quickly to the point where I feel so fulĺ I just can’t drink anymore it won’t fit and this is only after 1 or 2 drinks I also get pains in my lower abdomin area not long after my first drink making me feel incredibly uncomfortable in any environment I’m in, that night when sleeping I toss and turn with incredibly bad pain (abdominal all over) and the next day I literally feel like I’ve been hit by a truck my whole body gets the effect and chronic headaches. I barely drink anymore if at all. Im 21 and I had a good social life balanced with my family as I have a 4 year old son and new partner if nearly a year. I’m finding it incredibly hard to push through my feelings sometimes to want to get out of bed some days. None of my close friends or family really seem to understand how this affects me physically and mentally I’m exhausted and drained, I can’t tell them anymore because I just feel like I’m complaining and all they think is I’m never good anymore. I’m still me, I’m just a bit different now but I feel a lot more alone with this. I was only properly diagnosed last year but have been back & forth to the hospital and doctors for over 2 years now. I just don’t know how to deal with it as well I thought.

    Reply
  2. Kat

    Gosh reading this sounds just like all my symptoms! I can’t drink beer at all. Small glass of prosecco or gin and tonic ‘low sugar’ I can just about manage. If I over do it body feels weak and hang over lasts ages. I also sometimes get nausea. So rubbish!

    Reply
  3. Heidi

    I had tons of IC attacks and the baking soda and dandelion tea would help. Spicy food and beer/wine was the worst. This was before I knew I had endo. After the doctor removed the endo from the bladder and everywhere else the bladder pain has not come back (4 years now). My diet has changed since too.

    Reply
  4. Christina

    So as long as I drink “top shelf” and gluten free alcohol, I am usually fine. I am guessing I am quite lucky!

    Reply
    • Melissa

      Guess so 🙂 Maybe I should only drink the best when I do drink – none of that nasty cheap wine hey?

      Reply
  5. Kristin

    I have definitely dealt with this. The main thing is to not just drink water. I had been going to the doctor so often after drinking alcohol, thinking I had a UTI. In fact, it was interstitial cystitis. The main thing was to get electrolytes into my body since my body would get super dehydrated. I found that drinking Gatorade or something with tons of electrolytes like the little packets you can get in most hiking or outdoor stores helps so much. I never feel the effects after. I have definitely cut down when I socialize because it just causes too much damage to my body. Is the pain you were taking about right under your rib cage after you drink… on the back side? that is what usually happens to me…it goes away after a few days with some intense yoga exercises!

    Reply
    • Melissa

      Hi Kristin,
      Those are brilliant suggestions! Thank you for that. I never considered this as a factor and it makes total sense. I actually read that taking Vitamin B helps with this too. I get pain where my endo was found – on the bottom left side of my abdomen. Might try the Yoga exercises too – thanks sweets!

      Reply
      • Kat

        I have recently done this 2 after a few drinks it def helps!

        Reply
  6. Tais

    I used to drink a lot… bad, very bad. Now I drink much less and alcohol usually doesn’t put me in pain, it has rather a laxative effect. I think it’s because I drink lots and lots of water, so it’s not so acid to my bladder, but it has this efect on my intestines.

    I should stop drinking alcohol, specially now that I’m trying to get pregnant.

    Reply
    • Melissa

      Hi Tais,
      I used to have that reaction and I think it was cos my Candida was completely out of control – I was living in a Rainforest at the time. Drinking lots of water won’t make you gets runny stools – it’s the Candida reaction that will do this.
      All the best with getting pregnant 🙂

      Reply
  7. Alecia

    Hi Melissa,
    I concure on your alcohol experience. I find that red wine is the one I cannot handle, it goes straight to my right side causing pain. I only notice it if I’ve been drinking on a more regular basis. But when I haven’t had a drop for some long time it seems to be the next day, and days after that that I feel the effects and a good swift reminder not to do it for some long time again. As well I have found that grain alcohols/spirits aren’t as harsh as the wine but do upset the balance after acheiving it.
    Likewise on the herbal teas to help clean it all out, cleavers and chichweed with dandelion are also helpful with inflammation and soothing, cornsilk and marshmallow are specific soothers, but I haven’t yet tryed the sodium which sounds like a good idea.
    I still conclude it’s just nice to enjoy a glass but definately go prepared!

    Reply
    • Kristin

      I will have to try the dandelion tea!!

      Reply
  8. IF Me

    I used get (I think) the pain you are describing – when I was drinking more (in my 20s). I don’t get it anymore, because I don’t drink that much. But I do find even 1 glass affects my sleep still. I find sweet drinks are the worse (a Manhatten is a hangover maker, in other words), and try to stick to wine where at least I can pretend it is partially healthy! 🙂

    Reply
  9. Jane

    Nope.. Can not drink alcohol. It really plays havoc with my stomach. I get naseous and it feels as though the alcohol keeps repeating on me. Sounds gross but it is not pleasant.

    I do feel the effects very quickly. But for me I could have half a glass of wine or less and still feel sick. I just avoid it. Not worth it. But it would be nice to have a drink to calm myself at times 🙂

    Reply

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