Is there a relationship between gallstones and alcohol tolerance?
The quick answer is “YES” there is a strong relationship between alcohol consumption and intolerance to it while there is a stone in the gallbladder.
We know that chronic and excessive drinking of alcohol is associated with liver failure and dysfunction, but can alcohol also affect your gallbladder? Do you know the effects of alcohol on the gallbladder? How do Gallstones cause alcohol intolerance? Congratulations! You are in the right place to find answers to your questions.
Alcohol consumption affects the gallbladder
Scientists consider alcohol consumption one of the liver’s most severely damaging factors. But is there any relation between gallbladder, gallstones, and alcohol consumption?
Moderate alcohol consumption may be able to prevent the formation of gallstones. It is not clear how alcohol can prevent gallstones from forming.
Although the exact mechanism is unknown, there is two theory to explain the effect of alcohol on gallbladder and gallstones formation:
- One theory scientists have suggested is that alcohol may help empty the gallbladder more often and prevent bile from stasis by contracting it frequently.
We know that one of the conditions necessary for the formation of gallstones is stasis or immobility of bile.
Reducing gallbladder movements prevents bile emptying and increases the risk of gallstones.
Consumption of small to moderate amounts of alcohol may increase gallbladder movement, prevent bile stasis, and avoid stone formation. Still, there is some research against this theory, and nowadays, we know that alcohol slows down the movement of the gallbladder, so this reason cannot be valid.
- Another idea is that moderate consumption of alcohol reduces the level of cholesterol in the bile and thus reduces the risk of cholesterol gallstones.
It has been proven that a small amount of red wine has a good effect on lipid profile and blood level cholesterol, but despite this effect, there is no medical advice to prescribe red wine for this effect.
“Although the alcohol consumption reduces the risk of gallstone formation, the exact mechanism remains unclear.”
How does the presence of gallstones affect alcohol tolerance?
The gallbladder is a separate part of your liver that stores bile for the process of digestion of fatty foods.
Being female and having a high fatty diet besides age above forty are considered the main risk factors for gallstone formation.
Gallstones are formed in different sizes and from elements such as bile slug or natural calcium and cholesterol stones.
If gallstones last for a couple of years and do not dissolve with a typical diet and medical advice, you should expect your gallstones to increase in size and become symptomatic as they become more extensive.
It is essential to know that the presence of gallstones makes the gallbladder vulnerable to inflamed and irritated by small amounts of alcohol consumption and makes the person intolerant to alcohol.
The medical term for gallbladder inflammation is cholecystitis.
Two types of cholecystitis are classified based on the form of symptoms and gallbladder condition:
Acute cholecystitis and Chronic cholecystitis.
Regular intake of a moderate amount of alcohol can trigger an acute cholecystitis attack and chronic cholecystitis.
Symptoms of cholecystitis?
Cholecystitis means inflammation of the gallbladder and is mainly considered by doctors that a gallstone is the main causative factor.
- Acute cystitis:
The symptoms of acute cholecystitis will be much more severe than chronic cholecystitis, and there will be an emergent need for medical care. The common symptoms are as below:
- Very severe pain in the right corner and upper abdomen that spreads into the back and right shoulder
- Severe abdominal pain
- Jaundice of the skin and white part of the eye
- Dark urine
- Light brown stools
- Biliary colic or chronic cholecystitis:
It is a chronic pain that may last for hours in the upper right quadrant of the abdomen and spread to your back and right shoulder.
The pain usually starts after eating a fatty meal and drinking alcohol.
A person with gallstones may have the problems mentioned above (chronic cholecystitis) for many years without experiencing even one acute cholecystitis.
Doctors describe moderate alcohol consumption as follows:
- 1drink per day for women
- 2drink per day for men
- 12 ounces of beer (5% alcohol content)
- 8 ounces of malt liquor (7% alcohol content)
- 5 ounces of wine (12% alcohol content)
- 1.5 ounces of liquor (40% alcohol content)
Summary of alcohol effect on liver and bile tract and gallbladder
When you have gallstones, drinking alcohol, especially when consumed chronically and routinely in large quantities, dramatically increases the risk of developing chronic cholecystitis and biliary colic.
As chronic cholecystitis attacks increase, the risk of developing acute cholecystitis will increase.
Removal of the gallbladder with surgery, which doctors call cholecystectomy, will be the only way to treat a person with frequent acute cholecystitis.
Alcohol consumption increases the risk of liver damage and cirrhosis and dramatically increases liver cancer risk.