While recovering for my second Gardasil shot (I had reaction to this one – numb all down my left side), I thought I would write a little (all exclusively with my right hand) about a search which has hit on my blog. The search was “does binge drinking cause Crohns”. This was very interesting for me to find – because it’s the very same question I asked myself and many medical practitioners as I too am a self admitted binge drinker. At least I was.
The short answer is no, binge drinking does not cause Crohns disease, but as with most things, anything in excess isn’t good for you. I always knew that I was hurting myself when I was partying. I drank more than 100kg men and I was/am a 50kg woman. I always knew what I was doing to myself – both in the obvious short term and perhaps in the long term as well. Before I was diagnosed – I suffered 6 severe attacks in 3 months and I thought for a while that I had done it to myself. I thought my lifestyle had made me sick. I stopped drinking. I stopped eating out. I stopped every normal activity to try and ascertain what was making me sick. Nothing worked – I was still getting sick – the same kind of sick I had been getting for years.
After I was diagnosed, I still wasn’t sure what had caused Crohns to pop up in our gene pool – more specifically did I make myself a target for it. I was relieved to find out that the answer to that is also no. I am a biological target for Crohns disease, but not because of my binge drinking. I discovered, from my biopsy, that the cell spacing in my bowel made me more prone to Crohns disease. Later still, I found out that initial estimates that I have had Crohns since my teen years may be well off the mark. It is thought now, that I have had the disease since early childhood – from about the age of 7. That’s when the first of my abdominal symptoms and ulcers can be tracked back to. Naturally there is no guarantee that Crohns was the cause, its speculation, but educated speculation.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not advocating drinking or saying that its acceptable to binge drink. I am saying when you are over the age of consent and when you know and understand all of the repercussions from binge drinking – then it’s your choice. I am also saying – that Crohns is not one of those repercussions. I actually quizzed my Crohns specialist about alcohol, it was not held in high esteem by any of the literature I was given to read. He told me point blank that there is no scientific or medical link between Crohns Disease and alcohol. Looking at both sides thought – alcohol can put some Crohns sufferers into instant flare up. Its not the same for everyone – triggers for one person may have no effect on another. For example, I know that alcohol doesn’t put me into flare up (lots of extensive, results driven research there) but Chinese food, well 4 hours later and I am laying on the shower floor praying to a God I don’t believe in. Dr. E did go on to mention that Red Wine has been linked to flare ups in many diagnosed suffers – but again, not all.
I did mention above that I was a binge drinker. I have stopped drinking heavily for now, but before you call me a hypocrite there are reason for that. First and foremost, we don’t have the money to drink. Yes, mainly it boils down to the sustainable state of our finances. Secondly – well it’s like this. I have been feeling good lately, for the last few months in particular – my vigour is not a guaranteed permanent state. My medication is due to change on the 13th of September and we have no idea how that will effect me. So for now, I want to remember my nights and wake up without a hangover.
I want to hold on to normal as long as I can.