Why is beer suddenly making me sick?
September 16, 2008 6:51 AM   Subscribe

I'm in my mid 30s, been drinking beer for what seems like forever so why is it suddenly making me sick when I drink it?

Lately after drinking >2 beers out with friends I wake up in the middle of the night with my stomach freaking out and then have to spend the next few hours or day very close to a toilet. It doesn't seem to matter what type/brand of beer, just any beer does this.

I understand that this has happened to others, but to have it just start happening to me with no rhyme or reason? Is there anything I can do to ward this off?

I have no other symptoms of illness, however my significant other has been experiencing the same thing lately after drinking beer which I find a little bit odd as he never had this problem much before either.

It seems to only happen to me after drinking beer in the evenings. A week ago we went to a party and started drinking beer around 12 noon and finished up around 7ish at night. I did not get sick that night and I drank very many different kinds of beers.

I like drinking beer, I don't want to give it up this easily. But right now I'm scared to drink it.
posted by nougat to Health & Fitness (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I am also in my mid 30s and have a minor hiatal hernia. I've found that the carbonation in beer (and soft drinks) plays hell with my insides, especially in the evening.

Liquor and non-carbonated cocktails do not cause the problem, however. So when I drink these days, I choose scotch instead of beer.
posted by OilPull at 7:05 AM on September 16, 2008

I sometimes get sick when drinking beer on tap, my friend who worked at a bartender told me that many bars do not clean their taps and hoses often enough. Bacteria builds up in there and as I got older I guess I got sensitive to it. SO when I go to bars I only drink bottled beer.

However if this is happening to you also with bottled beer, then I have no clue what could be causing this.
posted by Vindaloo at 7:09 AM on September 16, 2008 [1 favorite]

Just a possible path to look into, but you may have developed a sensitivity to one of the ingredients.

Mr. Square has fructose-intolerance, and lots of beer (except really fancy microbrews) is made with corn (high in fructose). The sympotms are similar to lactose intolerence; gastrointestinal distress. But they can be more or less severe depending on what else he's been eating during the day. Or perhaps a problem with wheat?
posted by MissSquare at 7:21 AM on September 16, 2008

What happens if you have a lot of bread? Same feeling? Maybe Celiac Disease? After my guts got a serious banging up via Crohn's Disease, having more than a beer usually makes me feel ill.
posted by plinth at 7:35 AM on September 16, 2008

Response by poster: Nope, don't get sick after eating bread or wheat or gluten. It's only beer that is doing this to me. Vindaloo has a perspective I did not think of, the party where I drank alot of beer at served it all in bottles. Lately when I've been sick, the beer has only come from draft. But once it was at a new bar with (presumably) clean tap lines. I wonder if there is some other difference between draft and bottled beer that I am not recognizing.
posted by nougat at 7:53 AM on September 16, 2008

My friend has similar experiences - every now and then his stomach ill go crazy after a relatively small amount of beer. Our current theory is similar to Vindaloo's explanation - apparently if beer taps are cleaned out but not rinsed thoroughly enough, some cleaning agent can be left in the tubes. Some people are allergic to the cleaning agent, and if they consume some in their beer it makes them ill.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 8:23 AM on September 16, 2008

Are you and your SO taking any supplements herbal remedies or new foodstuffs that might be causing a reaction?
posted by fshgrl at 6:16 PM on September 16, 2008

I have gotten as sick as a dog after drinking beer too (and not a large amount for me, a regular beer drinker) and every time I've put this down to dirty lines. I used to manage a bar and from what I we were told by the guys that came in to flush out the lines, most places don't do this enough even though it's a free service. And then, as EndsOfInvention said, these lines, after being cleaned, need to be flushed out properly. Either of these things can make you sick, if you're overly sensitive to them. Even if you got sick after drinking at a new bar, I still think that it's down to unclean, or more likely improperly flushed lines. Unfortunately, there's not much you can do about this. I mean drinking bottled beer is fine, but there's nothing like a lovely freshly poured pint, imho...
posted by ob at 6:31 PM on September 16, 2008

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