can gallstones cause alcohol intolerance





Is there a relationship between gallstones and alcohol tolerance?

The quick answer is “YES”, there is strong relation between alcohol consumption and getting intolerance to it while there is 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 alcohol effects on gallbladder? How Gallstones cause alcohol intolerance? Congratulations! You are in right place to find answers to your questions.


Alcohol consumption effects on gallbladder and gallstones

How the presence of gallstones effect on alcohol tolerance?

symptoms of cholecystitis?

How much drink will cause alcohol intolerance in the presence of gallstones?

 Summary of alcohol effect on liver and gallbladder



Alcohol consumption effects on gallbladder




Scientists consider alcohol consumption to be one of the most severely damaging factors to the liver. But is there any relation between gallbladder, gallstones and alcohol consumption?

 Actually, 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 unknow but there is two theory to explain this effect of alcohol on gallbladder and gallstones formation:

  • One theory that scientists have suggested is that alcohol may help empty the gallbladder more often, and prevent bile from stasis by contract it frequently.


We know that one of the conditions that is 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 therefore prevent stone formation, but 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 true.

  • 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 small amount of red wine has good effect on lipid profile and blood level of cholesterol, but despite this effect there is no medical advise to prescribe red wine for this effect.

 “Although the alcohol consumption reduces the risk of gallstone formation, the exact mechanism remains unclear.”


How the presence of gallstones effect on 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 highly fatty diet beside age above forty are considered the main risk factors for gallstones formation.

Gallstones are formed in different sizes and from different elements such as bile slug or real calcium and cholesterol stones.

If gallstones last for a couple of years and not dissolve with common diet and medical advices, you should expect your gallstones to increase in size and become symptomatic as it become larger.

It is very important to know that the presence of gallstones make the gallbladder vulnerable to become inflamed and irritated by small amount of alcohol consumption and make the person intolerance to alcohol.

Medical term for gallbladder inflammation is cholecystitis.

There is two type of cholecystitis that are classified based on form of symptoms and gallbladder condition:

Acute cholecystitis and Chronic cholecystitis.

Regular intake of 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 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
  • Ague




  • Nausea / vomiting
  • 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.

May also be accompanied by nausea and vomiting.

It is possible that a person with gallstones will have the problems mentioned above (chronic cholecystitis) for many years without experiencing even one acute cholecystitis.


How much drink will cause alcohol intolerance in the presence of gallstones?

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)


Summery 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, greatly increases the risk of developing chronic cholecystitis and biliary colic.

As the number of chronic cholecystitis attacks increases, 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 increase the risk of liver damage and cirrhosis and dramatically increase the risk of liver cancer.



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