Does Pooping Help Sober You Up?
Have you ever wondered if pooping after drinking would help sober up? Maybe you’ve had too much to drink and need to drive home. Or perhaps you’ve suffered a terrible hangover the next day. No matter why you stumbled across this article, the question frequently comes up. The short answer is no — pooping doesn’t help you sober up.
If you or someone you know is struggling with alcohol use disorder (AUD), we can help. At Zinnia Health, we understand how challenging it can be to overcome alcohol and other addictions. That’s why we offer various rehab center locations throughout the US. To learn more, contact us online or call our 24/7 hotline at (855) 430-9439.
Can You Poop to Sober Up?
Can you poop to sober up, you ask? That’s a fascinating question that requires a little digging to explain. Alcohol consumption, especially in large amounts, can sometimes irritate the bowels and cause diarrhea. In addition, alcohol is a diuretic (makes you pee).
This can make you have to go to the bathroom after drinking. Unfortunately, having bowel movements (or peeing) doesn’t sober you up.
Does Pooping Help With a Hangover?
If you’ve heard that pooping helps with hangovers, too, that’s another myth to be busted. A hangover, like intoxication, is a symptom of how your body reacts to substances it’s not used to handling.
Pooping isn’t a cure for hangovers, though it can help relieve an irritated digestive tract frequently caused by the acids in alcoholic beverages.
The Only Way Alcohol Leaves the Body
It makes sense why people often think you can poop to get sober or treat a hangover. Bowel movements help your body eliminate waste products that it doesn’t need or can’t use.
When you drink alcohol, it travels down the digestive tract, into the small and large intestines, and to the stomach, but it’s not digested like food. Instead, the alcohol is directly absorbed into your bloodstream, traveling to your brain, liver, and other body parts.
The way the body processes alcohol doesn’t lie in the digestive system. The organ responsible for ridding your body of alcohol is the liver. The National Institutes of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) indicates that alcohol is metabolized (broken down) in several ways. The most common way to break down alcohol is by two enzymes produced by liver cells:
Alcohol Dehydrogenase (ADH)
ADH is an enzyme that first metabolizes alcohol to acetaldehyde. This liver by-product is very toxic and known to cause cancer.
Aldehyde Dehydrogenase (ALDH)
ALDH continues the breakdown of the alcohol by metabolizing acetaldehyde to acetate. Acetate is broken down into water and carbon dioxide, both of which are easily eliminated from the body.
Most alcohol is broken down in the liver (about 90%), and only a tiny amount is eliminated in pee, sweat, and breath. That’s why chronic drinkers who consume excessive alcohol have a greater risk of liver disease, including cirrhosis, fibrosis, steatosis, and hepatitis. In addition, the production of acetaldehyde by ADH may be responsible for how alcohol affects your behaviors and psychological states.
Are you stuck in a cycle of addiction? Do you find it difficult to control your drinking habits? Let the team at Zinnia Health get you on the road to recovery. We offer a range of therapies that can be customized to your individual needs and interest. Reach out to us at (855) 430-9439 to learn how to get started.
Faster Ways to Sober Up
People have always tried to find faster ways to sober up. Many suggested remedies have been passed down as old wives’ tales or myths. Some still linger online, where inaccurate information is commonly spread on social media. It’s essential to get the facts straight when you’re dealing with your health.
Besides bowel movements, some of the most commonly believed ways people think they can sober up fast include:
- Throwing up
- Drinking alcohol
None of these approaches will sober up or lower your BAC, though they may make you feel more alert. That’s because they can’t eliminate the alcohol in your blood system. Your blood alcohol level is the true indication of how intoxicated you are from a legal standpoint — it’s dangerous to get behind the wheel of a car after drinking. Even a tiny amount of alcohol in the blood (.01 to .07 g/dL) can affect your driving ability.
How Long Does It Take to Sober Up?
In general, time is what’s required to sober up or get over a hangover. However, the precise time it takes depends on several factors, including the type of drug or alcohol taken, how much was taken, and if it was taken with other substances.
The following times indicate how long it takes to sober up based on your blood alcohol content (BAC):
- .04 BAC: 2.5 hours
- .08 BAC: 5 hours
- .10 BAC: 6.25 hours
- .16 BAC: 10 hours
- .20 BAC: 12.5 hours
Alcohol leaves the body at an average rate of 0.015 per hour. Keep in mind that alcohol and other substances affect every individual differently. While one person may be able to sober up an hour after a couple of drinks, someone else may require a longer or shorter period to be sober. Many factors impact BAC, such as body weight, medications, and food (or an empty stomach).
Why is Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) Important?
There are different ways to test for intoxication. One way is to measure the levels of alcohol in your blood system. BAC measures the percentage of alcohol (ethyl alcohol or ethanol) found in a person’s blood sample.
For instance, a BAC of .0 indicates there’s no presence of alcohol in the blood. In contrast, a BAC of .80 means there’s .80g of alcohol per deciliter (g/dL) of blood (or eight parts alcohol for every 1000 parts blood).
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 13,384 people died in alcohol-impaired driving traffic deaths in 2021. This amounted to a 14% increase in fatalities compared to the previous year.
This is why we have DUI laws, which make it illegal to operate certain vehicles like cars and motorcycles while intoxicated. In all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico, it’s illegal to drive if you have a BAC of .08 or higher (Utah has a BAC limit of .05).
Get Help for Your Alcohol Addiction Today
The consumption of alcohol involves the digestive system, but pooping isn’t a tried-and-truth method to sober up. Nor is urinating, throwing up, drinking water, exercising, or other myths.
The only way to get rid of alcohol along with the intoxicated and hungover symptoms is by waiting it out. When you find yourself seeking ways to sober up fast so you can drive or get on with your life, you may be at risk of alcohol dependence.
Consider seeking substance abuse treatment and prevent harmful side effects or alcohol poisoning. Many options are available, from inpatient treatment and outpatient programs to individual therapy and support groups.
There’s no better time than now to get your life back. You don’t have to suffer from alcohol and drug addiction alone — Zinnia Health has your back. We’ll walk you through every step of the treatment process, ensuring a better chance of leading a sober life. So, take the next step by speaking to an addiction specialist by dialing (855) 430-9439 anytime.