There is debate over whether smoking has a laxative effect.
Smoking may aggravate diarrhea, raise the likelihood of Crohn’s disease, and worsen other digestive problems such as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), gallbladder disease, and others due to the inflammatory effects smoking has on the gut.
Giving up smoking can lower your risk of contracting a variety of diseases.
You might question if smoking cigarettes affects your bowels in any way, similar to how coffee does. Nicotine is a stimulant, after all.
But there is conflicting evidence in the literature on the link between diarrhea and smoking.
Continue reading to find out more about the other negative effects of smoking.
✅ Smoking generally won’t immediately cause you to urinate
✅ There are a plethora of additional elements that could be to blame for this impulse to use the restroom immediately after smoking.
✅ However, smoking does significantly harm your digestive system.
✅ You are more likely to have bowel conditions that lead to diarrhea and other GI symptoms.
✅ Some of these symptoms can be lessened and even reversed by quitting.
✅ Don’t be afraid to ask for assistance or attempt some quitting techniques to get rid of this bad habit.
Laxatives are drugs that can help loosen up stool that has been impacted or trapped in your colon, allowing it to flow more freely. Colon movements, often known as laxatives, are caused by the muscle contractions in your bowel that move feces along. Because it “stimulates” a contraction that pushes stool out, this type of laxative is known as a stimulant laxative.
Numerous people believe that caffeine and other popular stimulants, including nicotine, have a similar impact on the bowels and speed up bowel movements. But the research paints a more nuanced picture.
What does the study on smoking and bowel movements actually say? Does it make you sick?
Answer: We are unsure.
There aren’t many direct connections between smoking cigarettes and going to the bathroom. The consequences of smoking on inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), of which diarrhea is a key symptom, have, nevertheless, been the subject of extensive investigation.
The first thing to be aware of is that smoking may exacerbate the diarrhea symptoms of IBD, including Crohn’s disease, a form of IBD.
According to a 2018 review of the literature on smoking, Crohn’s disease, and ulcerative colitis (another kind of IBD), nicotine therapy may temporarily reduce the symptoms of ulcerative colitis among former smokers. There isn’t any long-term advantage. Additionally, there have been claims that smoking can potentially worsen ulcerative colitis symptoms.
Additionally, smoking can increase your risk of getting Crohn’s disease, according to studies. The inflammation in the intestines might also cause the symptoms to become considerably worse.
Additionally, smoking may increase your risk for intestinal bacterial infections that result in diarrhea. According to a 2015 study with more than 20,000 participants published in BMC Public Health, smokers were more likely to become infected with the Shigella bacteria. Food poisoning from the intestinal bacteria Shigella frequently causes diarrhea.
However, because smoking increases stomach acid production, according to the same study, smokers are less likely to get Vibrio cholera infections. Another bacterium that frequently causes infections and diarrhea is this one.
More studies also highlight how shaky the connection between smoking and bowel motions is.
In a 2005 study, the effects of numerous stimulants, such as nicotine and coffee, on rectal tone were examined. This phrase describes the rectus’s tightness, which affects bowel movements.
The study did discover that coffee significantly raised rectal tone by 45%. It discovered a very little (7%) rise in rectal tone caused by nicotine, which was almost as high as the effect caused by a placebo water pill, which had a 10% effect. This shows that defecation may not be related to nicotine.
Tobacco use and the intestinal system
Smoking has an impact on every organ in the body, including the digestive system. What may happen to create or exacerbate diarrhea and other serious GI problems is as follows:
- GERD. Smoking can cause stomach acid to flow up into the throat and damage the esophageal muscles. Long-lasting heartburn is caused by gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), which develops when that acid wears down the esophagus.
- Crohn’s illness. Diarrhea, exhaustion, and unusual weight loss are some of the symptoms of Crohn’s, a chronic intestinal inflammation. Smoking can gradually exacerbate your symptoms.
- Gastric ulcershttps://www.nhsinform.scot/illnesses-and-conditions/stomach-liver-and-gastrointestinal-tract/stomach-ulcer#:~:text=Stomach%20ulcers%20(gastric%20ulcers)%20are,This%20information%20applies%20to%20both.
- These are lesions that develop in the intestines and stomach walls. The digestive tract is impacted by smoking in a number of ways that might worsen ulcers, although quitting can swiftly reverse some of those consequences.
- Polyps in the colon These are tissue growths that develop abnormally in the intestines. The likelihood of getting malignant colon polyps can be increased by smoking.
- Gallstones. These are dense calcium and cholesterol deposits that can develop in the gallbladder and lead to obstructions that may require surgical treatment. You run the chance of developing gallstones and gallbladder disease if you smoke.
- Liver illness. Your chance of getting non-alcoholic fatty liver disease rises if you smoke. Quitting can either halt the progression of the problem or reduce your chance of immediate complications.
- Pancreatitis. This is a chronic inflammation of the pancreas, which aids in food digestion and blood sugar control. Smoking might worsen pre-existing symptoms and cause flare-ups. Quitting can hasten your recovery and prevent chronic issues.
- Cancer. Numerous cancers are associated with smoking, however, quitting drastically lowers your risk. Smoking can cause cancer in the colon, rectum, stomach, mouth, and throat.
Assistance in quitting
Although difficult, giving up is doable. Additionally, quitting sooner rather than later might aid in healing your body from nicotine’s effects and reducing the symptoms it can have on your digestive system.
To assist you with quitting, try some of the following:
- Change your way of living. To help you break some of the rituals or routines you’ve developed around smoking, engage in frequent exercise or meditation.
- Request the help of your family and friends. Inform your loved ones that you intend to quit. Request that they check in on you or express understanding of the withdrawal symptoms.
- Participate in a support group with people who have given up smoking to learn from their experiences and receive help. There are also a lot of online support groups.
- If necessary, take into account drugs for reducing nicotine withdrawal symptoms, such as bupropion (Zyban) or varenicline (Chantix).
- To aid in your addiction recovery, think about using a patch or gum as a nicotine replacement. Nicotine replacement therapy is this (NRT).