Booze and the Bladder Blues: How Alcohol Affects Pelvic Floor Health

Booze and the Bladder Blues: How Alcohol Affects Pelvic Floor Health

Contributions by: Bethany Davidson PT, DPT, PRPC

National Alcohol Awareness Month is a time to reflect on our drinking habits and their impact on our overall health. While many people are aware of the dangers of excessive alcohol consumption for the liver and brain, another area of the body is often overlooked: the pelvic floor.

What is the Pelvic Floor and Why Does It Matter?

Your pelvic floor is a group of muscles that support your pelvic organs.  Functional pelvic floor muscles contribute to bladder control, bowel control, sexual function, and overall pelvic health.

How Does Alcohol Affect the Pelvic Floor?

Alcohol misuse may put extra strain on your bladder and pelvic floor muscles, leading to:

  • Leaking: Excessive alcohol consumption can lead to increased urinary leakage, obstructive urinary symptoms, and irritation with urination.
  • Urgency & Frequency: Alcohol irritates the bladder lining, creating a frequent and urgent need to urinate. Increased fluid intake due to alcohol consumption may also lead to increased urinary frequency and urgency.
  • Impaired Muscle Function: Research is limited on the effects of alcohol on the pelvic floor muscles specifically, however, 40-60% of people who misuse alcohol report Alcohol Related Myopathy which can impair general muscle function and strength, including the pelvic floor muscles.

Beyond the Bladder:

For both men and women, alcohol misuse may lead to pelvic floor dysfunction which may contribute to issues during intercourse.  For men, alcohol misuse can lead to erectile dysfunction as well as premature ejaculation. For women, excessive alcohol intake can contribute to decreased sex drive, poor lubrication, pain with penetrative intercourse, and difficulty reaching orgasm.

Breaking the Cycle

If you are experiencing symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunction, it’s important to talk to your pelvic health physical therapist or doctor. However, managing your alcohol intake can be a significant step towards improvement.

Here are some tips:

  • Limit your drinks: Aim for moderation or consider alcohol-free alternatives.
  • Stay hydrated: Minimize the effects of alcohol by drinking plenty of water throughout the day.
    • Address your pelvic floor: If you have urinary incontinence, try pelvic floor strengthening exercises like Kegels.
    • If you have pelvic pain, try pelvic floor stretching exercises like yoga.
  • If you have urinary urgency and frequency, try urge suppression techniques and bladder retraining strategies.

It’s All About Balance

National Alcohol Awareness Month is about understanding the impact alcohol can have on your overall health, including your pelvic floor health. Educating yourself is the first step to making informed choices to prioritize a healthy lifestyle. Enjoying a drink occasionally does not have to mean sacrificing your pelvic health. Talk to your pelvic health physical therapist or doctor if you have any concerns about your pelvic floor or alcohol consumption. Call 214-432-4741 or visit to schedule a FREE pelvic floor therapy phone consultation with our Pelvic Health Physical Therapist!

Additional Resources:


  • Bradley CS, Erickson BA, Messersmith EE, Pelletier-Cameron A, Lai HH, Kreder KJ, Yang CC, Merion RM, Bavendam TG, Kirkali Z; Symptoms of Lower Urinary Tract Dysfunction Research Network (LURN). Evidence of the Impact of Diet, Fluid Intake, Caffeine, Alcohol and Tobacco on Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms: A Systematic Review. J Urol. 2017 Nov;198(5):1010-1020. doi: 10.1016/j.juro.2017.04.097. Epub 2017 May 4. PMID: 28479236; PMCID: PMC5654651.
  • Salari N, Hasheminezhad R, Almasi A, Hemmati M, Shohaimi S, Akbari H, Mohammadi M. The risk of sexual dysfunction associated with alcohol consumption in women: a systematic review and meta-analysis. BMC Womens Health. 2023 May 2;23(1):213. doi: 10.1186/s12905-023-02400-5. PMID: 37131197; PMCID: PMC10155345.
  • Simon L, Bourgeois BL, Molina PE. Alcohol and Skeletal Muscle in Health and Disease. Alcohol Res. 2023 Nov 2;43(1):04. doi: 10.35946/arcr.v43.1.04. PMID: 37937295; PMCID: PMC10627576.
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