The Effects of Alcohol on Your Kidney Health

The Effects of Alcohol on Your Kidney Health

A kidney expert explains how to deal with this difficult connection.

After a night of too many drinks, you wake up dehydrated and with a stitch in your side from which you cannot get out. Is there a pain in your kidneys, calling out, “Sir?”


The excessive use of alcoholic beverages has been related to a number of health concerns, including liver damage and an increased risk of some malignancies (not to mention risks from drunk driving or accidental injuries while intoxicated).

The connection between alcohol and your kidneys, on the other hand, is a little more complicated. Shane A. Bobart, MD, FASN, a kidney specialist, explains how to deal with this difficult combination.


The effects of alcohol on the kidneys

Your kidneys have a critical function to play in your body. They are responsible for filtering waste from your blood, regulating the balance of water and minerals in your body, as well as producing hormones.

When you consume a large amount of alcohol, your kidneys must work harder to filter out the alcohol. Binge drinking (five or more drinks at a time) may also induce acute renal damage, which is a rapid decrease in kidney function that can be fatal in rare instances. This life-threatening disease happens when toxins from alcohol accumulate in your bloodstream at such a rapid rate that your kidneys are unable to maintain the appropriate fluid balance. Despite the fact that it is treatable, it may increase the likelihood of developing chronic renal disease.

Regular, excessive alcohol use may be damaging to your kidneys over time if done on a regular basis. According to the National Renal Foundation, excessive drinking on a regular basis may more than double the chance of developing chronic kidney disease. People who consume large amounts of alcohol while simultaneously smoking are at much greater danger.



The dangers of alcohol: an unbalanced physique

Heavy drinking has a negative impact on renal health in an indirect manner as well. Dr. Bobart describes the human body as a giant domino set. “If you have one area of your body that is out of balance, it may create issues in many other sections of your body,” says the author.

The use of large amounts of alcoholic beverages may raise the risk of developing high blood pressure and Type 2 diabetes, for example. Those are the two most frequent causes of chronic kidney disease in the United States, according to the National Kidney Foundation.



Chronic alcohol use is also a significant contributor to liver damage. When your liver isn’t working properly, it may cause blood flow to your kidneys to become impeded. In Dr. Bobart’s opinion, “liver illness has the potential to have a major effect on the kidneys.”

Is there a connection between alcohol and kidney discomfort, kidney stones, and kidney infections?
After a night of heavy drinking, what about the kidney discomfort that some individuals claim to be experiencing? According to Dr. Bobart, there is no evidence to support a connection between alcohol use and renal discomfort. Alcohol, on the other hand, has diuretic properties and may cause dehydration.



Additionally, there is only a little amount of data to indicate that drinking alcohol increases the risk of kidney stones or kidney infections. People who don’t drink enough water have a higher risk of getting kidney stones, according to research. As a result, individuals who consume large amounts of alcohol and are often dehydrated may be at higher risk — but the science of alcohol’s involvement in kidney stones is still uncertain, according to Dr. Aziz.

What is undeniable is that excessive drinking has a negative impact on your organs, including your kidneys. Many individuals consume much more alcohol than they think. Heavy drinking is defined as follows in the United States:



Women who consume more than seven alcoholic beverages per week or more than three alcoholic beverages in a single day are considered binge drinkers.



Men who consume more than 14 alcoholic beverages each week, or more than four alcoholic beverages in a single day, are considered binge drinkers.
“I strongly advise anybody who is having difficulties with alcohol to seek medical attention,” adds Dr. Bobart. “There is nothing to be embarrassed of in doing so. Our options for helping individuals are many, and there are tools available to assist them in getting the assistance they require.”