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Does Drinking Too Much Alcohol Affect Your Kidneys

Alcohol And Kidney Disease: Prevention

How Does Alcohol Affect Your Kidneys? | Alcohol Effects on Body | Kidney Expert

To help prevent kidney disease from alcohol, you can reduce how much you drink. This includes avoiding binge drinking. If you do drink alcohol, its crucial also to drink water.

However, if you have chronic kidney disease, you shouldnt drink at all. So, if you struggle with misusing alcohol, its vital to seek treatment. If you only treat the kidney disease and continue to drink, you will not get better.

Types Of Alcohol Related Liver Disease

  • Alcholol Related Steatohepatitis : Fat accumulates inside liver cells, making it hard for the liver to work properly. This early stage of liver disease occurs fairly soon after repeated heavy drinking. Usually it is symptom free but upper abdominal pain on the right side from an enlarged liver may occur. Steatosis goes away with alcohol abstinence.
  • Alcoholic Hepatitis: This condition is marked by inflammation, swelling and the killing of liver cells. This scars the liver, which is known as fibrosis. Symptoms may occur over time or suddenly after binge drinking. They include fever, jaundice, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain and tenderness. Up to 35 percent of heavy drinkers develop alcohol hepatitis, which can be mild or severe. If it is a mild case, stopping the drinking can reverse it.
  • Alcohol Related Cirrhosis: The most serious form of ALD, it occurs when the entire liver is scarred, causing the liver to shrink and harden. This can lead to liver failure. Usually the damage cannot be reversed. Between 10 to 20 percent of heavy drinkers develop cirrhosis typically after 10 or more years of drinking.

Alcohol hepatitis and alcohol cirrhosis previously were called alcohol steatohepatitis , a term that still arises among some circles.

Kidney Disease And Alcohol Consumption: Causes Of Kidney Pain After Drinking Alcohol

Written byEmily LunardoPublished onOctober 7, 2016

It is often advised to avoid alcohol consumption if you have kidney disease as it can result in kidney pain, among other complications. Furthermore, consuming over four alcoholic beverages can worsen kidney disease.

The CDC estimates at least two out of three Americans consume alcohol, and some drinkers consume over five drinks at a time. Twenty-five percent of drinkers have admitted they have consumed over five beverages in one occasion at least once in the past year. This is known as binge drinking and it is associated with severe kidney problems.

Even drinking regularly too much too often can damage the kidneys. Regular heavy drinking is associated with double the risk of kidney disease. The risk is even greater among those who drink and smoke.

When we consume alcohol, our kidneys work harder to filter this harmful substance. Too much alcohol causes the kidneys to overwork, contributing to damage. Alcohol also negatively affects the regulation of fluid and electrolytes, thus leading to dehydration in the cells. Furthermore, alcohol can disrupt the balance of hormones that affect the kidneys.

Alcohol can also negatively affect other bodily functions and processes that play a role in the health of the kidneys for example, blood pressure.

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Effects On The Sex Organs

Heavy alcohol use can affect both the male and female reproductive systems. Heavy alcohol consumption, either frequent or infrequent, is linked to reduced testosterone levels. Heavy drinking can affect sperm maturation. In females, alcohol can disrupt the menstrual cycle. Alcohol use during pregnancy can be harmful to the baby. Prolonged overuse of alcohol can cease ovulation and trigger early menopause.

What Does Alcohol Do To Your Body

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Research tells us that too much alcohol even on a single occasion can affect health. When digested alcohol produces free radicals, acetaldehyde, and acetate. These compounds are toxic to the body.

Alcohol effects on the body include damage to the following organs:

  • Brain
  • Liver
  • Pancreas

Alcohol prevents communication between brain cells. As a result, the brain cannot function properly. It also causes problems with cognition, mood, and behavior.

Excessive drinking can change how blood flows to and from the heart. It can cause irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure, and stretch out the heart muscles.

The liver is responsible for the majority of alcohol digestion. So alcohol can damage this organ. Heavy drinking can result in liver disease.

Pancreatitis is inflammation of the pancreas. This condition is caused by excess alcohol intake. It can damage the body.

Regular heavy drinking also increases the risk of certain cancers. They include

  • Increases in blood pressure

Dehydration and Kidneys

Drinking can lead to alcoholic dehydration even with just a few drinks. Kidney cells need water to function. Consuming alcohol dries out the body. This can lead to kidney dysfunction.

Fluid Imbalance

Alcohol affects this function of the kidneys within 20 minutes of consumption. Alcohol inhibits the release of ADH. This causes the kidneys to produce diluted urine. It will also lose water it normally would keep. The loss of ADH causes parts of the kidney unable to move water back into the body.

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Is Beer Good Or Bad For Your Kidneys

Despite the risks associated with alcohol consumption, there are some benefits associated with taking a beer. Several research studies show that drinking beer can be beneficial for kidney stones because beer causes frequent urination, thus preventing their formation.Beer also develops the volume of liquid in the patients body and forces the kidney stones to pass in the urine. Hence, some amount of beer can help in the expulsion of small sized stones.This, however, does not outweigh the dangers associated with the drink as the consumption of beer can cause kidney stones through the dehydrating effect. Moreover, beer consumption does not allow to control the stone expulsion speed which can cause urinal trauma, especially if the concretes are big. It is therefore not advisable to treat these stones with beer.

Alcohols Effect On Your Kidneys

Your kidneys handle many vital functions for your body. For instance, your kidneys filter out toxins and other harmful substances from your blood and body. They also help your body maintain a healthy level of water. However, if your kidneys are damaged in any way, your whole body suffers.

If you drink alcohol regularly or you misuse alcohol, it affects your kidneys in many ways. Alcohols effect on your kidneys can limit their ability to filter toxins, including alcohol. Alcohol also causes changes to the kidneys. However, these changes reduce the kidneys filtering ability. This change causes them to work harder. As a result, toxins start to build in your blood.

Additionally, dehydration is another one of alcohols effects on your kidneys. This effect makes it hard to keep normal water levels in the body. As a result, other organs and cells in your body are poorly affected.

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How To Protect The Kidneys From Alcohols Effects

The simple solution for protecting kidneys from the damaging effect of long-term alcoholic consumption is to stop drinking. This may not be practical for some moderate drinkers, although heavy drinkers and those who have been diagnosed as alcoholic or alcohol-dependent may be more motivated to change their lifestyle, get professional treatment and learn to live alcohol-free.

Anyone who wants to be as healthy as possible can help prevent the damage alcohol may do over the long-term by cutting back on the amount and frequency of alcohol they consume.

Simply eating a meal before heavy drinking will not exert a protective effect. Over time, excessive alcohol consumption will exact a toll on the body. Avoiding the combination of drugs and alcohol, including prescription medications, is another way to provide some protection for the kidneys due to the one-two punch of these powerful substances.

Those with existing kidney problems, diabetics and other risk factors should be wary of drinking alcohol. Always check with the doctor before deciding that drinking is an acceptable risk. It may not be, particularly for your kidneys.

Potential Causes Of Kidney Pain

What Happens When You Drink Too Much Water

As mentioned above, a possible cause of kidney pain after drinking water is ureteropelvic junction obstruction. This rare condition results from a partial or total blockage of the junction where your kidneys attach to the ureters, stopping or slowing the urine flow.

Most cases are congenital, according to the Urology Care Foundation. However, it is possible to develop ureteropelvic junction obstruction in adulthood due to kidney stones or inflammation in the upper urinary tract. Some types of surgery may cause this disorder, too.

In general, ureteropelvic junction obstruction affects just one kidney. Its symptoms include kidney stones, vomiting, blood in the urine, and pain in the back or upper abdominal area, especially when drinking fluids. You may also notice an enlarged mass in the abdomen or develop urinary tract infections accompanied by fever.

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Several other renal disorders may cause kidney pain. Polycystic kidney disease, kidney stones, kidney cancer, injuries and digestive diseases are just a few examples. However, if you have any of these conditions, your kidney won’t necessarily hurt after drinking water. Again, it’s important to reach out to a healthcare provider, so you can identify the exact cause and receive appropriate treatment.

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Chronic Drinking Of Alcohol And Your Kidneys

The chronic misuse of alcohol also increases blood pressure. If you drink more than 2 drinks a day, you are at risk of high blood pressure. And, high blood pressure commonly leads to kidney disease.

Furthermore, if you misuse alcohol, it can lead to liver disease. And, liver disease puts stress on the kidneys. Liver disease reduces healthy blood flow in the kidneys. For this reason, the kidneys cant filter the blood properly. Unfortunately, many Americans suffering from both liver and kidney disease also suffer from alcohol use disorder .

Reasons Why Your Kidneys Hurt After Drinking Alcohol

Here are the most common causes of kidney pain after drinking alcohol:

1. Liver Disease

Liver disease makes you more likely to experience pain or discomfort after drinking alcohol. This is especially likely if your liver is affected by alcoholism. Liver disease can also affect blood flow to the kidneys and lead them to be less effective in filtering blood.8

To treat liver disease, your doctor may suggest that you stop drinking alcohol, lose weight, and follow a healthy, nutritious diet. Some cases of liver disease may require surgery or medications. A liver transplant may be necessary in cases of liver failure.

2. Kidney Stones

Kidney stones may develop due to alcohol-induced dehydration. Drinking alcohol if you already have kidney stones may lead them to move quickly, contributing to or increasing kidney pain. It may be possible to treat small kidney stones by drinking more water, taking medication, or using home remedies.7

3. Kidney Infection

A kidney infection is a type of UTI, short for urinary tract infection. It begins in the urethra or bladder and travels to one or both kidneys.6

The symptoms and condition of a UTI may worsen after drinking alcohol. If you have a kidney infection, drink plenty of water and meet with your doctor straight away.

You can use heat or pain medication to reduce discomfort. You will usually be prescribed antibiotics, too. Severe or recurring kidney infections may need surgery or hospitalization.

4. Dehydration

6. Hydronephrosis

7. Gastritis

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Does Beer Hurt Your Kidneys

Alcohol such as in beer is considered bad for your overall health, including for kidneys. However, it may not be always bad. The answer is dependent on the way of how you drink. For instance, if we drink it in moderation, we may do more good than harm! On the other hand, heavy drinking does hurt the kidneys.

Chronic Kidney Disease: Alcohols Effect On Kidneys

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If you continue to drink regularly or have a chronic alcohol use disorder, youre at risk of chronic kidney disease. The stress put on your kidneys over time forces them to work harder. This stress also damages the liver.

Chronic kidney disease is a severe condition. But, above all, it is life-threatening. If you have chronic kidney disease from alcohol, its essential to seek treatment for both conditions.

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Effects On The Digestive System

The digestive system is made up of the esophagus, stomach, intestines, and colon. Short-term, moderate alcohol use can kill vital gut microbiota and increase acid production in the stomach. This can cause bloating, indigestion, nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, and even intestinal bleeding. Long-term, heavy, and repeated alcohol use can cause acid reflux and ulcers and increase the risk for several types of cancers, including esophageal, intestinal, and stomach cancer.

Alcohol And Acute Kidney Failure

The amount of alcohol being consumed is an important factor when it comes to kidney health.The general consensus of what makes up one drink is twelve ounces of beer, one glass of wine, or a 1.5 ounces shot of liquor. Binge drinking occurs when more than five drinks are consumed in about two hours. Binge drinking can lead to a sudden drop in kidney function referred to as acute kidney failure. While acute kidney failure typically subsides over time, it can occasionally lead to lasting kidney damage.

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Alcohol & Kidney Stones: How They Develop

There has been no direct causality found between drinking alcohol and the development of kidney stones. However, alcohol can contribute to an enhanced risk for the formation of kidney stones in various ways. Beer and grain alcohol have a particularly high purine count.

Purines are chemical compounds that can lead to uric acid kidney stones. Uric acid is typically released from the body in the urine, but excessive purines can result in the accumulation of the acid and can eventually lead to the development of a kidney stone.

How to Treat Kidney Stones Caused by Alcohol

The best treatment and prevention for small kidney stones is to remain hydrated by drinking plenty of water. You should also eat more fruits and vegetables to balance acid levels in the body.

Can Drinking Wine Damage Your Kidneys

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Alcohol, in general, can be harmful to kidneys, but wine can be an exception. Wine may not be the first option for kidney infection treatment, but studies say it can help prevent it. Drinking wine daily can reduce the risks for developing kidney diseases by about 37%. But wine should be taken in moderation.

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How Does Alcohol Affect The Throat

Also referred to as ethanol, alcohol is associated with a variety of health problems. However, those who are dependent or addicted to alcohol often struggle to quit drinking, even if they do experience certain health repercussions. Alcohol acts as a central nervous system depressant when consumed in large amounts. It produces sedative, pleasurable, and relaxing side effects otherwise referred to as a buzz. Over time, chronic ethanol abuse can cause permanent damage to the liver, kidneys, pancreas, and even the throat. Below are some long-term effects of alcohol on the esophagus.

Do Certain Drinks Foods Or Medication Cause Kidney Stones

Experts have found that certain drinks, foods, and medication may increase ones risk of developing a kidney stone:4

  • Animal proteins .
  • Oxalate-rich foods .
  • Sodium .
  • Diuretic drinks .
  • Medication .

Its important to talk with your doctor about all your health concerns including proper diet, exercise, and alcohol consumption. Brief health screenings by your provider can help determine if you are at increased risk for developing these types of health problems.

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How Does Alcohol Harm The Kidneys

Your kidneys filter harmful substances from your blood. One of these substances is alcohol. Alcohol can cause changes in the function of the kidneys and make them less able to filter your blood. In addition to filtering blood, your kidneys do many other important jobs. One of these jobs is keeping the right amount of water in your body. Alcohol affects the ability of your kidneys to do this. When alcohol dehydrates the body, the drying effect can affect the normal function of cells and organs, including the kidneys.

Too much alcohol can also affect your blood pressure. People who drink too much are more likely to have high blood pressure. And medications for high blood pressure can be affected by alcohol. High blood pressure is a common cause of kidney disease. More than two drinks a day can increase your chance of having high blood pressure.

Chronic drinking can also cause liver disease. This adds to the kidney’s job. The rate of blood flow to your kidneys is usually kept at a certain level, so that your kidneys can filter your blood well. Liver disease impairs this important balancing act. In fact, most patients in the United States who have both liver disease and associated kidney dysfunction are alcohol dependent.

Alcohol And Chronic Kidney Disease

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Binge drinking aside, regular heavy drinking can damage kidneys over time. Consistent excessive alcohol consumption has been found to double the risk of developing chronic kidney disease, which does not go away on its own. These statistics increase when smoking is involved. Those who drink heavily and smoke are about five times more likely to develop chronic kidney disease than those who do not have those habits.

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Alcohol May Affect The Acid

Kidneys play an essential role in determining the rate at which metabolic reactions take place by regulating acidity. This is because substantial metabolic reactions that are important in life are sensitive to the acidity of the surrounding fluid.The bodies metabolic balance interferes with the use of liquor, which changes the regulation of acidity.


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