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Alcohol and Kidney Stones

Link Between kidney stones and alcohol. What are the Symptoms of a Kidney Stone? Can Alcohol Cause Kidney Stones? The 4 Types of Kidney Stones. Does Beer Help in Removing Kidney Stone? How Alcohol Affects the Kidneys. Alcohol Inpatient Treatment Near Me.

What are the Symptoms of a Kidney Stone? kidney stone from alcohol

Alcohol and kidney stones have a direct connection. Alcohol affects the kidneys’ function to maintain water balance and electrolytes in the body. This may increase the risk of forming kidney stones and result in damaged kidney function. Kidney stones also called renal calculi or nephrolith, are the most common health condition associated with the urinary system. Every year, there are about 600,000 kidney stone cases in the United States. Kidney stones are more common in men. In the United States, around 11 percent of men and 6 percent of women will develop kidney stones at least once during their lifetime.

The stones are hard mineral fragments that can form in the kidneys. Usually, kidney stones are small enough to exit the body through urine. But if they’re too large, they may require medical assistance to have them broken up or removed. One of the first signs that alcohol is impacting your kidneys is pain and tenderness around the kidneys. This pain might be experienced as a sharp, stabbing pain or it may be a dull ache. One or both kidneys may be affected, and you may have other symptoms including, but not limited to:

kidney stones and alcohol
Kidney stones alcohol may not be directly connected, However, excessive drinking may cause both dehydration and the formation of uric acid kidney stones.

Alcohol and Kidney Stones: Pain in the back, belly, or side

  • Kidney stone pain is one of the most severe pain imaginable. The pain is intense enough to account for more than half a million visits to emergency rooms each year. The pain often starts when a stone moves into the narrow ureter. This causes a blockage, which causes pressure to build up in the kidney. The pressure activates nerve fibers that transmit pain signals to the brain.

Alcohol and Kidney Stones: Pain or burning during urination

  • Once the stone reaches the junction between the bladder and the ureter, the person starts to feel pain when he or she urinates. This symptom is also called dysuria. The pain can feel sharp or burning.

Alcohol and Kidney Stones: Urgent need to go

  • Needing to go to the bathroom more frequently or urgently than usual is another sign that the stone has moved into the lower part of your urinary tract.

Alcohol and Kidney Stones: Blood in the urine

  • Blood in the urine is a common symptom in individuals with kidney stones. This symptom is also called hematuria. The blood can be pink, red, or brown. Sometimes the blood cells are too small to see without a microscope (called microscopic hematuria), but doctors can test your urine to see if it contains blood.

Alcohol and Kidney Stones: Cloudy or smelly urine

  • Healthy urine doesn’t have a strong odor, and it’s clear. Foul-smelling or cloudy urine could be a sign of an infection in your kidneys or another part of your urinary tract. One 2021 study found that about 16 percent of people with acute kidney stones had a UTI.
  • Cloudiness is a sign of pus in the urine or pyuria. The smell can come from the bacteria that cause UTIs. An odor may also come from urine that’s more concentrated than usual. A kidney stone with UTI is considered a surgical emergency — with or without a fever.

Alcohol and Kidney Stones: Nausea and vomiting

  • It’s common for individuals with kidney stones to have nausea and vomiting. These symptoms happen because of shared nerve connections between the GI tract and the kidneys. Stones in the kidneys can trigger nerves in the GI tract, setting off an upset stomach. Nausea and vomiting can also be your body’s way of responding to intense pain.

Alcohol and Kidney Stones: Chills and fevers

  • Chills and fevers are signs of an infection in your kidney or another part of your urinary tract. This can be a serious complication of a kidney stone. It can also be a sign of other serious problems besides kidney stones. Any fever with pain requires urgent medical attention. Fevers that occur with an infection are usually high — 100.4˚F (38˚C) or more. Chills or shivering often occur along with the fever.

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kidney stones and alcohol
Alcohol kidney stones: Other than filtering toxins, your kidneys also help regulate blood pressure, and the attached adrenal glands control hormone levels.

Can Alcohol Cause Kidney Stones? Alcoholism and Kidney Stones

Does alcohol affect kidney stones? There is no significant evidence that alcohol directly causes kidney stones. Alcohol consumption – particularly excessive alcohol use in which a man drinks five or more drinks during a single session or a woman drinks four or more alcoholic drinks on a single occasion– is, however, linked to the development of a variety of other health problems. Some of these health issues include kidney damage, kidney failure, high blood pressure, various cancers, weakened immune system, mental health problems, social problems, and alcohol use disorders (AUDs). Some of these issues directly or indirectly negatively impact the renal system.

Can you get kidney stones from drinking alcohol? Concentrated urine can develop when the body is dehydrated—a leading cause of kidney stones. Dehydration can happen when people do not drink enough water to help the kidneys remove waste from the blood. Kidney stones and alcohol may not be directly connected, though we know alcohol consumption, whether it be beer, spirits, or wines, can contribute to dehydration, we can not link kidney stone development directly to alcohol use and abuse.

Kidney Stones and Wine

Wine in particular seems to lower the risk of kidney stones more than a range of other alcoholic beverages when it comes to alcohol. Alcohol is a diuretic, which means that it makes our kidneys generate more urine and flush out extra fluids.

Can Beer Cause Kidney Stones?

Frequent heavy alcohol consumption significantly raises the risk of kidney stones. Due to their high purine content, beer and grain alcohol can lead to kidney stones. Purines are chemical substances that can result in kidney stones made of uric acid.

Alcohol and Kidney Stones & The 4 Types of Kidney Stones 

There are four main types of kidney stones:

  1. Calcium oxalate: Calcium stones make up the majority of all kidney stones at 80 percent. There are two types of calcium stones, calcium oxalate (most common) and calcium phosphate—both of which can be seen on a plain x-ray. Inadequate calcium and fluid intake, as well as other conditions, may contribute to their formation.
  2. Uric acid: This is another common type of kidney stone. Foods such as organ meats and shellfish have high concentrations of a natural chemical compound known as purines. High purine intake leads to a higher production of monosodium urate, which, under the right conditions, may form kidney stones. The formation of these types of stones tends to run in families.
  3. Struvite: Struvite, or infectious stones, comprise 6 percent of all kidney stones, which in contrast to most stones, form in alkaline urine. Struvite stones are more common in women, infants, and the elderly and are often associated with recurrent bacterial urinary tract infections.
  4. Cystine: Cystine stones are the least common stones comprising only four percent of cases. The result of an inherited (genetic) disorder, cystine stones develop when there’s an excess of the amino acid cystine in the body. 

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Does Beer Help in Removing Kidney Stone?

Kidneys are the most vital organ of the body. They filter our blood and remove the chemical waste products and excess water present and then produce urine. Because of dehydration in the body, sometimes our urine gets concentrated, which certainly leads to the accumulation of minerals & salt, which consequently results in the formation of a small crystal. Ultimately these small crystals together form a large mass which is called a kidney stone.

A few small studies have shown that drinking beer in moderation may protect against kidney stones. The reason for this is unclear but may be due to the fact that beer is a diuretic, meaning it helps you urinate. Urination, in turn, can help flush small stones from your kidneys before they get bigger. However, you should never start drinking as a way to avoid kidney stones.

While drinking plenty of fluids when you have kidney stones is important, beer might not be the best choice. This is because beer dehydrates you. When you’re dehydrated, it can actually cause you to retain water and urinate less, which can make it harder to pass existing stones.

kidney stones and alcohol
kidney stones from alcohol: Alcohol is linked to kidney stones made from uric acid.

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Alcohol and Kidney Stones & How Alcohol Affects the Kidneys

Does alcohol cause kidney stones? The answer is yes, although the damage to your kidneys is not always noticed at once. As mentioned above, kidneys serve as a body filter, removing harmful toxins from the system. Alcohol is one such toxic substance and is mainly excreted through the kidneys and liver – therefore, these organs suffer the most. Alcohol negatively affects the kidneys in the following ways.

Alcohol dehydrates the body, which affects the ability of the kidneys to function properly.

  • When alcohol dehydrates (dries out) the body, the drying effect can affect the normal function of cells and organs, including the kidneys. This affects the ability of the kidneys to regulate the body’s fluids, acid-base, and also electrolyte balance. This is because alcohol selectively increases renal perfusion and basal metabolic rates of renal tubes consequently causing an increase in diuresis, leading to massive dehydration. Dehydrated kidneys are unable to function properly, and the subsequent consumption of the next portion of alcohol makes this situation even worse, which eventually leads to the malfunction of the kidneys.

Alcohol causes high blood pressure, which is harmful to the kidneys.

kidney stones and alcohol
The best way to prevent alcohol-related kidney stones is to drink in moderation,

Alcohol affects the liver, which makes the kidneys work harder to filter blood.

  • By causing liver diseases, such as alcoholic cirrhosis and alcoholic hepatitis, chronic drinking adds to the kidney’s job. The blood flow rate to the kidneys is usually kept at a certain level so that the kidney can filter the blood well. Established alcohol liver disease impairs this critical balancing act. Most patients in the United States diagnosed with both liver disease and associated kidney dysfunction are alcohol dependent.

Alcohol may cause type 2 diabetes which also affects the kidneys.

  • Diabetes has proven to be a severe condition that affects many people worldwide. It is a condition that affects blood sugar, by either spiking it or decreasing it. Can alcohol cause type 2 diabetes? The answer is yes. Diabetes mellitus (DM) is recognized clinically as a complication of alcoholism. Alcoholic drinks, especially beer, are usually rich in carbohydrates, which can raise blood sugar levels, leading to type 2 diabetes. Drinking heavily also makes the body less sensitive to insulin. 

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Alcohol Inpatient Treatment Near Me

Alcohol is the most abused addictive substance in America, as more than 17 million people in the United States are considered to suffer from addiction to alcohol. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration (SAMHSA) publishes that over 1.5 million American adults are considered to be currently abusing a prescription drug. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warns that binge drinking can cause acute kidney failure, but the damage can often be reversed if you stop drinking and allow your kidneys time to heal. Depending on how long and how much you drank, this recovery timeline can vary.

Alcohol and kidneys have direct connections. Kidney disease can lead to kidney failure. You may then need to endure regular kidney dialysis to filter your blood and keep things properly balanced, or undergo a kidney transplant. Heavy drinking can make it hard for you to qualify for a kidney transplant.

If you are struggling with alcohol use, it’s crucial to first get an accurate assessment of all the symptoms. When the symptoms have been evaluated by a mental health professional, it may be determined that another form of mental condition is present and needs a particular type of treatment. Very often, some combination of psychotherapy, medication, and/or lifestyle changes are effective for coping with functional. 

Medically-Assisted Detox

Medical Detox is often considered the first stage of treatment. It will help you navigate the complicated process of alcohol withdrawal, but it doesn’t address patterns of thought and behavior that contribute to drug use. Various treatment approaches and settings can help provide the ongoing support necessary to maintain long-term sobriety after you complete detox.

Cravings are very common during detox and can be challenging to overcome. This often leads to relapse. Constant medical care provided during inpatient rehab helps prevent relapse. Clinicians can provide necessary medication and medical expertise to lessen cravings and the effects of withdrawals.


Several different modalities of psychotherapy have been used in the treatment of mental health disorders along with addiction, including:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) – is an effective treatment that involves making changes in both the patterns of negative thoughts and the behavioral routines which are affecting the daily life of the depressed person for various forms of depression.
  • Dialectical Behavioral Therapy – is a comprehensive mental health and substance abuse treatment program whose ultimate goal is to aid patients in their efforts to build a life worth living. The main goal of DBT is to help a person develop what is referred to as a “clear mind.” 
  • Person-Centered Therapy – is a strategy that allows and encourages clients to understand and resolve their concerns in a safe, supportive environment.
  • Solution Focused Therapy – is an approach interested in solutions that can be quickly implemented with a simple first step leading to further positive consequences.

Dual Diagnosis Treatment

Drug abuse and mental health disorders often co-occur. In many cases, traumatic experiences can result in a mental health disorder and substance abuse. Dual diagnosis rehabilitation treats both of these issues together. The best approach for the treatment of dual diagnosis is an integrated system. In this strategy, both the substance abuse problem and the mental disorder are treated simultaneously. Regardless of which diagnosis (mental health or substance abuse problem) came first, long-term recovery will depend largely on the treatment for both disorders done by the same team or provider.

Medication-Assisted Treatments

Medication-Assisted Treatments (MAT) for substance use disorders and mental health disorders are commonly used in conjunction with one another. This includes the use of medications and other medical procedures. During your rehab, the staff from your treatment facility will help you identify what caused your addiction and teach you skills that will help you change your behavior patterns and challenge the negative thoughts that led to your addiction. Sometimes, the pressures and problems in your life lead you to rely on substances to help you forget about them momentarily.

 If you or a loved one are struggling with long-term drug abuse and a co-occurring mental health condition such as depression, contact one of our helpful treatment specialists today. We Level Up can provide information on dual diagnosis and detox programs that may fit your specific needs.

kidney stones and alcohol
Alcohol and Kidney Stones: The reality of alcoholism is a significant and serious contributor to the risk of kidney disease means that people who struggle with alcohol use disorders must make kidney care part of their long-term treatment.

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[1] NIDDK –,amount%206%20cloudy%20or%20bad-smelling%20urine%20More%20
[2] NCBI –
[3] Alcohol and Kidneys – We Level Up NJ

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