Alcohol and Your Kidneys National Kidney Foundation

People with chronic kidney disease should not drink alcohol at all, and they can speak to a doctor for help with quitting if they are finding it challenging. Kidney pain after drinking alcohol may occur due to acute kidney injury or an infection. Moderate drinking should not cause kidney pain, but binge drinking or frequent drinking may cause kidney problems.

  • However, if you have kidney disease, you need to be mindful of how much you drink and the downstream effects that alcohol can have on your body.
  • Also, be aware of ingredients and nutrient content of the beverage you choose to drink.
  • As a result, excess carbon dioxide accumulates, and the body’s acid level subsequently increases.
  • However, if caught in time, your doctor may prescribe medications and a change in your diet.
  • The limits are different for men and women, because men usually weigh more and alcohol is processed differently by the sexes.

Although resilient, the kidneys can deteriorate as a result of malnutrition, alcohol abuse or dependence, or liver and other diseases. Healthy kidneys are vital to the function of all the body’s organs and systems. As the plasma filtrate passes along this channel, the substances the body needs to conserve are reabsorbed into an extensive network of capillaries that wrap the nephron tubule. Small amounts of unwanted substances also are secreted directly into the nephron tubules. Together, the filtered and secreted substances form urine (see figure) and eventually trickle into a series of progressively larger collecting ducts. Each 4.5-inch-long kidney contains about 250 of the largest collecting ducts, each duct transmitting urine from approximately 4,000 nephrons.

What effect does alcohol have on your health — and your liver?

Heavy drinking over an extended period can lead to an increased risk of proteinuria (excess protein in the urine). This condition may indicate chronic kidney disease and other harmful effects. Cancer experts strongly recommend not drinking alcohol at all due to its potentially harmful effects on the body. Alcohol is known to increase your risk for several different types of cancer and cause kidney damage over time.

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It may be mild or severe and can be felt on one or both sides of the body. Check with your doctor, especially if you take medications that might be affected by using alcohol. If you’re concerned about the effects of alcohol use on your health, contact your health care provider for help. Your provider also may refer you to a liver clinic, such as the one at Mayo Clinic Health System in Mankato or Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, for further evaluation and management of alcohol-related liver disease. During the COVID-19 pandemic, national alcohol sales have increased 54%. A national survey in the September 2020 issue of JAMA revealed that people 18 and older were consuming alcohol more often.

How does alcohol harm the kidneys?

In addition, hydrogen ion concentration (i.e., acid-base balance) influences cell structure and permeability as well as the rate of metabolic reactions. The amounts of these substances must be held within very narrow limits, regardless of the large variations possible in their intake or loss. The kidneys are the organs primarily responsible for regulating the amounts and concentrations of these substances in the extracellular fluid. Kidneys that have been overworked due to excess alcohol consumption don’t function properly.

You may have kidney pain after drinking alcohol due to dehydration or inflammation of your stomach lining. But it can also happen if you have other health conditions, including a kidney infection. Based on the most recent scientific evidence, if you stick to one standard alcohol drink alcohol and kidneys each day (one 1.5-oz shot, one 12-oz. glass of beer or one 5-oz. glass of wine), you do not increase your risk of developing kidney disease. Also, alcohol does not appear to make kidney disease worse or make it more likely that someone with kidney disease will need dialysis.

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