How Does Alcohol Affect the Kidneys?

Smoking is also one of the most risk factors for kidney cancer. Similarly, there’s minimal evidence to suggest that alcohol increases the risk of kidney stones or kidney infections. Despite the multiple possible causes of acidosis, disturbances in acid-base balance are more frequently manifested as low acidity (i.e., alkalosis). Alkalosis was present in 71 percent of patients with established liver disease in 11 studies, and respiratory alkalosis was the most common disturbance in 7 of the studies . If an acute alcoholic binge induces extensive vomiting, potentially severe alkalosis may result from losses of fluid, salt, and stomach acid. Another potential cause of hypophosphatemia in alcoholic patients is hyperventilation, which can occur during alcohol withdrawal. Prolonged rapid, shallow breathing results in excessive loss of carbon dioxide and decreased blood acidity (i.e., alkalosis), which in turn activates an enzyme that enhances glucose breakdown.

Where do you feel kidney pain?

You feel kidney pain in the area where your kidneys are located: Near the middle of your back, just under your ribcage, on each side of your spine. Your kidneys are part of the urinary tract, the organs that make urine (i.e., pee) and remove it from your body.

Despite this alcohol and kidneys’s various causes, alcohol can play a role in the development and progression of kidney stones and other kidney conditions. Having an occasional glass of alcohol may not cause any harmful effects if your kidney functions regularly. Still, you should talk with your doctor about the safety and impact of drinking alcohol if you already have kidney disease or kidney cancer. Acute kidney failure or acute kidney injury is rare but it can occur with binge drinking, and usually can be corrected. Permanent damage to your kidneys happens with regular heavy drinking over time. The amount of time that it takes for kidneys to become damaged depends on genetics, the amount of alcohol consumed, and many other factors.

How Alcohol Use Affects The Kidneys

Additionally, depending on the drink type it may also have carbohydrates which can impact blood sugar levels for those with diabetes. And most of the body’s organs and tissues are exposed to the same amount of alcohol as your blood, this includes your kidneys, but your liver is exposed to more. Treatment for other mental health issues – Many people who misuse alcohol also have a mental disorder. As a result, dual diagnosis treatment offers whole-person treatment. Although indirectly, alcohol can cause a urinary tract infection . Men who consumed moderate alcohol had a lower risk of renal dysfunction. This could be due to the antioxidant effects of alcohol being more prevalent among men.


In fact, alcoholic beverage sales have increased by 55% in 2020 compared to last year. While opting for a few drinks during the week is not a cause for concern, it’s important to be mindful of the long-term health effects of chronic alcohol use. 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. The liver plays a role in maintaining blood flow to the kidneys, and alcohol-related liver problems can further impact kidney health. For men, heavy alcohol use isdefinedas more than four drinks in a single day or more than fourteen drinks in a week.

Reversing the Damage

Most of the acid-base problems that occur with alcohol consumption are ones involving too little acid. People with liver disease are more likely to get these as well. Having more than one drink a day could also increase the risk for high blood pressure in diabetics. Other research found that drinking an alcoholic beverage causes a sudden spike in blood pressure for up to two hours. If you drink a lot in one sitting you may experience changes in blood pressure.

  • Heavy drinking on a regular basis has been found to double the risk for kidney disease.
  • Alcohol can induce abnormally high phosphate levels (i.e., hyperphosphatemia) as well as abnormally low levels.
  • Consuming alcohol dehydrates your body, which can have negative effects on the function of your kidneys and other vital organs.
  • Additionally, urinating often is another effect of alcohol on kidneys.