Effects of Alcohol on the Kidneys

This March, the Affiliated Urologists team will be celebrating National Kidney Month. 

We want to use this opportunity to educate our patients about the kidneys are how influential they are to our health. While most people may think about damaging their livers when consuming an alcoholic beverage, the kidneys actually play an important role too.

The kidneys and the liver have a close relationship. Alcohol is known to cause liver disease. In fact, over 2 million Americans per year are diagnosed with liver disease as a direct result of alcohol. When liver disease throws the body off-balance, the kidneys have to work harder to do their job. Since they are a part of a system, when the livers are damaged, the kidneys can soon become impaired themselves. Even though liver disease is commonly caused by chronic alcohol consumption, an occasional drink can have an effect on the kidneys too.

After a few drinks, people often feel the need to urinate often. Alcohol is known to dehydrate the body, and if people don’t drink enough water to replace the waste, they can feel dehydrated. The kidneys are already working overtime when intoxicated, and dehydration often puts a strain on them. This is one explanation for why people can feel kidney pain after drinking alcohol.

Aside from urinating often, excessive alcohol in one night may lead to vomiting. One function of the kidneys is to maintain a pH balance. This means that they balance the amount of acid in the body. When we vomit, we expel a lot of fluid and stomach acid, so this can dramatically throw the pH balance off. Even if people feel better after vomiting, the kidneys are definitely working hard to maintain homeostasis again.

The kidneys’ primary function is to get rid of toxins in the blood. When we drink alcohol, the kidneys become impaired and cannot filter the blood as well. However, this is not the kidneys’ only function. They also help regulate blood pressure by releasing hormones that control blood pressure levels. When we drink alcohol, the body can experience high blood pressure, which has a negative impact on the kidneys and may lead to kidney disease.

This proves that even if you’re not a chronic drinker, alcohol, even in small amounts, can have a negative impact on the kidneys. So next time you think, “Man, my liver is going to hate me for this,” remember that your kidneys are working hard to keep you healthy too. If you experience any symptoms of kidney disease, kidney stones, or pain in your upper back after a night of drinking, please don’t hesitate to call our office. We would be more than happy to perform diagnostic tests to see if the kidneys have been impaired. 

Affiliated Urologists is an award-winning practice recognized both locally and nationally that has provided service to patients in Phoenix, Scottsdale, and surrounding communities in the Valley, for over 40 years. The physicians emphasize top-of-the-line comprehensive urological care and strive to deliver the highest outcomes for patient satisfaction. To make an appointment, call 602-264-0608 or visit http://affiliatedurologists.com/contact/ for instructions on scheduling an appointment.

The advice and information contained in this article is for educational purposes only, and is not intended to replace or counter a physician’s advice or judgment. Please always consult your physician before taking any advice learned here or in any other educational medical material.

New patients are always welcome.

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