Alcohol is one of the most socially acceptable drugs available. As socially acceptable as it may be, it does not come without some detrimental effects on your health. Some of the most common include liver disease, mental health issues, and weight gain. However, one of the organs that alcohol primarily impacts is the kidneys. The kidneys are responsible for filtering the blood from toxins and transforming this waste into urine. Since alcohol is a liquid that poisons your blood, your kidneys will be responsible for cleaning the alcohol from your blood. This results in your kidneys working more than they should be. But can alcohol cause kidney stones? Happy Urology and our South Florida urology practice will explore more below.
Can kidney stones be caused by drinking alcohol? The simple fact of the matter is that there is no causal relationship between alcohol and kidney stones. However, alcohol still has some impact on the formation of kidney stones in heavy drinkers.
This is especially true for beer drinkers because beer contains a high concentration of purines. Purines are chemical compounds that cause the formation of uric acid, which in turn causes kidney stones. Another facet of alcohol that could lead to the formation of kidney stones is the fact that drinking alcohol could lead to dehydration. Dehydration is a key facet in kidney stone formation because a lack of water leads to the formation of calcium oxalate in the kidneys.
When someone is constantly drinking and dehydrated, these mineral deposits will be more present in the kidneys, greatly increasing the risk of experiencing painful kidney stones. Additionally, heavy drinkers tend to drink beverages that have excessive sugar and additives that cause kidney stones. When these sugary drinks combine with the dehydration that alcohol causes, the risk of kidney stones is greatly increased.
Lastly, alcohol could cause kidney stones because it causes weight gain. Obesity and being overweight also increase the possibility of kidney stones. A good rule of thumb to live a healthy lifestyle is to make sure that you minimize your alcohol consumption. Keeping alcohol consumption to a low level means that you will keep both your mental and physical health in check.
Vodka is a more intoxicating form of alcohol, which means that it will require fewer drinks than beer to feel the effects of dehydration. Harder alcohol is also more toxic to the bloodstream, which means that your kidneys will have to work harder to filter your blood. Further, certain vodkas are grain-based, which means that processing them could cause a greater deposit of uric acid in your kidneys.
Can alcohol cause kidney stones, and is beer a primary culprit? As mentioned above, beer is one of the beverages that is most linked to kidney stone formation. While it is not proven that beer is a direct cause of kidney stone formation, there is evidence that it could indirectly cause them by promoting the creation of uric acid. However, it is possible that drinking beer could even help pass these stones. Since alcohol and beer are diuretics, consuming them could cause urination, which could help dislodge a kidney stone.
In the case of severe kidney stones, you may need to get professional help. Some kidney stones may be too large or painful to pass through urine, requiring medical intervention. The kind of treatment that our Miami urologists conduct to treat kidney stones varies greatly from case to case. Depending on the severity and duration of symptoms, our professionals can create a treatment plan for you. Sometimes, kidney stones may require surgery to treat. No matter the kind of kidney stone or pain you’re experiencing, our kidney stone urologists are here to help.
Happy Urology is a Miami-based urology practice that is here to help you or a loved one with our collection of services. Our full suite of services includes the following: