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Can Alcohol Affect Your Kidneys?

A man has kidney pain due to drinking alcohol.

Abusing alcohol can affect every part of your health. In fact, there rarely is any part of the body that is not affected by drinking. Many people think that the liver is the main organ damaged from alcohol, but actually it affects all of your vital organs, including your kidneys.

The role of your kidneys is to filter harmful substances – including drugs and alcohol – from the blood and prevent extra fluid and waste from building up in your body. If you experience kidney pain after drinking alcohol, that is because your kidneys are working to get the extra alcohol out of your body.

Alcohol and Kidneys: How They Interact

Alcohol is a toxin that has both short and long-term effects on your kidneys. The kidneys are responsible for filtering blood throughout the body. When you drink alcohol, it lessens the kidneys’ ability to filter blood flow. Excessive alcohol use also leads to liver disease, which causes the kidneys to have to work harder and impacts their ability to regulate blood flow.

Alcohol abuse also makes it difficult for the kidneys to make sure the body maintains enough water, leading to dehydration. When this happens, other organs and cells in the body can’t function normally. On top of all this, alcohol consumption results in high blood pressure, which is one of the main causes of kidney disease.

Why Do I Get Kidney Pain After Drinking Alcohol?

It is a well-known fact that there is potential for alcohol to adversely affect your kidneys. Not only does drinking alcohol cause damage to the kidneys, sometimes it leads to actual physical pain. Symptoms of kidney pain include:

  • A sudden, sharp stabbing pain or a dull ache located in the back of the abdomen, under the ribcage on both sides of the spine
  • Pain in the upper or lower back or between the buttocks and lower ribs
  • Pain in the above areas that is worse at night
  • Pain felt immediately after consuming alcohol or once you’ve stopped.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s important that you listen to your body. You should reduce the amount of alcohol you are drinking or seek help if you are unable to stop on your own.

How Much Alcohol is Too Much?

While a small amount of alcohol will not do serious harm to the kidneys, there are specific levels of alcohol that will lead to kidney pain or damage:

  1. More than 3 drinks per day for women (or more than 7 per week).
  2. More than 4 drinks per day for men (or more than 14 per week).
  3. Binge drinking: This is when someone drinks 4-5 drinks in 2 hours. It can cause “acute kidney injury” and can lead to lasting kidney damage.

If you or a loved one is going over these recommended daily amounts on a consistent basis, there is a chance that long-term kidney damage or kidney failure is imminent.

Symptoms of Kidney Failure

Don’t wait to seek help if you believe you are suffering from kidney disease. You can be treated by your doctor with medication, and an alcohol treatment program can help you if you are unable to stop drinking on your own.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms alongside the signs of kidney pain above, seek treatment by a doctor right away:

  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Headaches
  • Sleep problems
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Swelling of legs and ankles
  • Kidney pain
  • Changes in urine

These tips will help your kidney health, as well:

  • Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated
  • Exercise regularly
  • Follow a low-fat, healthy diet with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Limit your sugar, salt and caffeine intake

Overcome Alcohol Addiction at Footprints Beachside Recovery

The sooner you ask for help, the sooner you can be back on track with a healthy life and healthy body. At Footprints Beachside Recovery, we offer an individualized approach with a knowledgeable team and a medical doctor. The holistic approach treats not only the body, but also the mind and spirit. Contact us right away to get the help you need.


Alcohol and Your Kidneys. (Accessed August 28, 2018).

Call Footprints Beachside Recovery at 877-954-3908 today.