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Can Alcohol Affect Your Kidneys?

a man rests his arm on his knee as he holds his head and wonders can alcohol affect kidneys

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 the liver is the main organ damaged by alcohol, but it actually 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 on getting the extra alcohol out of your body. The way that alcohol can affect kidneys can eventually be fatal. To avoid the affect of alcohol on your kidneys, it may be necessary to enroll in an alcohol addiction treatment program.

How Can Alcohol Affect Kidneys?

Alcohol is a substance 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 ensure 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 may result 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 affect your kidneys adversely. Not only does drinking alcohol cause damage to the kidneys, but sometimes it leads to actual physical pain. Symptoms of kidney pain include:

  • You have a sudden, sharp stabbing pain or a dull ache in the back of the abdomen, under the ribcage on both sides of the spine.
  • You experience pain in the upper or lower back or between the buttocks and lower ribs.
  • The pain in the above areas is worse at night.
  • You feel pain 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. You have more than three drinks per day for women (or more than seven per week).
  2. You’re drinking more than four drinks per day for men (or more than 14 per week).
  3. You’re 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 consistently, 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. Your doctor can treat you with medication, and an alcohol treatment program can help you if you cannot 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

How Can You Improve Your Kidney Function?

If you have been drinking excessively for a long time, there is a chance that your kidneys have already been damaged. In this case, it’s important to seek professional help in order to stop drinking and prevent further damage.

You can also improve your kidney function by::

  • 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

If you have diabetes, high blood pressure, or other conditions that can damage the kidneys, it’s important to follow your treatment plan and take your medications as prescribed.

You can also protect your kidneys by not smoking. Smoking damages the blood vessels and makes it harder for the kidneys to filter waste from the blood.

It’s important to be proactive about your kidney health. If you are drinking alcohol excessively, make sure to talk to your doctor about the best way to cut down or quit. Kidney damage is often irreversible, so it’s important to take care of your kidneys before it’s too late.

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 the body, mind, and spirit. We offer a range of evidence-based and holistic treatment options, including:

  • Family therapy
  • Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT)
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Yoga therapy
  • Biosound therapy

Are you still wondering, “How can alcohol affect kidneys?” If so, we have answers. 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.

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