Kidney Pain After Drinking Alcohol

Illustration of an alcohol bottle and kidney which represent that alcohol can cause kidney pain


While it holds true that alcohol contains water, alcohol also has diuretic abilities that increase the urge in urinating. Did you know that a glass of beer is equivalent to losing 3 glasses of water? That is why alcohol is not really good for your body especially when taken in excess or frequently.

When alcohol is taken in excess, it damages the brain and this is what causes dehydration. Experiencing a hangover after a night of partying and drinking lots of alcohol actually means that the brain is suffering from severe dehydration due to alcohol abuse. If alcohol abuse occurs often and repeatedly, it damages the brain little by little by killing and damaging the brain cells. When this happens, a lot of the significant functions of the brain become depressed or slow down.

One of the kidneys functions is to filter harmful substances from the blood. Alcohol is one of these harmful substances. It can cause changes in the functioning of the kidneys disabling them to filter the blood well. Another significant function of the kidneys is to keep the right amount of water in the body. Unfortunately, alcohol affects the kidney’s ability to do this. When the alcohol causes dehydration of the body, this drying effect has the possibility to affect the normal function of organs and cells including the kidneys.

Chronic and excessive drinking of alcohol may also lead to liver disease. The rate of blood flow to the kidneys is kept at a certain level to be able to let the kidneys filter the blood well. Liver disease disrupts the balance which therefore hinders the kidneys from filtering the blood well. Liver disease is often associated with kidney dysfunction.

What is the right amount of alcohol intake?

A bottle of beer, a shot of hard liquor, or a glass of wine is just the right amount of alcohol that a person can take a day. It is considered heavy drinking when a man drinks more than 4 drinks a day or 14 drinks a week and a woman drinks more than 3 drinks a day or more than 7 drinks a week.

Frequent heavy drinking or drinking heavily on a regular basis doubles the risk of an individual for kidney disease. Binge drinking also has a tendency to raise an individual’s blood alcohol to dangerous levels which can cause acute kidney injury or a sudden decline in the functioning of the kidneys. Once this occurs, dialysis is needed until such time that the individual’s kidneys function returns to normal. Acute kidney injury can be cured and go away in time but in some instances, it can cause further damage to the kidneys.

Why is there kidney pain after drinking alcohol?

There are a couple of reasons why the kidney hurts after consumption of alcohol.
The reason and the type of pain vary per person. Some people experience pain while drinking while the others develop the pain after they have already stopped drinking.
Here are some of the causes of kidney pain after consumption of alcohol:

Kidneys are overworked

Kidney pain can occur because the kidney cannot filter the waste materials in the blood any longer and cannot keep the right amount of water that the body needs which may be due to abuse of alcohol. The kidneys have the capacity to process alcohol and to keep alcohol away from the blood but with excess intake of alcohol, the kidneys are given more work than they can handle. The kidneys need to work more for longer periods of time.
This is what causes an increase in the urge to urinate and this can lead to dehydration.

Dehydration impairs the kidneys’ proper function by putting pressure on the kidney which causes severe kidney pain.

Renal Pelvis

Urine passes into the ureters through the renal pelvis, a tubular structure.
Excessive amounts of alcohol result in excess production of urine which affects the renal pelvis and causes pain. The pain subsides once the excess urine is expelled.

Renal / Kidney Stones

Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol causes dehydration which can also result in the formation of kidney stones. There is an increase in the chances to develop kidney stones for individuals who live a sedentary lifestyle and do not have a balanced diet. Excessive drinking of alcohol increases the production of urine which allows the kidney stones to move at a rapid pace, therefore, causing severe pain.

Ureteropelvic Junction Obstruction

Ureteropelvic junction obstruction can cause kidney pain after drinking alcohol. This condition refers to a complete blockage of the renal pelvis which causes pain in the flank area or in the back

Liver Disease

As mentioned earlier, the liver disease affects the blood flow to the kidneys which causes the kidneys to work harder to filter the blood properly. This results in dehydration and kidney pain.

How bad does alcohol affect the kidneys?

Drinking alcohol results in dehydration which affects the normal function of the cells and organs of the body which includes the kidneys.

A significant amount of alcohol may also result in hypertension which increases the risk of having kidney diseases.

How to treat kidney pain from drinking alcohol?

The best and only way to treat kidney pain after drinking alcohol is to stop drinking alcohol.