Can Alcohol Cause Kidney Stones?
Kidney stones are an incredibly painful and often recurring condition for many people, and it leaves them wondering if there are certain foods and drinks that could be contributing to the formation of stones, or making them worse.
What about alcohol and kidney stones? Can alcohol cause kidney stones? Below is a rundown of what they are, and what people should know about the potential relationship between alcohol and kidney stones.
Kidney stones are from minerals and salts that form and create hard deposits inside the kidneys. They don’t just affect your kidneys, however. They can affect any part of your urinary tract, and usually what happens is that your urine is concentrated which then allows minerals to crystallize and clump together, thus the stones.
Kidney stones are painful, particularly when you’re passing them, but there aren’t usually complications that occur when someone has them. However, there is the potential that stones can get stuck in the urinary tract which can cause complications or infections ultimately requiring surgery.
Some of the symptoms of kidney stones can include severe pain below the ribs, along the side and back, as well as pain radiating to the abdomen and groin.
Aside from pain, there may be other symptoms as well such as nausea and vomiting, or fever and chills if there’s an infection.
The causes of kidney stones aren’t directly known, but it’s believed there are different factors that can raise a person’s risk. There are also different types of stones, including calcium stones, struvite stones that form in response to an infection, and uric acid stones that form in people who eat a lot of protein or don’t drink enough healthy fluids. There are also genetic risk factors as well as lifestyle risk factors such as dehydration, diet, and obesity.
Some other specific possible causes of kidney stones include:
- If you don’t drink enough water or you sweat a lot, you may be at a higher risk for kidney stones
- If you’ve already had a kidney stone, you’re at a higher risk of developing more
- Having a diet high in salt or sugar can increase the risk of having certain kinds of kidney stones
- If you have inflammatory bowel disease or chronic diarrhea, it can change your digestive process in a way that can increase the likelihood of kidney stones
The first is that people believe that alcohol can cause kidney stones, and the second is that people believe the myth that drinking alcohol, particularly beer, can help kidney stones when they’ve already formed.
Both of these subjects related to alcohol and kidney stones are detailed below.
Alcohol itself doesn’t directly cause kidney stones, but it can create a scenario where kidney stones are more likely to be formed.
First, alcohol dehydrates you, and as was discussed above, that is a big risk factor for the development of kidney stones. Also, alcohol contains a high amount of purines. People often ask “does beer cause kidney stones,” and the reason this is a question is because beer has high levels of purines specifically.
Purines are compounds that lead specifically to uric acid kidney stones.
Another indirect way alcohol can contribute to kidney stones is through obesity. Alcohol is high in empty calories and sugar, and it can also lead to people making poor food choices, so they may be more likely to be obese. Obesity is linked to a higher risk of kidney stones forming.
With all that being said, drinking in moderation can actually help prevent kidney stones, particularly if you’re drinking white or red wine, but moderation is the key term to understand with this.
To sum this up, can beer cause kidney stones? Not directly but it is linked to some of the risk factors that lead to kidney stones. Other types of alcohol may as well, but in moderation, some types of alcohol including wine may help reduce the risk of kidney stones.
However, there are better ways to eliminate kidney stones than alcohol, such as drinking plenty of healthier fluids like water.
Drinking too much alcohol can cause you to become dehydrated so that you’re actually passing less urine, making it harder to get rid of existing kidney stones.
If you already have kidney stones, alcohol is probably something you should avoid until they’re passed and after that, only drink in moderation to help lower your risk of developing them again in the future.
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