When it comes to beer and kidney stones, people tend to have a few different theories as to whether beer can be helpful for kidney stones, or alternatively harmful.

The following provides an overview of what to know about beer and kidney stones, and answers the question “does beer help kidney stones.”

Alcohol and the Kidneys

First, what are kidney stones? Essentially they are deposits of sodium and minerals that crystallized and gather in the kidneys. They don’t tend to cause complications unless an infection occurs, but they are painful. Some people find them incredibly painful.

Infographic one detailing what kidney stones are

There are many different reasons a person might get kidney stones throughout their life, ranging from genetics to lifestyle.

Infographic two detailing what causes kidney stones

When you drink, particularly in excess, it can affect or even damage almost every part of your body, including your kidneys. Your kidneys are a part of your body responsible for filtering harmful substances, one of which is alcohol. When you drink too much, it can change the functionality of your kidneys so they’re less able to filter blood. If your kidneys aren’t functioning well, it can also make it harder for your body to keep the right amount of water, leading to dehydration in some instances.

Drinking too much also affects your liver, and that can make it more difficult for your kidneys to function properly as well.

Beer and Kidney Stones

With the significant effect alcohol, in general, can have on the kidneys, people wonder if beer and kidney stones are related to one another.

Does beer cause kidney stones? What about other types of alcohol?

Beer doesn’t necessarily directly cause kidney stones, but it can increase the likelihood a person will develop kidney stones, and this can happen in multiple different ways. First, if you drink, particularly in excess, it can cause kidney issues that can dehydrate you, and dehydration is one of the biggest reasons kidney stones form.

Drinking excessively, particularly beer, also means you’re getting a lot of empty calories, and that can cause weight gain. Being overweight or obese are also risk factors for kidney stones.

Beer contains something called purines. Purines can lead to the formation of one particular type of kidney stones, and beer could exacerbate problems that you have with high purine levels.

Kidney stones and beer might not be directly associated with one another in a causal way, but there are a lot of reasons to watch your alcohol consumption if you’re concerned about kidney stones.

Does Beer Help Kidney Stones?

While some people worry beer can cause kidney stones, other people have heard that beer helps kidney stones.

So, is it true? Does beer help kidney stones? There are two main ways that people believe beer could help kidney stones.

Infographic three detailing if beer can actually help

The first is the fact that there is some research showing that drinking in moderation can lower the risk of developing kidney stones. This is true and based on scientific information, but people may have varying definitions of what moderation means, so it’s important to be aware of what moderate drinking truly is, and you should never start drinking as a way to avoid kidney stones.

When a medical professional talks about drinking in moderation it usually means no more than one drink a day for women and two for men. A serving size would be around 12 ounces of beer, or five ounces of wine.

There’s another way people believe beer helps kidney stones as well. There is a myth that drinking beer can help you pass kidney stones when you already have them because it causes you to urinate more.

While drinking plenty of fluids when you have kidney stones is important, beer might not be the best choice. This is because, as touched on above, beer dehydrates you and when you’re dehydrated it can actually cause you to urinate less, which can make it harder to pass existing stones.

For most types of kidney stones, there’s no medication or substance that helps them dissolve faster, and it’s a process that has to occur naturally.

Summing Up—Beer For Kidney Stones

Beer for kidney stones can be helpful, as long as you’re looking at it in terms of prevention. There is legitimate research showing that drinking in moderation, including beer, can lower the risk of developing kidney stones. However, if you are a heavy drinker, you may be indirectly at risk of developing kidney stones because of related factors such as dehydration and obesity.

If you currently have kidney stones. there’s not much you can do to dissolve them any faster, and the idea of beer for kidney stones when you have them isn’t one with much merit.

The overall concept to take away from this discussion of beer and kidney stones is that drinking in moderation is okay and can even be helpful, but anything more can be dangerous, not just in terms of conditions like kidney stones, but it can make it harder for your kidneys and other vital organs to do their work.

Medical Disclaimer: The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.

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