Drinking Alcohol

Drinking alcohol may be the most enjoyable way of passing time with friends, or even alone, but then, this time-pass activity can also prove to be costing you your health. Think about it, if you have been drinking a lot lately, or continuously over the past few years, don’t you feel that your body (and your mind) has started giving you hints that it is getting a bit too much? Don’t you sense that hesitation at the back of your mind, telling you that perhaps you should give it a hold? Don’t you feel weaker, drained, and sense that your body’s resistance towards alcohol has lowered down in comparison? We can go on and on with the signs and symptoms that your body tends to give when alcohol consumption is pushed too far, but for now, let’s stick to one of the signs―kidney pain.

What Causes Kidney Pain After Drinking Alcohol

You have had this problem for a while now, and you have also been to your doctor for the same. Your reports are normal; your doctor says that your liver, kidneys, pancreas, etc., seem to be okay. However, as soon as you start drinking again, the pain is back. After a drinking session, it’s pretty intense, sharp, and even excruciating at nights; but even when you stop, a dull pain remains for quite some time, extending to a few days, to weeks, or even months, in some cases. What could all this mean? To determine why the pain arises, it is crucial to understand the effects of alcohol on kidney functioning.

➦ Kidneys are not only confined to the filtration of waste materials, but they also help in keeping the body well hydrated. The kidneys can handle alcohol in limited amounts, perhaps a drink or two occasionally would be quite okay. However, when the level of alcohol becomes too much in the blood, the kidneys are compelled to work harder than normal to filter it, resulting in excessive passage of urine, which eventually leads to dehydration. When this happens, the reduced water levels affect the functioning of not only the kidneys, but also other organs and cells of the body.

➦ The kidneys use the antidiuretic hormone (ADH) to control the fluid amounts excreted in the urine, hence keeping a balance between the water levels released and absorbed by the body. However, alcohol suppresses the release of this hormone into the blood, thereby causing dehydration, and eventually an impairment in the kidney function, which may cause pain.

➦ The formation of high amounts of urine can actually affect the renal pelvis (a funnel through which urine flows into the ureter) and cause pain. Oftentimes, you will notice the pain subsiding as soon as urine is passed.

➦ Alcohol-induced dehydration may trigger the formation of kidney stones. The risk doubles when you consume fatty meals that lack fiber, and lead a sedentary lifestyle. If these stones are already present, then the excessive formation of urine may lead to rapid movement of these stones, thereby causing kidney pain.

Alcoholism is one of the main causes of liver disease, which, in turn, can affect the functioning of the kidneys. Liver impairment can alter the rate of blood flow to the kidneys, which needs to be balanced to filter the blood efficaciously. Therefore, those with liver disease may experience pain or discomfort while preferring the fondness towards the bottle over their physical health.

➦ A condition known as Pelviureteric Junction (PUJ) Obstruction, which can occur due to a birth defect, or develop at a later stage in life, can be attributed to kidney pain after drinking alcohol. This is because PUJ obstruction tends to block the renal pelvis, thereby instigating flank pain or back pain. Alcohol tends to increase the intensity of pain in this case.