Can Alcohol Cause Kidney Stones?

At CNV Detox, it’s important to us that people know as much as they can as it relates to the effects of alcohol abuse. One of these effects could include the development of kidney stones. Kidney stones are some of the most painful health conditions that anyone could ever experience. Just the thought of it sends chills down the spine of any person, and for good reason. Based on research done over the years, the “stones” are crystals that have been formed by some materials in the urine. But what are kidney stones, and how are they caused? And can alcohol cause kidney stones?

The Formation of Kidney Stones

When there is an overabundance of waste and a shortage of liquid, elements in the urine begin to form crystals, commonly referred to as kidney stones. Some of the most common elements in the urine that create these crystals include:

  • Calcium
  • Urate
  • Cystine
  • Phosphate
  • Xanthine
  • Oxalate

Different Types of Kidney Stones

The scariest part about kidney stones is the fact that there isn’t just one kind. There are four kinds of kidney stones:

  • Calcium Oxalate and Calcium Phosphate: The most common kind of kidney stone
  • Uric Acid: A common kind of kidney stone
  • Struvite: A less common kind of kidney stone
  • Cystine: The rarest kind of kidney stone

Calcium Oxalate and Calcium Phosphate

Calcium oxalate and calcium phosphate cause calcium stones, the most common kinds of kidney stones. These are usually caused by dehydration, so to prevent these, it’s best to stay consistently hydrated. A common misconception concerning calcium stones is that those who have them have a surplus of calcium, but this isn’t the case. Though it may be surprising due to the elements that make it up, those with calcium stones don’t need to cut back on their calcium intake. 

Uric Acid

Similar to those who have calcium stones not needing to cut back on calcium, those with uric acid stones don’t have a surplus of uric acid. That may seem strange, but the actual problem is that their urine is just too acidic. When someone’s urine is too acidic, normal levels of uric acid dissolve into a person’s urine. This causes the uric acid to crystalize into stones.  

can alcohol cause kidney stones

So what’s the best way to reduce the risk of uric acid formation? Adjusting the pH balance in urine reduces the risk of uric acid stones. This is done with the medication potassium citrate. Taking this can also help dissolve existing stones. 

Another way to alkalinize urine is by the use of sodium bicarbonate (baking soda). In some, less common cases, those who produce high amounts of uric acid develop uric acid stones. For individuals with a high amount of uric acid in their bodies, eating less animal protein can help lower it. There’s also a drug called allopurinol that can help. 

Cystine

Cystinuria is the rarest kind of kidney stone and is also hereditary. The reason for its existence lies in the high amounts of an amino acid called cysteine in the urine. These high amounts of cysteine crystalize and cause kidney stones. Cystine stones can be managed with better hydration and managing one’s pH balance. Some medications can also help manage the formation of cystine. 

Struvite

Struvite stones are a less common kind of kidney stone, made up of magnesium ammonium phosphate, which forms in alkaline urine. Bacterial infections that raise pH in urine to be neutral or alkaline are the most common cause of struvite stones. Acetohydroxamic acid (AHA) can reduce the pH and dissolve the stones.

How to Know if You Have a Kidney Stone

can alcohol cause kidney stones

No matter the size of a kidney stone, it’s extremely painful. Whether as small as a grain of sand or as large as a thumbtack, kidney stones are all unbearable. Some symptoms are extremely noticeable when someone develops a kidney stone. These symptoms include:

  • Nausea
  • Blood in urine
  • Fever
  • Lower back pain
  • Stomach pain
  • Urine that smells strange
  • Chills

Those who experience these kinds of symptoms need to consult a doctor immediately. There are many tests available that can determine whether a kidney stone is present. When it comes to kidney stones, the sooner doctors know about them, the better. When kidney stones go untreated, the chances of chronic kidney disease can increase.

Can Alcohol Cause Kidney Stones?

There hasn’t been any sort of direct correlation between alcohol and kidney stones. Be that as it may, alcohol can indeed contribute to a chance of kidney stones forming for multiple reasons, Beer and the grain in alcohol have an especially high purine count, which can lead to kidney stone development.

Purine is a chemical compound that contributes to the formation of kidney stones due to the uric acid that amounts as a result. When it comes to uric acid, the body usually releases it in the urine. However, purines that exist in urine can lead to the formation of kidney stones because of the development of acids.

can alcohol cause kidney stones

There are other causes of kidney stones as well, one of which includes dehydration. As previously mentioned, when someone becomes dehydrated, calcium oxalate stones form. Alcohol specifically has been known to dehydrate individuals as a diuretic. Because of this, the urine becomes more concentrated, which leads to the formation of kidney stones.

A person’s chances of developing a kidney stone also increase as a result of obesity. This could be a result of mild or severe obesity, the degree to which somebody suffers from this particular condition does not matter. Consumption of alcohol has been known to increase the weight of those who consume it. This could lead to the formation of kidney stones. Over a long period, alcohol, no matter how long it remains in your system, can also damage kidneys, thus increasing the risk of developing kidney stones.

Get the Help You Need and Decrease Your Chances of Developing Kidney Stones

Kidney stones are one of the most painful things a person can deal with in their life. This is yet another reason why alcohol abuse treatment is necessary. If you or a loved one have developed an alcohol addiction, are afraid of the risks of alcohol and kidney stones, and want to know what treatment options are available, contact us today.