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Addiction and Substance Abuse

Kidney pain after alcohol

11/27/2006

Question:

After excessive alcohol I get kidney pain.  Could I have damage?

Answer:

Alcohol can cause kidney damage, though typically it causes liver problems much more often than kidney damage. The way it can cause kidney pain after excessive alcohol is to cause the kidney to "over-work" in excreting all of the fluid included in the alcoholic beverages. Also, alcohol has effects in the ADH or "anti-diuretic hormone" area and can cause kidney pain there.

I am concerned about your phrase "excessive drinking". The important thing to keep in mind is that alcohol use by adults over the age of 21 can and should be kept to "low-risk" levels - namely, no more than three drinks per drinking occasion for a man and no more than two per occasion for a woman ... unless she is anticipating getting pregnant or is currently pregnant, in which case no alcohol consumption is recommended. Use above these levels is rather risky for one's health and well being and should be avoided.

Please write back if you have other or additional questions.

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Response by:

Ted   Parran, MD Ted Parran, MD
Associate Professor of General Medical Sciences
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University