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Beer for Kidney Stones: Myths Vs Facts

By Dr. Abhay Kalra in Urology

Jan 25 , 2022 | 2 min read

Kidney stones are calcium or uric acid crystal deposits in the kidney and vary in size and shape. Let’s look at the facts and debunk the myths associated with the use of beer for kidney stones.


Myth- Beer helps in passing kidney stones


Facts


  • Yes, beer is a diuretic, and it does help in passing more urine, thus excreting out small stones. But the catch here is that stones of size more than 5 mm cannot be excreted out of the body in this way because the exit passage is just around 3mm.
  • If you take beer when you are in pain or are unable to pass urine, it can make your situation miserable because the beer will produce more urine you cannot expel, thus making it very painful. 
  • Prolonged intake of beer can cause high oxalates (one of the constituents of kidney stones) and dehydration.
  • Beer contains alcohol that can harm your liver. Don’t you think causing liver damage is too expensive to pass a kidney stone?

Can beer cause kidney stones?


Though the direct relationship between kidney stones and beer has not been established yet, it can have indirect effects.


Dehydration- Prolonged beer intake can cause dehydration, thus increasing the risk of kidney stones.


Obesity- Beer consumption can increase your weight. Being overweight (obesity) is yet another risk factor for kidney stones.


Uric acid- Beer contains constituents that can increase uric acid in your body, thus increasing the risk of uric acid crystals in the kidney.


So what is the proper treatment for kidney stones?


Diet change



Avoid oxalate-rich foods- Avoid food items such as-

  • Beets
  • Spinach
  • Almonds


Intake of water- Drink at least 2 litres of water that will help flush out the smaller stones.


Be cautious with sodium intake- Sodium can increase calcium levels in urine and increase the chances of stone formation.

Non-surgical treatments


Medications- Medicines and alpha-blockers treat kidney stones.


Lithotripsy- It is a non-invasive procedure in which sound waves are used to break kidney stones. You might have to get hospitalized for a day or two for this procedure.


Surgical treatments

  • Your doctor may first keep you in wait and watch periods in which he will give medications and tell you about diet restrictions so that stone can pass on its own. 


  • But if you are experiencing excruciating pain or infection symptoms during the waiting period, your doctor may advise surgery.