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Beer for Kidney Stones: Myths Vs Facts

By Dr. Abhay Kalra in Urology

Jan 25 , 2022 | 3 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.


Can Beer Cause Kidney Stones?

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

  1. Dehydration

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

  2. Obesity

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

  3. Uric acid

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


Alcohol and Kidney Stones

  1. It has not been proven that drinking beer directly causes kidney stones; nevertheless, there is evidence that drinking beer can indirectly impact the condition.
  2. Consuming beer over a prolonged period can lead to dehydration, which raises the chance of developing kidney stones.
  3. Beer drinking has been linked to an increased risk of obesity. Another factor that can increase your likelihood of developing kidney stones is being overweight or obese.
  4. Uric acid is known for regulating uric acid levels in the body, which raises the probability of stones in the kidneys.

Myth- Does Beer Helps in Passing Kidney Stones

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Prolonged intake of beer can cause high oxalates (one of the constituents of kidney stones) and dehydration.
  4. Beer contains alcohol that can harm your liver. Don’t you think causing liver damage is too expensive to pass a kidney stone?

beer for kidney stones - myths and facts


Proper Treatment for Kidney Stones

Diet change

Checkout the Diet and Kidney stones

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

  1. Beets
  2. Spinach
  3. 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. Checkout the how to dissolve kidney stones with apple cider vinegar.


Non-surgical treatments

  1. Medications- Medicines, and alpha-blockers treat kidney stones.
  2. 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

  1. 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.
  2. But if you are experiencing excruciating pain or infection symptoms during the waiting period, your doctor may advise surgery.
  3. If the size of a kidney stone is more than 6 mm, your doctor may suggest you undergo surgery to remove the stone.

Conclusion

Drinking alcohol is not recommended as a medication to wash kidney stones away. Alcohol dehydrates and many beverages, including beer, include chemicals that induce kidney stones. These substances include oxalates and purines. Therefore, drinking alcohol can negatively impact your kidneys' health and may raise the likelihood of developing kidney stones. No research demonstrates barley water can clear kidney stones or prevent a recurrence.


Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Does beer flush your kidneys?

    There is no scientific evidence regarding the same. The kidneys are not flushed out by beer. Drinking any liquid will increase urine output, but the kidneys will eliminate it. Taking a specific liquid does not benefit them in any way

  2. What is the fastest way to dissolve a kidney stone?

    It is said that Acetic acid is a useful remedial measure to remove kidney stones. To treat kidney stones, some patients consume apple cider vinegar.

    The citric acid in apple cider vinegar dissolves kidney stones and helps the body pass them more easily.

  3. Is Whiskey good for kidney stones?

    As a fluid, spirits, including whiskey or vodka, dehydrate to such an extent that there is no benefit from taking them.