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Can Alcohol Use Lead to Kidney Stones?

Last Updated: November 15, 2023

Editorial Policy | Research Policy

Alcohol use can lead to a number of unpleasant side effects, including an increased risk of kidney stones developing.

Many people who drink wonder whether alcohol consumption can lead to kidney stones. While alcohol does not directly cause kidney stones to develop, it can lead to an increased risk of them developing. It is important to understand the connection between alcohol and kidney stones to decrease the risk of kidney stones occurring.

Kidney Stone Symptoms

Kidney stones can lead to unpleasant symptoms, the most noticeable of which is pain that can be quite severe. Kidney stone symptoms include:

  • Severe pain
  • Hematuria (blood in the urine)
  • Frequent urination
  • Urgency to urinate
  • Nausea and vomiting

Understanding these symptoms is crucial for early detection and treatment to avoid complications.

Can Alcohol Cause Kidney Stones?

In moderation, alcohol is unlikely to create any significant increase in the risk of developing kidney stones. However, excessive alcohol use can lead to dehydration and other health conditions, creating an environment that can be conducive for kidney stones to form. 

How Alcohol Affects the Kidneys

Alcohol use can impact your kidneys in several different ways. It can dehydrate your body, concentrating the urine and potentially leading to kidney stones. Additionally, it increases stress and strain on your kidneys by creating conflicting hormone signals. It can also lead to high blood pressure, another risk factor for kidney stones.

Other Causes & Risk Factors for Developing Kidney Stones

While heavy alcohol use can contribute to kidney stones, there are other causes and risk factors you should be aware of. These include high dietary intake of protein, calcium or sugar, being overweight and using certain medications. Being informed about these risk factors can help you make choices that will ultimately decrease the risk of kidney stones.

Foods, Beverages & Medications That Increase the Risk for Kidney Stones

In addition to alcohol, you should be cautious about consuming certain foods, beverages and medications that can increase your risk for kidney stones. High-oxalate foods, excessive vitamin C or D supplements and certain medications can contribute to stone formation. By moderating your intake of these substances, you can reduce your risk of developing kidney stones.

Treatment for Kidney Stones

The treatment for kidney stones varies based on their severity, size and other factors. It can range from pain management and lifestyle changes to more invasive medical procedures. Sometimes, kidney stones may require a short hospital stay to provide adequate pain relief.

In more advanced cases, a procedure called lithotripsy can be used to break up kidney stones using ultrasonic waves. In the most serious of situations, surgery may even be necessary to remove the stone. It’s important to consult with your healthcare provider to determine the most appropriate treatment for your condition.

Can Kidney Stones Lead to Death? 

Kidney stones themselves are rarely fatal; however, the complications they cause, such as infection or obstruction, can be life-threatening in some situations if not treated promptly. Awareness and early intervention are key to managing the risks associated with kidney stones.

Other Kidney Issues Associated with Alcohol Consumption

Beyond kidney stones, you should be aware of other kidney issues that can arise from alcohol consumption. Chronic alcohol use can lead to conditions like alcoholic nephropathy and kidney disease. These serious conditions can lead to a shorter lifespan and the need for treatments like dialysis. Understanding the broader impact of alcohol on your kidneys is crucial for maintaining optimal kidney health.

Evidence-Based Alcohol Addiction Treatment in Atlanta

If you or someone you know is struggling with alcohol addiction in Atlanta, there are evidence-based treatment options available. These treatments can help address the underlying causes of addiction and avoid alcohol-related kidney issues.

At The Recovery Village Atlanta Drug and Alcohol Rehab, we provide some of the best alcohol addiction care available. Our expert, compassionate staff and state-of-the-art facilities provide the optimal level of support needed to effectively and safely stop using alcohol for good. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you achieve lasting sobriety.


MedlinePlus. “Alcohol.” March 22, 2022. Accessed September 28, 2023.

National Kidney Foundation. “Kidney Stones.” 2023. Accessed September 28, 2023.

National Kidney Foundation. “Drinking Alcohol Affects Your Kidneys.” August 12, 2014. Accessed September 28, 2023.

Epstein, Murray. “Alcohol’s Impact on Kidney Function.” Alcohol Health and Research World, 1997. Accessed September 28, 2023.

Urology Care Foundation. “What are Kidney Stones?” 2023. Accessed September 28, 2023.