Kidney pain after alcohol


Some people complain of kidney pain after excessive alcohol consumption. Most of the time, however, the symptoms are not caused by any serious damage or illness.

Often, too little non-alcoholic fluid is given. However, those who drink too much alcohol for a long time can suffer from chronic inflammation of the kidneys, which causes pain. Alcohol can also promote the development of kidney stones. By weakening the body's defense system, a urinary tract infection is further promoted, which also affects the kidney pelvis (read more on the subject Pelvic inflammation).


The kidneys are not directly damaged by the occasional intake of large amounts of alcohol. Even so, there are various reasons that lead to kidney pain after too much alcohol. On the one hand, alcohol promotes the formation of kidney and ureter stones, which lead to colic-like pain (here you can find more about Kidney Stone Symptoms). The stones press on the walls of the renal pelvis or the ureter, which manifests itself in the form of this intense, usually wave-like pain.

Alcohol also promotes inflammation of the kidneys. The human immune system is weakened and germs can multiply better, so that bacterial inflammation of the renal pelvis is possible. The result is rather dull but persistent kidney jokes. Regular excessive consumption of alcohol can also lead to chronic inflammation of the kidney tissue and thus cause pain. Often the kidneys are not affected at all, but back pain is misinterpreted as kidney pain. For example, poor sleep for the body after too much alcohol can lead to back pain.


Depending on the trigger for the kidney pain that occurs after drinking too much alcohol, various accompanying symptoms can occur. With pain caused by a kidney stone, nausea and possibly vomiting are common. If urinary tract infection is the cause, there is often pain when urinating and pain in the lower abdomen (above the bladder).

Use caution if you notice bloody urine. Here, too, various causes are possible. A cause that is less common but all the more important is cancer of the kidneys or urinary organs (bladder or ureter cancer). Anyone who notices bloody urine should therefore consult their family doctor or urologist for clarification as soon as possible.

Right kidney pain

Kidney pain, which occurs only on the right side after a high consumption of alcohol, indicates a disease in the corresponding kidneys. Normally, a person has two kidneys, which are located on the right and left in the flank area (lateral / rear back between the costal arch and the iliac crest). With kidney pain on the right side, bacterial inflammation of the right renal pelvis is possible, or a stone that sits in the urinary tract on the right side and causes pain there.
In contrast, inflammation of the kidney tissue due to prolonged consumption of alcohol usually affects both kidneys. Nevertheless, pain can only occur on the right. Pain emanating from the back can also only radiate to the right side and trigger alleged kidney pain.

Kidney pain on the left

Due to the paired kidneys, it is possible that only one kidney is affected by a disease. For example, kidney pain in the left side can be caused by bacterial inflammation of the renal pelvis or a stone. Both in turn are favored by alcohol consumption. Chronic inflammation of the kidney tissue due to alcohol is possible with unilateral pain, but bilateral pain is more likely. Furthermore, the cause of the pain can also be the back, if the radiation is particularly to the left in the kidney area.


The cause of kidney pain can generally only be clarified by a doctor, regardless of whether this only occurs after increased alcohol consumption or not. He will conduct a detailed questioning about the pain and possible other symptoms as well as a physical examination.
If necessary, the urine is also examined for a possible urinary tract infection as a trigger. Taking a blood sample and checking the kidney values ​​(for example creatinine) may also be necessary to establish the diagnosis. An enlargement of the renal pelvis can be detected, for example, by ultrasound. In the case of special questions, special examinations by a urologist are also appropriate.


If kidney pain occurs after excessive alcohol consumption, you should definitely drink plenty of water or other non-alcoholic beverages. Light physical exercise can also be useful, especially if the back is actually causing the pain and it only radiates into the kidney region. Further therapy is then often not necessary at all. Alcohol should be avoided in the future or at least consumed in smaller quantities.

Treatment continues to be based on the cause of the pain. If there is a specific cause of the symptoms, this can also be treated in a targeted manner. A urologist can remove a stone in the urinary tract using a variety of methods (for example, external shock waves or a minimally invasive procedure with forceps; see also Therapy of kidney stones). In the case of inflammation of the renal pelvis, therapy with an appropriately effective antibiotic should usually take place. If necessary, hospitalization for a few days is even advisable in the case of such a disease.


How long the kidney pain lasts after consuming alcohol varies widely and depends on the cause. The pain often gets better or goes away completely if you drink a lot of water, do some physical activity and the body breaks down the alcohol. If a kidney stone is the cause of the pain, in some cases it may resolve spontaneously and the pain may go away. However, the pain may persist and the stone must be removed by a urologist.
In the event of inflammation, a doctor should also be consulted, who usually prescribes a suitable antibiotic, so that an improvement in the pain can be expected after two to three days.