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Alcohol and Kidney Stones – A Good Combination?

· 1 Comment · Kidney Stone Management

We often wonder at the relationship between alcohol and kidney stones. We tend to associate alcohol as something bad for our kidney stones; hence, they do not compensate each other.

Let us first identify what kidney stones are all about. A kidney stone arises when the urine becomes so concentrated due to some chemical reactions in the body and the combination of certain substances resulting to the formation of an object that is large enough to pass in the urine.

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Kidney stone is crystallized uric acid, calcium oxalate, calcium and ammonium phosphate, cystine, magnesium, lysine, calcium carbonate, arginine and ornithine in the urine that forms into hard mineral deposits. These substances are often removed in the flow of urine.

However, when they stick together, they grow in size.  They will attach to the lining of the kidney where the flow of urine will not carry them away. They can grow from the size of a grain of sand or to the size of a golf ball.

Most of the crystallized stones start from the kidney. In some cases,  they travel to  the ureter and  bladder, and develop there. The ureter is a tube linking the kidney to the bladder.

The regular types of kidney stones are:

1. Calcium stones – Formed due to calcium build-up in combination with oxalate, carbonate or phosphate accounting for 75 to 85 percent of all kidney stones.

2. Uric Acid stones – This is due to uric acid build-up and account for 5 to 10 percent of kidney stones. Men are prone to this type of kidney stone.

3. Struvite stones – Linked to severe urinary tract infection of women where they account for 10 to 15 percent. They are the product of the combination of magnesium, calcium and ammonium phosphate.

4. Cystine stones – The mixture of cystine with ornithine, lysine and arginine which gives rise to cystine stones. They account for 1 percent of kidney stones from people suffering from inadequate reabsorption of certain amino acids in the kidney tubules called cystinuria.

In considering all angles, the exact cause of kidney stones is still undeterminable. It mat be due to age, gender, diet, hereditary factor, persistent urinary tract infection, low consumption of water, kidney disorder, genetic disorder, excess consumption of vitamins A and D, diuretics, bed confinement and alcohol.

What about alcohol then? In the extensive research made by the U.S. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) about moderate consumption of alcohol, beer was noted to lower the risk of having kidney stones.

In general, beer should be taken moderately. Nevertheless, they tend to increase uric acid level leading to gout which has a corollary effect in the development of kidney stones, if taken extremely. Further, alcohol limits the effective function of the kidneys.

On the good side, alcohol cleanses the kidneys if taken reasonably.

Henceforth, alcohol and kidney stones may be a good combination after all if the former is taken in moderation. In all cases, it is better to consult your doctor for proper medical advice.

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