We’re sure you’ve noticed that alcohol consumption makes you pee. Alcohol is a natural diuretic that draws fluid out of your body, expelling it through your kidneys and bladder more rapidly than usual. It does this by inhibiting your antidiuretic hormone — a hormone that’s used by the body to protect against dehydration. This hormone encourages your body to collect concentrated fluid in the kidneys and bladder, before peeing it out.
Dehydration is when the body does not have sufficient amounts of fluid to function effectively. This happens when a person loses more fluids than they take in. Certain regions of the brain are particularly vulnerable does alcohol dehydrate you to the effects of alcohol. While the practice of drinking plenty of water alongside alcohol can help dilute its dehydrating impact, this effort can often feel like trying to fill a leaking vessel.
Factors that Increase Alcohol-Related Dehydration
If you don’t drink enough water with alcohol, you can become dehydrated quickly. Chronic heavy drinking can result in high blood pressure, which is a leading cause of kidney disease. It can also weaken immunity, increasing a person’s risk of infections. These are substances that promote urine production, or diuresis. At this point, you still have a high level of alcohol in your blood. As your body processes the alcohol, and the night goes on, alcohol actually disrupts your sleep.
- This image is not so far off from the exact biochemical process that occurs when alcohol enters our system.
- Sleep gives your body a chance to heal and let your immune system work.
- You may start to see symptoms of dehydration improve in five to 10 minutes.
- There’s less air pressure, so alcohol enters your bloodstream even more rapidly.
- Drinks containing high amounts of alcohol, caffeine, and sugar are most likely to perform as diuretics in the body and promote dehydration.
- It causes changes to blood pressure and impacts organs like the liver.
- But a lot of times, you may think you’re getting enough water each day.
Alcohols like whiskey and brandy have high levels of congeners, including tannins and acetaldehyde. These might lead to dehydration more quickly, according to a 2010 study  . A vodka with soda is likely more hydrating than just a shot of vodka because you’re consuming more fluids from the soda. But prolific pee production isn’t the only way alcohol dehydrates you. Alcohol delays stomach emptying, which can cause vomiting, a sure way to become dehydrated .
Symptoms of Dehydration
Sipping on one whisky all evening will likely mean you ingest less alcohol overall than three or four standard glasses of wine. Diluting a vodka with soda will also mean it’s more hydrating overall, though it’ll still have diuretic effects. Drinking a lot of low-alcohol drinks can also add up to a very thirsty evening, https://ecosoberhouse.com/ though. One standard drink, according to American Addiction Centers, should contain around 0.6 ounces of pure alcohol. The research shows, essentially, that drinking an initial amount of alcohol will cause more urine output than drinking the same initial amount of water (or other non-alcoholic liquid).
But while we know these lucky people exist, scientists have no idea why this is the case, nor can they find any appreciable difference between these people and the general population. Perhaps you dehydrated yourself while exercising or spending all day in the hot sun. Here we see a single drink administered, followed by a single spike in blood alcohol (the solid line), and a single spike in urine flow (the black bars).
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)
Understanding the implications of alcohol on our bodies is as essential as understanding the maps of our existence. The rivers that flow within us, veins and arteries, are the life-giving channels that nourish our cells. A disturbance to this equilibrium, such as alcohol-induced dehydration, is a disruption of the fine-tuned harmony of life. Remember, alcohol dehydration has both acute and chronic effects. Dehydration can also impact heart function, increasing the risk of heart attack or stroke, especially in people with pre-existing heart conditions.