Low levels of electrolytes can lead to muscle cramps, weakness, and fatigue. Overall, the dehydrating effects of alcohol can vary widely depending on a range of factors. It is essential to be aware of these factors and take steps to mitigate the risks. The frequency and duration of drinking can also impact https://ecosoberhouse.com/ the dehydrating effects of alcohol. In this article, we will discuss the relationship between alcohol and dehydration, the negative effects of dehydration on the body, and practical tips for staying hydrated while consuming alcohol. Dehydration is the only one way alcohol can be harmful to your health.

  • She planned dry days based on her work and travel schedule, and would typically budget one cocktail or glass of wine on the days when she did drink.
  • Some cocktails can take a toll on your hydration because of additional ingredients.
  • This can be particularly problematic during hot weather or when engaging in physical activity.
  • Alcohol dehydration cures abound, but before you trust old wives’ tales or the hair of the dog, read on.
  • Drinks with a higher alcohol content — and therefore more potential to dry you out — include vodka, gin, rum, and whisky.

For this reason, a person should drink alcohol in moderation and avoid binge-drinking or chronic heavy drinking. Excessive urination from drinking alcohol causes your body to lose electrolytes, which are important minerals involved in many bodily functions, including nervous system function (4). Dry January is a 31-day challenge where participants elect to abstain from wine, beer, spirits and all other alcoholic drinks in January. Nonalcoholic beverages once meant soda, juice, bad beer, and mediocre wine, says Marshall. Now, it’s not just establishments like his that have raised the bar, but entire specialty stores selling botanicals and other nonalcoholic options of a much higher quality. While the CDC says men should limit their intake to two drinks a day – and women, one – recent studies, including a 2018 review published in The Lancet, suggest those limits should be lower.


If a person does not get enough hydration alongside their alcohol intake, the alcohol may cause dehydration. Generally, the higher the alcohol content of a beverage, the more dehydrating it can be. A small study in 10 people found that consuming 537 mg of caffeine, or about 6 cups of coffee, significantly increased urine production. Meanwhile, consuming 269 mg of caffeine, or about 3 cups of coffee, didn’t affect fluid balance (3, 4). A person who is already at risk of dehydration from one or more of the above factors should avoid or limit alcohol consumption. Is there anything you can do to offset or prevent problems caused by dehydration from drinking alcohol?

  • Dehydration may also impair blood sugar response in some, such as those with type 2 diabetes.
  • Alcohol also causes hormonal imbalances that negatively affect kidney function.
  • For many adults, the stress of the COVID-19 pandemic has affected how much and how often they drink alcohol.

These foods also benefit from being easy on the digestive system if a person is upset from drinking too much alcohol. Resident Emily Robinson paused her drinking to train for a half-marathon in 2011 turned into an official Alcohol Change UK campaign that has taken off. And across the pond in the U.S. have vowed to “stay dry” for January 2024. On the other hand, if you’re a light to moderate drinker and you’re healthy, you can probably continue to drink alcohol as long as you do so responsibly. That said, the best way to rehydrate after drinking alcohol is to stop drinking alcohol. It causes changes to blood pressure and impacts organs like the liver.

Alcohol is converted in the liver and begins acting as a diuretic

Urinating more frequently can lead to dehydration during and after a night of drinking. But the type of alcohol you choose affects how dehydrated you become. “The darker the beverage or higher the alcohol by volume (ABV) concentration, the more dehydrating it can be,” says New York City-based addiction specialist Aaron Sternlicht, LMHC, CASAC. It is important to note that having higher blood sugar from consuming very sugary drinks may encourage the body to eliminate the excess sugar but may not necessarily cause dehydration. A 2020 study notes that dehydration may increase glucagon, a hormone used to maintain glucose or sugar levels in the blood.

Experts believe that too much sugar may make dehydration and other symptoms worse. This is likely because of the interaction of sugar and water within the cells. Higher sugar intake causes the cells in the body to transfer more water and increase urination. Energy drinks may contain a combination of dehydrating ingredients.

Chief Medical Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

“It’s temporary abstinence, which has some short-term benefits for your health, but it also gives you more control over your drinking.” But for everyone else, the benefits of doing a sobriety challenge are well documented. In a series of studies, researchers found that people who participated in Dry January reported losing weight, sleeping better, saving money and having more energy and a better ability to concentrate. They reported feeling a sense of achievement and gaining better control of their drinking. However, this doesn’t mean those struggling with alcohol use can’t safely work to reduce their alcohol consumption this January. These individuals should speak to their doctor and other members of their care team to set in motion a safe, healthy plan for coming off alcohol.

If these detectors reckon that you are dehydrated, they send a signal to the posterior pituitary gland, which starts pumping out ADH. The job of ADH is to stop you urinating, so you hang on to your precious water. Some cocktails can take a toll on your hydration because of additional ingredients. “If you pair alcohol with another diuretic substance such as caffeine, you may naturally urinate more and become even more dehydrated,” Dr. Alexa Mieses Malchuk, M.D., a family physician, tells Bustle. So that espresso martini or Irish coffee might end up making you need the bathroom. “Alcohol inhibits the release of vasopressin, or ADH, the antidiuretic hormone,” says San Diego-based Taylor Graber, MD, a resident anesthesiologist at the University of California San Diego.

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Alcohol dehydration is a condition where the body loses significant amounts of water and essential electrolytes as a result of alcohol consumption. Symptoms of alcohol dehydration include headaches, fatigue, nausea, and an overall feeling of weakness. The overwhelming does alcohol dehydrate you amount of research on alcohol consumption shows that the harms can outweigh any benefits. Alcohol consumption has been linked to increased risk of chronic diseases such as cancer and heart disease. Alcohol can increase urine production, which can lead to dehydration.

is alcohol dehydrating

If your sweat output exceeds your fluid intake, you can become dehydrated. The rate people sweat and the composition of their sweat (how much sodium and other electrolytes) can vary widely. However, it may reduce your overall fluid intake throughout the day. When the body is dehydrated, the skin can become dry, flaky, and itchy.