Alcohol Does Dehydrate You Heres What to Do About It

Dehydration is also a big part of why you get a hangover after drinking too much. It’s hard to overestimate the importance of water to the body. Having the right balance of fluid in your system is essential for your body to carry out basic functions. When its processed by enzymes in the liver, alcohol is converted into a large amount of acetaldehyde. In order to break this substance down and remove it from the body, your liver does most of the work of turning it into acetate.

Participants who consumed over 500 milligrams (mg) of caffeine daily showed disruptions in fluid balance from the diuretic effects of coffee. Beer and cider have lower alcohol contents than other alcoholic drinks and are less dehydrating. The alcohol content of beer can vary widely but typically ranges from 2–8% alcohol by volume (ABV).

How much alcohol does it take to dehydrate you?

She suggests keeping a reusable water bottle handy so you can grab sips between beers or margaritas and refill it as the day goes on. Another option is to buy 8-ounce bottles of water and alternate them with your adult beverages. Additionally, many teas may also contain high levels of sugar from sweetened milk, sugars, or syrups, which may not be the most hydrating for quenching thirst.

According to Dr. Gabel, the “eight glasses a day” advice is a bit of a myth. While stretching regularly is crucial for staying mobile, it’s not the only way to keep our muscles feeling good. “[Muscle cramps] can occur from electrolyte imbalances caused by sweating in heat or vomiting/diarrhea during an illness,” Dr. Gabel says. Drinking more water will usually solve this problem, she says, but an electrolyte beverage might also be needed.


Your urine may be sweet smelling and it may be accompanied by weight loss. Instead of drinking large quantities of water all at once, you may want to sip on fluids throughout the day as it may be easier for your body to handle. So, you’ve been trying to drink more water, but you’re still feeling dehydrated.

does alcohol cause dehydration

For example, research from 2017 found that in elderly men at risk of dehydration, moderate consumption of high alcoholic beverages such as wine and liquor caused a diuretic effect. Beverages with lower alcohol content, such as beer, did not appear to have this effect. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, alcohol can suppress the release of the hormone does alcohol dehydrate you vasopressin, which acts to hold onto water in the body. That’s why the phrase “break the seal” exists, because alcohol causes the urine floodgates to open, and it seems like much of your night out is spent in the restroom. And if you’re feeling that pounding headache, excessive thirst or sluggishness the following day, these are common hangover symptoms that indicate dehydration.

Side Effects Of Alcohol-Related Dehydration

But even today we still don’t fully understand how alcohol causes this excessive urination. You absolutely should drink plenty of water while drinking. Your prognosis will be impacted by the severity of your alcohol use and whether or not you have liver disease. Prolonged used of alcohol can result in cirrhosis, or permanent scarring of the liver.

  • You can usually reverse mild to moderate dehydration by drinking more fluids, but severe dehydration needs immediate medical treatment.
  • Moderating your intake of the beverages listed above and drinking plenty of water can help prevent dehydration.
  • Here’s what you need to know about how alcohol dehydrates the body and how to drink responsibly.
  • “Diabetes is a condition characterized by high blood sugar levels due to the body’s inability to produce or properly use insulin,” says Parnacott.
  • By drinking more fluids, you can typically treat any bout of mild hydration.
  • Hangovers are usually caused by drinking too much in a short period of time.

Drinks like coffee, sodas with caffeine — and even alcohol — can have a diuretic effect, meaning they can cause you to urinate or pee more, which can then further dehydrate you. While it’s tempting to slurp down that iced mocha and think you’re properly hydrated, it’s not that easy. Sports drinks or other rehydration solutions can help restore electrolyte losses from sweating. However, the amount you drink may make a difference, and some beverages may affect the perception of thirst differently.


Alcohol is a diuretic and can therefore cause dehydration. 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. Studies also show that alcohol causes dehydration because of its diuretic properties.

However, for skin conditions related to AUD, liver disease, or excessive alcohol consumption, the best preventive measure is to stop drinking alcohol. To combat the short-term effects of alcohol on the skin, a person can drink water to stay hydrated while consuming alcohol. Yes, you can prevent dehydration by keeping track of how much fluid you drink. One way to make sure you’re properly hydrated is to check your pee. Drinking beer, a glass of wine, or other types of alcohol introduces a substance into the body that causes certain reactions.

Other stories about alcohol & dehydration

Diuretics cause the kidneys and bladder to release more water. When alcohol is consumed it soaks up some of the water that the body needs.This means that the water needs to be replenished so that a person does not become dehydrated. When alcohol is abused it can become hard to recharge the body, which could lead to hospitalization. So, what can you do to avoid dehydration troubles when you’re sipping your favorite boozy beverage by the pool? Dehydration can also compound certain aspects of intoxication.

  • “Essentially, when you’re dehydrated, you’ll feel alcohol’s effects sooner and for longer,” Pfau says.
  • You’ll hang on to only about half or a third of the extra water you drink.
  • Dealing with a virus can also cause you to feel dehydrated.
  • What’s the first piece of advice you heard when you started drinking alcohol?

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). Alcohol in the form of ethanol, also called ethyl alcohol, is in alcoholic beverages. It’s also in mouthwash, some cooking extracts, some medicines and certain household products. Ethyl alcohol poisoning generally results from drinking too many alcoholic beverages in a short period of time.

But the results of not getting help in time can be far more serious. If you think that someone has alcohol poisoning, seek medical care right away. If you think that someone has alcohol poisoning, get medical attention right away. Drink plenty of plain water, an electrolyte drink or sports drink, and eat water-rich, easily digestible foods. Alcohol suppresses the hormone vasopressin, which governs how much you urinate. These foods also have the bonus of being easy on the digestive system if yours is upset from drinking too much alcohol.

This ADH works with your kidneys to keep your body fluids balanced. Dehydration can prevent your body from regulating your blood sugar (or glucose) as effectively, meaning it can’t release that glucose to give your body energy, according to Dr. Pulde. “As a result, sugar cravings are increased in an effort to provide you with a quick energy boost,” she says. Research from 2017 indicates that low levels of caffeine ingestion do not cause dehydration.






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