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Does drinking beer really reduce Kidney stones?

While some believe that drinking beer can prevent or help pass kidney stones, medical experts disagree. There is no scientific evidence to support this idea. Kidney stones are primarily influenced by factors like low water intake, diet, genetics, medical conditions, and urinary tract infections. Excessive alcohol consumption, including beer, can lead to dehydration and other health issues.

Does drinking beer really reduce Kidney stones? vkp
First Published Sep 25, 2023, 5:51 PM IST

People often look for reasons to justify their drinking habits, especially when it comes to alcohol. Some claim that beer is good for your health, even going so far as to say it can prevent kidney stones. It's a widespread belief in India that if you have a kidney stone, drinking beer will help it pass. But is there any truth to this? Let's separate fact from fiction.

A recent survey revealed that every-third Indian believes that drinking beer can alleviate the problem of kidney stones. However, medical experts have a different take on this. According to a report by the American Addiction Center, there is no scientific evidence to support the idea that drinking beer reduces the risk of kidney stones or helps them pass.

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First, let's understand what kidney stones are. These are small, hard mineral and salt deposits that can form in your kidneys. They are typically made up of calcium, uric acid, or other compounds. Kidney stones can cause excruciating pain and discomfort, making people eager to find any solution to prevent or get rid of them.

Several factors contribute to the formation of kidney stones:

1. Low Water Intake: Not drinking enough water can lead to concentrated urine, increasing the risk of stone formation.

2. Diet: A diet high in salt, animal protein, and oxalate-rich foods can raise your risk of kidney stones.

3. Genetics: Kidney stones can run in families, so if someone in your family has had them, you might be more prone.

4. Medical Conditions: Certain health conditions like hypercalciuria, cystinuria, and hyperparathyroidism can also increase your risk.

5. Urinary Tract Infections: Specific types of bacteria can contribute to the formation of kidney stones.

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While some people believe that drinking beer can help prevent kidney stones, doctors disagree. While it's true that beer, like all forms of alcohol, is a diuretic (increasing urine production), this doesn't necessarily mean it's beneficial. Diuretics can help flush out stone-forming materials from the kidneys, but excessive alcohol consumption can lead to dehydration, which increases the risk of kidney stone formation.

Treatment for kidney stones: The size of the stone varies with time. When the size of the stone is big - medicines, treatment and surgery might be required. Moreover, excessive alcohol consumption, including beer, can lead to other health issues such as kidney problems, high blood pressure, and more.

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