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Why Does Alcohol Make you pee so Much?!

Are you quenching your thirst with dehydration?

Alcohol and Hydration

You may have heard someone mention that they do not want to ‘break the seal’ when drinking alcohol. Have you asked yourself why though? The hormone responsible for this theory is anti-diuretic hormone, or ADH.

What is anti-diuretic hormone?

ADH (also known as Vasopressin or arginine vasopressin (AVP)) is a hormone made by special nerve cells found in an area of the brain known as the hypothalamus. Before the hormone is released into your blood stream, it first is brought to the pituitary gland. The hormone controls the body’s osmotic balance, blood pressure regulation, and kidney function.

What does ADH do?

ADH acts to conserve the volume of bodily fluid by reducing the amount of water that is passed out in urine. This hormone specifically helps to control a person’s blood pressure by acting on the kidneys and the blood vessels in the body. ADH will allow water in the urine to be taken back into the body in a specific area of the kidney, allowing water to return to the bloodstream, urine concentration is increased, and the amount of water loss is reduced. That is why it is important to observe the color of your urine. A dark yellow colored urine, or concentrated urine, is indicative of water being conserved within the body.

ADH usually binds to receptors on the kidneys and promotes water reabsorption. When this occurs there is a decrease in the volume of urine sent to the bladder, and excretion of urine is more concentrated. Alcohol prevents the release of anti-diuretic hormone, which causes an increase in urine production and dehydration.

A lack of bodily fluids can lead to dehydration that can only be restored with increase water intake. Getting into some technical kidney anatomy, when present, ADH induces the actions of water transport proteins in the late distal tubule and collecting duct located in the kidney. This increases water reabsorption. Several disease states can occur when the body loses control of ADH secretion or responds to its presence.

How does this correspond to hydration and this so called ‘breaking the seal’ concern?

The release of anti-diuretic hormone from the pituitary gland into the bloodstream is controlled by a number of factors

1. A decrease in blood volume or low blood pressure

2. concentration of salts in the bloodstream increases, an example of this can be the result of not drinking enough water on a hot day. This is detected by special cells in the hypothalamus which stimulate anti-diuretic hormone release from the pituitary. Anti-diuretic hormone (ADH) is also released by thirst, nausea, vomiting and pain, and acts to keep up the volume of fluid in the bloodstream at times of stress or injury.

What happens if I have too much anti-diuretic hormone?

When ADH levels are high, it will cause blood vessels to constrict and this will in turn increase blood pressure. High levels of anti-diuretic hormone cause the kidneys to retain water in the body. With excessive water retention, the blood will be diluted, having low salt concentration.

What happens if I have too little anti-diuretic hormone?

When there are low levels of anti-diuretic hormone, it will cause the kidneys to excrete too much water from the body. Urine volume will increase leading to dehydration and a fall in blood pressure.

Although there are certain conditions that cause low levels of anti-diuretic hormone, these low levels may be indicative of excessive water drinking. This level of water intake can be the reason why you experience clear urine when your body is overly hydrated and your body is eliminating the excess water that body does not need to hold on to.

What is breaking the seal?

Now that you know what ADH is and what it does, now you can understand the impact of alcohol inhibiting its effects. Alcohol inhibits ADH, and therefore, its ability to conserve water in the body by reducing its loss in urine will be impaired.

Alcohol blocks certain nerve channels that help get ADH secreting out into your system. Because water will not be conserved in response to ADH, your kidneys will not reabsorb water as easily and excess water winds up getting dumped into urine to leave the body.

So the moral of the story is that when you’re enjoying your alcoholic beverages, you will produce a lot more water-diluted urine, which will fill the bladder quickly, causing you to urinate more frequently.

Therefore, although there is no seal to be broken, now you may have a little bit of an understanding of what really goes on in the inside when you are taking in alcohol that then inhibits your ADH.

Drinking alcohol can increase the frequency of urination for several reasons:

  1. Diuretic Effect: Alcohol is a diuretic, which means it promotes urine production by inhibiting the release of a hormone called vasopressin (or antidiuretic hormone, ADH). Vasopressin normally helps the kidneys reabsorb water and reduce urine production. When you consume alcohol, it suppresses the release of vasopressin, leading to increased urine output and dehydration.

  2. Increased Blood Flow: Alcohol consumption can cause blood vessels to expand, resulting in increased blood flow to the kidneys. This increased blood flow can stimulate the kidneys to filter more blood and produce more urine.

  3. Irritation of the Bladder: Alcohol can irritate the lining of the urinary tract, including the bladder. This irritation can lead to a sense of urgency and a need to urinate more frequently.

  4. Hydration Status: Alcohol can also lead to dehydration because it can cause you to lose more fluids through urine and sweat. Dehydration can stimulate the body to conserve water by producing less urine, but initially, it may lead to increased urine output as the body attempts to eliminate the byproducts of alcohol metabolism.

  5. Reduced Antidiuretic Hormone (ADH) Release: Alcohol can reduce the secretion of ADH from the pituitary gland. ADH normally helps the kidneys reabsorb water and concentrate urine, so a decrease in ADH levels results in more dilute urine and increased urination.

  6. Bladder Overactivity: Alcohol can affect the muscles of the bladder, potentially leading to overactivity and more frequent urination.

It's important to note that the degree to which alcohol affects urination can vary from person to person. Factors such as the type and amount of alcohol consumed, individual tolerance, and overall hydration status can influence how alcohol impacts urination.

Excessive alcohol consumption can lead to more pronounced diuretic effects, dehydration, and electrolyte imbalances, which can have negative health consequences. To mitigate the effects of alcohol on urination and overall health, it's advisable to consume alcohol in moderation and to stay hydrated by drinking water along with alcoholic beverages. If you have concerns about alcohol consumption and its impact on your health, it's best to consult with a healthcare professional.

Final thoughts: :

Do you believe the 'break the seal' myth, or is it debunked now?

Stay hydrated my friends


The information that is provided on Its all Wellative is solely serving an educational purpose, and is not intended to substitute medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please always consult a licensed medical professional before altering your diet and/or lifestyle in anyway.

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