5
$\begingroup$

It's well known that ethyl alcohol kills bacteria. And amount of alcohol in urine may be detected by EtG tests (as long as 3-4 days after intake).

Does drinking alcohol in reasonable amount by healthy individual (non alcoholic) having UTI helps to kill bacteria in the urinary tract (in order to get rid of them quicker)?

$\endgroup$
  • 7
    $\begingroup$ Nope, it does not. Alcohol is resorbed by the body and metablized. Additionally, to kill bacteria, you need 70% alcohol - which is a very bad idea to have this concentration in your body. $\endgroup$ – Chris Apr 26 '16 at 19:10
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Chris That looks like an answer disguised as a comment... $\endgroup$ – RHA Apr 26 '16 at 19:23
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @RHA At the moment it's a comment. It doesn't have any references or whatever, maybe I find some time later to write a real answer. In this case I will delete my comment. $\endgroup$ – Chris Apr 26 '16 at 19:25
2
$\begingroup$

Drinking alcohol does not seem to be effective treatment for urinary tract infections.

In this study, drinking 0.85 g ethanol/kg body weight (60 g ethanol or ~150 mL of 40% ABV spirit by a 70 kg person) resulted in 1 g of ethanol in the urine. 1 g of ethanol in 200 mL of urine = 0.5% alcohol.

According to CDC:

In the healthcare setting, “alcohol” refers to two water-soluble chemical compounds—ethyl alcohol and isopropyl alcohol...These alcohols are rapidly bactericidal rather than bacteriostatic against vegetative forms of bacteria; they also are tuberculocidal, fungicidal, and virucidal but do not destroy bacterial spores. Their cidal activity drops sharply when diluted below 50% concentration, and the optimum bactericidal concentration is 60%–90% solutions in water (volume/volume).

In this study, the minimal inhibitory concentrations (MIC) and antimicrobial effects of ethanol on Listeria monocytogenes in tryptic soy broth was determined. Ethanol at concentrations up to 1.25% did not inhibit growth, but growth was strongly inhibited in the presence of 5% ethanol.

According to BJPS, the minimal inhibitory concentration of ethanol is 4-9%.

A typical symptom of urinary tract infection is frequent and burning urination. Alcohol irritates the bladder, so it can make the symptoms worse (Mayo Clinic).

$\endgroup$
4
$\begingroup$

To begin answering your question,

Does drinking alcohol in reasonable amount by healthy individual (nonalcoholic) having UTI helps to kill bacteria in the urinary tract (in order to get rid of them quicker)?

We have to clarify that EtG detects ethyl glucuronide which is a byproduct of ethanol and remains in the urine for several day. The presence of ethyl alcohol in urine is significantly shorter somewhere between 8-12 hours (reference).

So what does this mean? Well, in order to "kill" the bacteria causing the UTI it must be exposed to a minimal inhibitory concentration of ethyl alcohol for a certain amount of time. Depending on the bacteria causing the infection this concentration and exposure time varies.

So if the concentration of ethyl alcohol was high enough and the flow of your urination and micturition long enough, maybe, but is unlikely to have much effect.

$\endgroup$
  • 5
    $\begingroup$ Good answer, but I would get rid of the last paragraph. The concentration of ethanol in urine is never going to be high enough to kill even a small percentage of bacteria present. In the United States, a person is legally drunk if their blood alcohol content (BAC) is between 0.08% and 0.1%, depending on the state. Even assuming that unmetabolized alcohol is concentrated 10-fold, and a person is very drunk with a BAC of 0.3%, 3% EtOH won't kill much of anything, especially if it's in a biofilm, as UTIs are. $\endgroup$ – MattDMo Apr 26 '16 at 21:08
  • $\begingroup$ @MattDMo i think this should be edited into the answer $\endgroup$ – aaaaaa Dec 10 '18 at 16:09

protected by Community Aug 10 at 4:55

Thank you for your interest in this question. Because it has attracted low-quality or spam answers that had to be removed, posting an answer now requires 10 reputation on this site (the association bonus does not count).

Would you like to answer one of these unanswered questions instead?

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.