How long Does Alcohol Stay in Your Urine? Surprise!

how long does alcohol stay in your urine

Factors, such as your age, gender, weight, health, the type and the amount of alcohol consumed, and whether you drink on an empty or full stomach determine how long alcohol stays in your urine. However, alcohol’s detection time frame in the urine ranges between 12 hours to three days after your last drink.

Urine testing can detect ethanol, alcohol and other alcohol byproducts. The urine tests can detect alcohol in your body long after consumption.

How the Body Eliminates Alcohol

Over 90% of the alcohol you drink moves to the liver where it’s broken down into acetaldehyde. Acetaldehyde is then broken down into acetate, which is later converted into carbon dioxide and water.  But, if you drink more alcohol than the liver can sufficiently process within an hour, your blood holds the alcohol, and this is called blood alcohol concentration (BAC). The other 10% leaves the body via sweat, urine, and lungs.

Drinking too much alcohol can damage the liver and it can cause alcohol addiction. Alcohol addiction can cause alcohol withdrawal symptoms. You can experience alcohol withdrawal symptoms during detox or tweaking.

Detecting Alcohol in Urine

However, it’s only about 2% of the alcohol you drink that’s removed as urine. Urine tests can detect the ethanol in your urine an hour after drinking alcohol. Ethanol’s detection window lasts for up to 12 hours after consuming alcohol. However, is alcohol a stimulant or a depressant?

Factors That Influence Alcohol’s Detection Window

Gender, body fact, and menstruation

Since women have less body water, and more body fat compared to men, they reach higher intoxication levels even when drinking the same amount of alcohol.  Also, women get more intoxicated if they drink just before their period; this is because hormones affect a person’s BAC. However, alcohol leaves women’s blood faster than men.

For pregnant women, drinking alcohol can be dangerous. This article can help you learn more about pregnancy test tweaking.


Because of age-related changes, such as slow metabolism, decrease in water weight, and loss of muscle tissue older people get intoxicated faster than young people.

Alcohol consumed

The body absorbs drinks with high alcohol concentration, such as spirits faster; this leads to higher intoxication levels. Also, mixing alcohol with metronidazole is dangerous.

Empty or full stomach

Drinking on a full stomach slows alcohol effects. Eating foods rich in proteins slows down alcohol absorption and intoxication levels.

Individual alcohol tolerance

A person’s genetics affect how quickly their body processes and excretes alcohol.

Physical or mental health

Alcohol and depression or anxiety don’t mix well. The body’s stressful state may affect the way and rate at which the body processes alcohol by causing a change in the stomach’s enzymes.

Is Urine Testing Accurate in Testing for Alcohol?

Because alcohol detection window in the urine can last for up to 48 hours after consumption, then urine testing is an accurate indicator of a person’s alcohol consumption.

However, the alcohol content in urine is 1.33 times higher than in the bloodstream. So, this can result in inaccurate test results that show someone drank more alcohol than what they consumed. For accurate results, you should collect at least two urine samples 30 minutes to one hours apart.

Alcohol Byproducts Stay in Urine Longer

Alcohol has a short detection window of less than a day. However, alcohol byproducts, including ethyl glucuronide (EtG) can be detected in a person’s urine three days after alcohol consumption.

Other lab tests test the urine for ethyl sulfate (EtS), a metabolic substance signals recent alcohol consumption.

While these tests are often more reliable than traditional testing, they aren’t used in place for traditional testing. This is because they’re expensive and they can’t determine the amount of alcohol consumed.

False Positives

In 2007, the Alcohol and Alcoholism journal published a study that shows ethyl glucuronide (EtG) tests don’t detect alcohol 26 hours after consumption. Thus, EtG and EtS urine tests sometimes yield false positives when screening for alcohol abstinence timeline, which can negatively impact a person.

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