While moderate alcohol is not harmful – in fact it has shown to have a number of health benefits – excessive drinking (more than four drinks a day) can affect your urologic health in a number of ways. Let’s take a look how.
One of the biggest impacts alcohol can have on your urologic system is the way it affects your kidneys. Regular binge drinking has been found to double the risk chronic kidney disease (which is exacerbated even further if you’re a smoker).
The kidneys’ job is to filter out toxins and other harmful substances from your blood. Alcohol consumption affects the way your kidneys function, meaning they will never be at peak performance. Alcohol also affects the ways the kidneys regulate fluid and electrolytes in the body and causes dehydration, which can increase the chance of kidney stones forming.
There are a number of reasons why a man may be unable to achieve an erection or maintain an erection long enough to reach climax, and one of these can be excessive alcohol consumption. Alcohol is a depressant and can block nerve impulses and messages between the brain and penis. It also affects blood pressure and the function of the mechanisms that cause an erection. This can affect erectile function in the short term. In the long term, excessive alcohol consumption can damage the blood vessels in the penis, cause hypertension and heart disease, all of which can cause erectile dysfunction.
Heavy drinking has also been linked with bladder issues. Alcohol is an extremely potent bladder irritant. It is also a diuretic, which will make you need to urinate more frequently than usual. Excessive consumption can contribute the occurrence of everything from urinary tract infections to weak bladder syndrome and urinary incontinence. And if you already suffer from any of these conditions, it is recommended that you limit alcohol consumption as much as possible.
Aside from the bladder and kidneys, alcohol consumption can also have an impact on the prostate. Firstly, excessive drinking affects the bladder, which can in turn irritate the prostate. It can also contribute to prostate enlargement – benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). Although more research is needed into why this is, it is thought to have something to do with the hormonal correlates of heavy alcohol drinkers, for example, lower androgen levels. If you suffer from symptoms of BPH, it is encouraged that you limit alcohol consumption.
If you have any further questions about urological cancers and would like to book an appointment, please feel free to call.
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