How Long Does Alcohol Stay in Your Urine: Complete Analysis

Alcohol in Your Urine

Wondering how long alcohol stays in your urine? If you’re about to take a drug test, it may be crucial to know how long alcohol can be detected in your urine and how to obtain negative results.

Alcohol detection in your urine depends on the type of test used. Through the traditional method, it can be detected for up to 12 hours after consumption. However, more advanced techniques, such as the use of ethyl glucuronide (ETG test), will detect alcohol up to five days after consumption.

Does Alcohol Show Up in a Drug Test?

To clear the air, standard drug tests do not include alcohol, so you need not worry about it if you’re going to take a drug test. However, an employer or whoever needs it could decide to include it for their own convenience.

Factors that Affect Alcohol Detection

There are several factors that determine how alcohol is absorbed in the body. These factors further influence how it is processed and determine how long alcohol can be detected in urine. They include the following:


Young people tend to get intoxicated slower than older people. This is due to age-related changes that develop as a person grows old. With age comes slower body metabolic rates, loss of weight, and significant loss of muscle tissues. This means alcohol is retained in the liver longer in older people than in younger ones. Consequently, detection in urine is more likely in older people.


The dehydrogenase enzyme that breaks down alcohol in the stomach is more abundant in men than in women. Furthermore, women have less water weight and more body fat. Such factors affect the body’s BAC. This means that women get intoxicated faster than men.


Period hormones also contribute to faster intoxication in women. Consequently, a man’s body can dilute alcohol better than a woman’s, even though all other factors, such as height and weight, are the same. However, extensive studies have established that women eliminate alcohol from their bodies faster than men

Type of Alcohol

The type of alcohol you consume will also determine the level in your urine. High alcohol concentration drinks such as wines and spirits are absorbed faster into the body and produce higher intoxication levels. This means the type of alcohol content you consume directly dictates the amount of alcohol found in your urine.


Having food in your stomach before drinking alcohol has a significant effect on how fast it will be absorbed into the body. Drinking on an empty stomach quickens intoxication levels because he or she is more likely to reach BAC peak faster than a person drinking on a full stomach.

Food comes in handy to help dilute the alcohol and slow deposition into the small intestines for absorption. Furthermore, eating as you drink activates enzyme action in the liver, leading to slow absorption. Food with higher protein content is the best to slow down alcohol absorption.

Personal Alcohol Tolerance

A person’s genes can also influence alcohol absorption rates in the body. If certain body enzymes such as ALDH and ADH are not working efficiently in a person’s body, it means alcohol processing will not be normal.

Such individuals are bound to experience an unwarranted rise of acetaldehyde should they consume alcohol. This causes unappealing side effects such as reddening of the skin, dizziness, flushed face, heart palpitations, and vomiting. Alcohol levels are also likely to be very high in their urine.

Overall Body Health Status

Unknown to many, anxiety, depression, and alcohol aren’t a good combination. A small amount of alcohol might seem to calm nerves, but the intake of large amounts is bound to make the situation even worse.

Anxiety or depression changes the absorption rate by altering regular enzyme release in the stomach. Moreover, underlying body conditions such as diabetes, kidney issues, heart issues, and liver damage can slow down absorption rates.

Body Size

The size of your body can also determine how fast alcohol is processed in the body. High-water muscle tissues absorb alcohol faster than low-water fatty tissues; hence, people with more body fat have higher BAC levels.


Intake of alcohol alongside certain medications can alter normal body metabolisms. This may change the absorption rates. Some may slow down deposition into the small intestines and liver and increase absorption rates. Such medications include the following:

• Cold medicines

• Diabetes medicine i.e. Chlorpropamide

• ADGD medications, i.e., Adderall

• Anti-anxiety drugs i.e. Xanax

How to Flush Alcohol Out of Your System for a Urine Test

Urine Test

Flushing alcohol out of your system to test negative for a urine test is quite an engaging endeavor that demands high levels of commitment. You have to take drastic measures to completely detoxify and clean up your body of traces of unwarranted levels of alcohol. Some of the recommended drills that can help you could include the following:

Quit Alcohol

Of course, no matter what measures you adopt, it will all be in vain if you continue taking alcohol. You have to quit intake to give your body enough time to detoxify accordingly.

Sleep Well

Having quality sleep over the recommended eight-hour period comes in handy to help your detoxifying efforts. Sleep not only helps the brain to recharge but also gives the body ample time to rid of accumulated toxins on its own. Consequently, the body can dispose of any accumulated alcohol toxins from the body.

Drink Plenty of Water

Alcohol is a diuretic; hence, it dehydrates your body. Drinking plenty of water comes in handy to help hydrate your body accordingly. Even better, water helps to remove toxins from the body. It further counters the diuretic aspect of alcohol and flushes it out of your system.

Speed up Your Body’s Metabolisms

Speeding up your body’s metabolic rates can also help eliminate unwarranted alcohol levels from your body. Be active or engage in exercise to quicken metabolic rates. This can even help get rid of any alcohol that is yet to reach your intestines for absorption.

Electrolyte Intake

Alcohol tends to dehydrate the body, therefore compromising the detoxification process. Taking electrolytes helps your body stay hydrated by retaining water. You should take coconut water, Gatorade, or anything with high sodium or Potassium content. The more water in your body, the more you can dilute alcohol.

What Can Cause a False Positive for Alcohol in a Urine Test?

Positive Alcohol in a Urine Test

It is possible to test positive for alcohol in a urine test, even without a recent consumption history. Several cases, such as the following, attribute to this situation.

Post Collection Fermentation

If left at room temperature for an extended period, the EtG urine test may show fermentation in samples, primarily within a day or more, potentially resulting in the presence of ethanol, which bacteria subsequently convert to EtG in the presence of glucose excreted by naturally occurring yeast in the body. This unwarranted case is common with diabetic individuals who are likely to have more glucose levels in their urine.

Incidental Exposure to Components with Alcohol Content

Exposure to some components may also compromise the EtG urine test and provide false-positive results. Exposure to the following components may alter the results of the test:

• Breath sprays

• Aftershave

• Cosmetics

• Cleaning agents

• Hair dye


• Sanitizers

• Alcohol-flavored foods

• Electronic cigarettes

• Grape juice

• Baker’s yeast

Heavy consumption of non-alcoholic and fermented drinks is also not entirely safe if you are going to take an alcohol test because they contain some levels of ethanol, which might compromise your urine test results.

• Alcohol Containing Medications

When you decide to take a drug test, make sure you let the clinician know if you are currently under any medication. There are some medications with high levels of alcohol that cause you to test positive.

Whether you are under prescription or using off-the-counter medications, be keen to inquire about your alcohol content levels before going for an alcohol test. Some of the medications are likely to have compromising alcohol contents, such as:

• Allergy medications

• Tinctures

• Cough and cold syrups

• Anti-diarrheas meds

• Laxatives

• Cold sore meds

• Toothache Meds

• Canker sore meds

• Auto-brewery Syndrome

Clinicians carrying out alcohol tests should also not rule out the chances of an individual having auto-brewery syndrome. This condition causes patients to naturally produce large amounts of ethanol.

Consequently, high amounts of ethanol may falsify results even though the victim is not an alcoholic or has not recently drunk alcohol. The clinician should be aware of related symptoms such as severe bowel dysfunction.

Ralph Gary
Ralph is a passionate author at, a leading drug education website. With a background in public health, he combines research and empathy to create informative content that empowers readers with knowledge on substance abuse. Ralph's mission is to foster a safer and healthier community through education.


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