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Alcohol in Urine Test

How long does alcohol stay in your urine system?

Alcohol stay in your urine system
Consuming alcohol is perfectly acceptable in moderation and can even come with a number of health benefits. Alcohol becomes a problem however when you begin consuming it in a heavy amount and preferred to be under the influence of alcohol. Heavy drinking can be very harmful to your health and in some cases if you are trying to recover from alcohol addiction or you are regularly monitored for alcohol consumption at work, you could be responsible for taking urine tests regularly.

With alcohol being a relatively large part of society and social functions,

it can be tough to know how long alcohol stays in your system and what you can do if you have had several alcoholic beverages and you may need to pass a urine test.

What happens when alcohol enters your system?

Shortly after consuming alcoholic beverages alcohol will begin to enter your bloodstream as well as for made in other parts of your body. Alcohol needs to be properly metabolized and only 20% of the alcohol that you consume is actually expelled through your urine, sweat or breath. It is the metabolizing process that actually takes the most amount of time and that insurers that alcohol can sometimes be detected in your urine for 80 hours after you have had your last drink.

You may consider yourself to be fine to drive even after one drink, but depending on the type of drink that you had as well as several other conditions it’s possible that you could be at fault for an accident or potentially endanger the lives of others by driving after one drink or a very moderate amount of alcohol. If you feel inhibited by alcohol at all, you should not drive.

If you’ve consumed alcohol in the past 24 hours it’s extremely important that you know how long it takes alcohol to clear your system. Knowing how long alcohol stays in your urine as well as in your bloodstream could help you to avoid a serious conviction if you have been involved in a criminal case or if you need to be tested by an employer/probation officer.

There are many factors that go into the process of analyzing alcohol metabolism. Everyone will process alcohol differently than another person and some of the main factors can include the type of drink that you are consuming, how much alcohol you’ve had, the food that was in your system as you were drinking alcohol, your age, your genetics, your gender, how healthy you are with metabolism and more.

Through urinalysis and a chemical test it’s possible to examine a urine sample and detect metabolites that are produced in urine as a result of metabolizing alcoholic beverages. In most cases for criminal case urine testing takes place within a 24-hour period which can almost certainly detect the presence of alcohol in someone’s urine. For later tests, the most advanced urinalysis today can detect urine in some cases up to 80 hours after a person has consumed alcohol.

The science in urinalysis

If you have ever wondered what happens after you start to drink alcohol and how your body is affected the processes below will start to explain how your body metabolizes alcohol and how the metabolites can be found in urinalysis:

  • Once alcohol is consumed it will immediately start to penetrate the Epithelial layer of your skin. Found in this layer of skin are capillaries that can create changes within our bodies including with the nervous system. If the nervous system is impaired this often produces blurred vision, speech, dizziness and more.
  • The vast majority of alcohol that is ingested actually sits in the small intestine on words broken down by the rest of the body. If alcohol moves to the small intestine it will take around 20 min. before you start to feel the effects depending on the type of food you have had, the speed of your metabolism and several other factors.
  • Around 15 to 20% of the alcohol that you ingested will remain in your stomach without being broken down by your metabolism. This portion of alcohol is expelled through your breath, sweat as well as in urine. Early urinalysis would detect the ethanol in this expelled urine but this is only detectable for a few short hours after alcohol is ingested.
  • Your blood-alcohol content can actually continue rising after you have finished your last alcoholic beverage. This means that if you have had several drinks over the course of 3 to 4 hours, your blood-alcohol level can continue rising for 20 min. to an hour after you have stopped consuming alcoholic beverages.

When does alcohol start processing through the body?

As soon as you consume alcohol around 5% of what you are consuming will reach to the kidneys. Kidneys can then begin to secrete ethanol in the urine which is one of the earliest detectable signs alcohol was consumed. Vasopressin will also be triggered and this is a hormone that can change the secretion of all of your bodily fluids. With this hormone inhibited this will speed up your urination process and this generally means that with heavy drinking you may feel the urge to urinate every 20 to 25 min..

When the alcohol is processed through the small intestine and it reaches the bloodstream you’ll start to feel the effects of intoxication. As you continue to drink this can maximize your blood-alcohol level over time. Your liver can only process so much alcohol at a time and generally if you consume one drink per hour, your liver will only be able to process around half of the alcohol in the standard size drink. This is also assuming that your liver is not impeded in any way by medication, sickness or a previous condition.

The way that we process alcohol in the urine:

There are several factors that can change the total amount of alcohol that can be discovered in your urine. Some of the main factors can include:

  • Your genetics: there are two main enzymes that can be detectable in genetics for those that have a particular talent with breaking down alcohol in the blood. If you have the genetics for this, it is possible that you could also be in a risk group for alcohol abuse.
  • Metabolism: by keeping yourself healthy with regular exercise and eating right, you can often metabolize alcohol a little bit faster. Individuals that have an excellent metabolism can generally process alcohol at a faster rate.
  • Food: consuming food while you were drinking as well as before drinking will help to make sure that food needs to be processed before alcohol. This can slow down the process of alcohol entering into your bloodstream as well as prolong the amount of time that alcohol remains in your body for a urine test. Usually with food however a person can be less inhibited by controlling their BAC.
  • Gender: If the same man at 160 pounds had a pint of beer within an hour, under all the same conditions, a woman of the same weight would have a higher BAC. The same goes for the detectable amount of metabolites in the urine later on. Men have more of an enzyme called hydrongenase which can begin to break down the molecules in alcohol as soon as it is ingested. Women have also been shown to experience higher levels of BAC even when drinking the same amount when they are close to menstruation.
  • Sickness: various viruses and diseases can sometimes inhibit liver function or change the way that the body processes alcohol. Certain medications can also change the way that alcohol is broken down or increase blood-alcohol level. This is especially a factor with blood thinners.

Why is alcohol level tested in urine?

Testing takes place in many rehabilitation programs because abstinence in these programs is required for continuation.

Alcohol testing is also considered as part of some probation plans to prevent alcohol abuse reoccurrence.

Several companies impose drug testing but also check into alcohol in the urine for employees that are suspected of alcoholism in the workplace. The alcohol level in the urine should be within normal limits during workplace testing.

BAC (Blood alcohol concentration):

Blood-alcohol concentration is not something that’s detectable via a urine test. In many cases blood testing is completed for legal reasons what a person is under the influence of alcohol. Measuring blood and alcohol concentration can help to see if a person is legally impaired for a court case or conviction or for safety reasons.

In the most basic of terms blood-alcohol concentration ranges from .0 – .45. A person who is tested at .45 often has taken a lethal dose of alcohol.

Alcohol urine tests:

Urine testing isn’t particularly useful for determining if there is alcohol in someone’s system immediately. Even a simple ethanol urine test can take at least an hour or two to process. In many cases today, urine tests that take place are EtG tests which measure metabolites in urine that occur after processing alcohol in the body. These tests can reveal the presence of alcohol for up to 80 hours after a person has had a drink.

Ethanol is found in the body activated by some types of bacteria. This means that a urine test can sometimes contain ethanol even if the person has never had a drink in their life. The amount of ethanol that is discovered in urine is always less than the percentage found in blood as well and this makes determining BAC from a urine test impossible.

There are some ways that a ethanol urine test can be skewed as well, if a person suffers from diabetes they are bound to have more ethanol present in their urine, several other medical conditions can also produce the same results. If it urine sample is also left at room temperature for an extended amount of time, more ethanol can be produced by microorganisms illuminating the glucose in the urine sample. Usually with ethanol testing several samples are taken at 30 min. intervals to ensure greater accuracy.

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