Almost everyone knows the effects of drinking on our body and the dire consequences that alcohol has if consumed in excess. These consequences are not only seen in the person who consumes it, but it is a problem that affects the whole society. Alcohol has become the fifth leading cause of death worldwide, not only because of the more than 200 diseases it can cause, but also because of the work accidents, violence and traffic accidents it causes.
However, there are many aspects of alcoholic beverages that many people do not know and many myths present in society very difficult to eradicate. Wondering how long alcohol lasts in blood and urine? In the following article of we will explain how it is eliminated from our body and in how many hours that elimination occurs.
How Alcohol is Determined in the Body
When we introduce alcohol into the body through its liquid intake, it must cross the esophagus, reach the stomach and finally reach the intestine. Once there, the membrane that lines the inside of the intestine absorbs a part of that alcohol, however, it is the walls of the small intestine that absorb most of that alcohol. Once absorbed by the walls, the alcohol passes directly into the blood.
Taking into account that alcohol is highly soluble in water, when it reaches the blood, it is quickly transported throughout the body, being absorbed by each of the tissues of the organism. Despite that, some of the alcohol we have ingested is still present in the bloodstream.
There are different methods to determine the amounts of alcohol present in our body, through blood, urine or air tests. The BAC, for the acronym in English of “concentration of alcohol in blood“, is the breathalyzer test that serves to know how much alcohol a person has ingested. This rate is determined by the percentage of grams of alcohol per liter of blood by the percentage between the mass and volume of the alcohol and the person.
But alcohol levels are not stable over time, but vary depending on different factors and decrease with the metabolization of this element. Here's how alcohol is eliminated in your blood, the factors involved, and how long it takes to go away.
How blood alcohol is eliminated
Once we introduce alcohol into the body, it has different ways to get rid of it:
- On the one hand there is evaporation, by which alcohol is volatilized and leaves our body. This evaporation occurs in different ways, but mainly through the air we exhale and other secretions such as saliva, tears and sweat. The alcohol that leaves by evaporation barely reaches 1% of the total ingested.
- Another way to get rid of alcohol is through defecation and excretion. When we urinate, we are releasing alcohol that has already been processed by our body, however, we do not accelerate the process. This debunks the myth that if you drink a lot of water alcohol is removed faster from the blood. The alcohol that goes through the urine has already been processed in our body. It is also not true that if we vomit, we eliminate alcohol. This is only possible if we do it just when we have drunk and it has not yet reached the stomach and intestines. Once there, it passes into the bloodstream, so it is useless to vomit. Through this route we eliminate about 10% of the alcohol.
- Finally, the way in which almost 90% of the total alcohol consumed is eliminated is thanks to the metabolization of this in the liver.
How long does blood alcohol last
A healthy liver that functions normally can metabolize about 10 ml. of alcohol every hour. Depending on factors that we will explain below, this process can be accelerated or slowed down, but usually, after 10 hours after having stopped drinking the body has already been able to eliminate all the alcohol. Alcohol usually lasts 10 hours in the blood, hours during which the liver metabolizes it.
Among the conditions that will determine if it takes more or less time to eliminate it from the blood we find:
- The weight of the person.
- How old you are.
- Sex, as men metabolize faster.
- The person's metabolic rate.
- Blood pressure.
- The modality of alcohol.
- The amount of alcohol ingested.
- What we have eaten before drinking.
- The state of health of the liver.
You should know that alcohol is not eliminated once its effects are no longer present. It may be that you are already normal and yet your liver is still working to metabolize it. Up to 12 hours later it is possible to find traces of alcohol in the blood.
How long alcohol lasts in the urine
If we take into account that the alcohol that goes with the urine is the one that has already been metabolized by the liver, we will conclude that as long as there is alcohol in the blood there will be alcohol in the urine. We have already explained the process of metabolization and the time it lasts in the body and, in the case of urine, it will be the same. Alcohol lasts about 10 hours in the urine and can last until 12.