How Long Does Alcohol Stay in Your System? Factors of Alcohol Metabolism Rate

The presence of alcohol can be detected through a urine test, breath test and even in your hair, says Alcohol can be measured through your urine within 12 to 48 hours or even 80, depending on how advanced the testing is. Breath tests, known as a breathalyzer, detect alcohol within 24 hours, according to If someone with alcohol problems also battles depression, their symptoms may worsen when drinking.

As a result, individuals who overuse alcohol may be at risk of choking to death after vomiting. People who think they are experiencing alcohol use disorder should visit a medical professional to review treatment options. With the proper support from a medical team, recovery from alcohol use disorder is possible. People with alcohol use disorder have difficulty controlling their alcohol intake. They may continue to drink despite the negative consequences on their health and relationships.

Maintain a healthy diet

However, this can change due to a number of factors, in particular the size and strength of the drink. Traditionally, a 12-ounce beer, a 5-ounce glass of wine, and a 1.5-ounce shot all contain about the same amount of alcohol. But if you consume drinks that are larger or have a greater alcohol percentage, it will take your body more time to metabolize them.

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Women who drink their normal amount of alcohol prior to menstruation will experience higher BACs than they otherwise would. Eating high protein foods, such as tofu or cheese, before or while drinking can slow the absorption of alcohol. When you’re ready to quit or reduce the harm alcohol is causing to your health and life, there are many resources to help. Many people also turn to support groups, like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). These groups, whether in-person or online, can help you feel supported and less alone as you navigate recovery.

How long does alcohol stay in your bloodstream?

In terms of weight, a 160-pound man can stay in a safe BAC range by having up to 1 to 3 drinks. Although the legal limit for driving is .08% in all states, penalties vary sharply. Plus, in some states, drivers under the age of 21 have a different, much lower, legal BAC percentage threshold. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.

“For patients who are left with cirrhosis after severe injury to the liver from alcohol, even one drink of alcohol is toxic to the liver,” cautions Dr. Lindenmeyer. If your liver has taken a hit from prolonged alcohol use, there are ways to give it — and the rest of your body — a break. One beer was detectable 16 hours later.Six shots of vodka taken in 3 hours was detectable 54 hours later.

How Long Does Alcohol Stay in Your System?

So, if your liver has been affected or injured by alcohol intake, those medications can harm you at lower doses than expected. But not everyone feels the same way when they have a BAC of 0.08%, which is why some people say they “feel okay to drive.” Everyone experiences alcohol a little differently. For most people, it takes about 15 to 45 minutes to start to feel the effects of alcohol, and about an hour for these effects to wear off. Also known as your blood alcohol concentration, or BAC, .08 percent counts as drunk from a legal perspective. Once your BAC hits .08 percent, you’ll have the tell-tale signs of being drunk.

  • The first place alcohol goes when you drink it is into your stomach.
  • The following table shows the length of time it takes for your body to eliminate alcohol at varying BAC levels.
  • Lower concentrations of blood alcohol can still negatively impact vision, attention, and coordination.
  • It stays in the bloodstream for about 6 hours; in the breath (the “breathalyzer” test) for 12 to 24  hours; and can be found in the urine for up to 72 hours.

There are several tests to measure the level of alcohol in your blood. These procedures are typically simple but may take several weeks to get results. Therefore, if you choose to drink, it’s important to be aware of them. Use of this website and any information contained herein is governed by the Healthgrades User Agreement. And if you think you may have a problem with drinking too much alcohol, you can reach out to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) hotline for help.

While 92-98% of alcohol is metabolized in the liver, the remaining 2-8% leaves the body through urine, sweat and breath. Ethanol is beverage alcohol that can be detected in urine up to one or two hours after the alcohol has left the body. A little bit is broken down there, but the rest reaches the small intestine and is absorbed into the bloodstream.

Both over-the-counter and prescription drugs may alter the effects of alcohol on your body. In turn, alcohol may interfere with the intended effects of medications. These genetic variations help to explain why people of certain ethnic groups tend to have similar responses to alcohol. For example, a genetic variant more common in people of East Asian descent can cause a facial flushing reaction from drinking alcohol. What all the tests have in common is that they search for the presence of alcohol metabolites, which are byproducts of the process of alcohol metabolism.

February 2, 2022