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Why does drinking beer make you want to pee like a fire hose?

It’s one O’clock in the morning, and you’ve just left the bar, where you’ve had at least one beer too many. Before you get your bearings, you realize that you need to pee, and you need to pee RIGHT NOW. It’s a situation that many of us have faced before. It’s simply science and a fact of life that alcohol makes you have to pee with increased frequency and urgency. But the question is – Why does beer make you have to pee so bad, and so quickly after drinking it?

Beer, wine, liquor, wine coolers, and hard ciders (if you’re into that type of thing) all contain various levels of alcohol, and alcohol is one of nature’s best diuretics. When you consume alcohol, it stimulates your bladder, and causes your body to produce more urine than normal by suppressing arginine vasopressin, also known as Anti-Diuretic Hormone, or ADH. There’s really nothing that you can do to stop this process, and the type of alcohol that you consume has no bearing on the suppression of the ADH. If you’re drinking any type of alcoholic beverage at all, the clock is already ticking on your next trip to the bathroom.

There is a prevailing myth that you can control the urge to pee when drinking alcohol, by waiting as long as possible to go, thinking that you’re setting some type of biological bathroom schedule that your body is forced to follow. This indeed is a myth. The smarter plan to control the flow is to pee as soon as the urge strikes, and then drink water, juice, or soda along with the any additional alcohol. This will reduce the diuretic effect of the alcohol, by as much as 50%, depending on just how much water you decide to drink to dilute the alcohol. That being said, the increased water intake will still cause you to have to go, just not as quickly as it would be if you were consuming only alcohol.

In the end, every one of our favorite after-hours social beverages (alcohol) will cause you to pee more often by affecting your body chemistry and changing the rate of production of key hormones. Limiting your overall alcohol consumption by drinking in moderation and diluting alcohol’s diuretic effect with other non-alcoholic liquids is about the only solution to managing the frequency and urgency with which you will need to urinate.