How long does it take alcohol to leave your system?


How long does it take alcohol to leave your system? This is a question that most people wonder; some mull over it due to legal reasons (they are drunk and are going to drive) some think about this due to health related aspects.

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Though alcohol is not good for the body, a few drinks can be helpful if taken in appropriate degree. For example red wine when taken in lesser quantity may help your skin to look younger as it contains resveratrol that is beneficial for the skin. However, if wine is consumed in surplus quantity it may also have some disadvantages or harmful effects on the body.

BAC or Blood Alcohol Content:

It is known by all that alcohol, after consumption, remains in the body for certain amount of time. The time required for alcohol to leave your body system may depend on the quantity of alcohol that is consumed by you. The degree of alcohol that enters into the blood stream is known as BAC or Blood alcohol content. Factors that influence the blood alcohol content of an individual are sex (gender), number of drinks, body weight of the person and the time of consumption of the drink. For an instance, if a female weighing 140 pounds consume 4 drink of alcohol with 3 hours, her BAC will be .094; whereas if same number of drinks is consumed in same time by a 200 pounds man, his Blood Alcohol Content would come to .041.

Alcohol in the body:

You body starts to metabolize the alcohol when it is consumed. During this process of metabolizing, the alcohol enters into the bloodstream and eventually travels throughout your body through all your organs along with the blood. The alcohol in the body is excreted to some extent through breath, urine and body sweat. For the alcohol to enter into blood it takes sometime after consumption. The alcohol that is not excreted through any of the aforementioned sources retains in your blood; hence, many times alcohol screening tests may need a blood sample. If your breath is tested one or two hours post consumption, then your alcohol content may not be detectable. This may also depend on your weight, gender and how frequently you consume alcohol.

All kinds of blood test may detect some degree of alcohol even if conducted after a long period of time. Some degree of alcohol, like 1 to 3 ounces may be noticeable through blood tests in your circulatory system even after 10 to 12 hours of consumption; this is incase you drink alcohol occasionally. In case if you are habituated to alcohol, your body may store alcohol from previous drinking event; hence, it may take significant amount of time for your system to completely excrete alcohol. Sometimes it may also take up to seven days for the alcohol to leave your body completely.

By now you must have understood that alcohol affects each consumer differently, which is why the amount of time it takes for alcohol to leave your body system completely may vary from individual to individual.  A person who consumes alcohol quite frequently may build up resistant for processing alcohol. This is why a heavy alcoholic person’s liver may tolerate three times more drinks per hour. One ounce of alcohol may have significant effect on a petite woman as compared to man wherein effect of alcohol may not be significant. The retention of alcohol in such female may also be for a longer time as their body’s metabolization ability will be different.

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It should be known that liver functioning cannot be speeded up. Consuming large amount of alcohol in significantly shorter bouts may prove to be hazardous to your body system. One should also avoid using beer bongs. If the liver’s functioning is impaired or it is not capable of processing excessive amount of alcohol then alcohol poisoning may be caused. This condition is usually life threatening and one should try to prevent it from happening. Read more about alcohol and liver disease.

In case of healthy and perfectly working liver, the metabolizing ability is considerable and the liver can metabolize one ounce of alcohol in one hour. This is in case a standard drink is consumed. Heavy drinker’s liver are usually impaired or does not function appropriately, that is why their livers can metabolize lower than what a normal liver can metabolize.  Excessive drinking of alcohol also includes harmful effects like alcohol dementia.

If you still wonder how long does it take alcohol to leave your system then it should be known that generally your body turns to be alcohol free at .015 per hour. Considering the above mentioned example, there would not be measurable amount of alcohol in approx 6- ¼ hours in a woman’s body and in approx 2-¾ hours in a man’s body. Here is a list of BACs and time it would take for alcohol to be completely excreted from your body.

• It would take approx 1.33 hours for .02 BAC of alcohol to leave your body

• It would take approx 3.33 hours for .05 BAC of alcohol to leave your body

• For .08 BAC of alcohol, which is the legal limit set in United States, it would take approx 5.33 hours for you body to be alcohol free

• It would take approx 6.66 hours for .15 BAC of alcohol to leave your body

• And for 1.5 BAC of alcohol it would take approximately 10 hours for your body to completely excrete alcohol

There are some steps that may help you to control the BAC count of alcohol in your system. For example you should also eat while you are consuming alcohol. Do not haste and drink, drink slowly to allow you body process the consumed alcohol. Try to alternate between non alcoholic and alcoholic drinks to equilibrate the reaction in the body. There are certain measures that you may adopt to make alcohol leave your body faster which may include consuming coffee, going for a shower etc.

How long does it take alcohol to leave your urine:

People metabolize alcohol usually, at the rate of 1/2 to 3/4ounce every hour (which is about half an ounce of one standard drink). This is equal to 4 ounces of wine, 12 ounces of beer, 10 ounces of microbrew. This means, if you have three standard drinks , irrespective of how long it took for you to drink them, it can take three hours for the alcohol to leave your system through urine


Driving under the influence of alcohol and BAC

A person is deemed legally unfit to drive if:

* his or her BAC is at or above .05% or
* his or her ability to drive is impaired by the use of alcohol, drugs or other factors.


Also remember

* A BAC of .30% can make a person  lose consciousness.
* With a BAC of .40%, a person will be in a coma or cause death

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