How Long does Alcohol Stay in Your System?

By Admin: May 10th, 2017 in Alcoholism, Substance Abuse

How Long Does Alcohol Stay in Your System?

The short answers to how long does alcohol stay in your system is one hour per one ounce of alcohol consumed. Alcohol normally stays in your system up to 24 hours after having a few beverages and so would be found in your urine at this point.  The standard test is usually able to detect urine anywhere between 9-13 hours after drinking.

Alcohol Duration in Blood

alcohol-duratio- in-blood
Alcohol Duration in Blood

Blood tests to determine alcohol consumption are similar to the results found using a breathalyzer. The average person metabolizes one ounce of alcohol an hour. The blood test results will vary depending on the users’ age, gender, weight, type of alcohol consumed, amount of alcohol consumed and amount of food ingested. A blood test is not an effective method to test for alcohol usage beyond that period of time.



Understanding How Alcohol is Processed

Alcohol passes through your digestive system, but it requires very little digestion. After drinking it, 20% of the substance goes directly to your blood vessels, where it is carried throughout your body and to your brain. The remaining alcohol is absorbed by your small intestine. If there is food in your digestive tract,

How Long Alcohol Stays in Your System BAC Level

the absorption process is slower and it takes longer for you to feel intoxicated.

When alcohol enters your bloodstream, one of the organs it visits is the liver, where it is processed for removal from your body. While people may become intoxicated at different rates, a healthy liver will metabolize alcohol at the same rate regardless of a person’s ethnicity, sex, or weight. On average, a healthy liver will process one ounce of alcohol every hour.

While the liver generally metabolizes alcohol at a consistent rate, there are factors that do influence how quickly alcohol leaves your system – and how quickly you become intoxicated.

  • Age
  • Ethnicity
  • Sex
  • Weight
  • Medications or drugs
  • Speed of alcohol consumption
  • Amount and type of food eaten before and during drinking
Measuring the Amount of Alcohol in Your System

Once alcohol is in your bloodstream, it leaves your body in two different ways. 10% of it leaves through your breath, sweat, and urine, while the remaining 90% is metabolized by your body.

Alcohol can be detected in your blood, breath, hair, saliva, sweat, and urine. As a result, there are

Measuring the Amount of Alcohol in Your System

multiple tests that can measure how much alcohol is in your body.

  • Blood: Using a blood test, the presence of alcohol can be detected for up to 12 hours.
  • Breath: A breathalyzer test can detect alcohol for up to 24 hours after your last drink.
  • Hair: Alcohol can be detected in your hair for up to 90 days after drinking.
  • Saliva: Alcohol can show up in your saliva for one to five days.
  • Urine: Alcohol usually stays in urine for 12 to 36 hours after drinking. However, an advanced urine test, known as Ethyl Gluconoride (EGT), can detect alcohol in urine for three to five days after your last drink.

Regardless of what you’ve heard, there is nothing you can do to speed up how fast your body processes alcohol. Drinking coffee or water, taking a shower or a walk, and even vomiting won’t help you sober up. The only thing that helps is giving your body time to do its job and naturally process and remove alcohol from your system. While many people enjoy drinking socially, some might drink to excess.

How Long Does Alcohol Stay in Urine?

Testing for alcohol ingestion varies depending on age, gender, weight, type of alcohol consumed, amount of alcohol consumed and amount of food ingested. Alcohol can be detected in the urine 48 hours after ingestion. With the urine test we’ll able to detect alcohol ingestion between 3-4 days.

Affects the Amount of Time Alcohol remains in your Urine

Some of the main things affecting your systems ability to eliminate the substance are: age, gender, fitness level, organ health, body type amongst other things. Let’s look at these in more detail:


How quickly alcohol is absorbed differs from women to men. For example, a man who weighs 140 lb and has two drinks in an hour will have less alcohol in their blood compared to a woman the same size that drinks the same amount in the same time.

It’s mainly because males have more of the hydrogenase enzyme which means once the substance reaches the stomach it gets broken down quicker. After alcohol reaches the stomach, this enzyme begins the process of breaking down the alcohol molecules that assists in the metabolization of the body’s organs and tissues especially, the liver. Additionally, just before menstruation women have less water in their bodies and increased amounts of the cells that hold onto alcohol.


Genetics also plays an underlying factor in how long alcohol stays in your urine for. There are two enzymes in the body that help break down the substance and these are aldehyde dehydrogenase and alcohol dehydrogenase. According to genetic studies, both enzymes are programmed by a number of genes in different forms.

They can also make you more at risk of being an alcoholic too. However if there is an alcoholic in your family and you are living with an alcoholic person, it does not mean you are doomed to become an alcoholic.

Whether You’ve Eaten

If somebody eats before drinking, the enzymes in stomach will be preoccupied with breaking down the food instead of the alcohol. Therefore the alcohol won’t be filtered by the bloodstream till a later stage causing the BAC to rise anywhere from 1-6 hours after drinking. This means that BAC happens to rise between the time span of 60 minutes to 6 hours after the last drink was drank.

On the other hand, people who tend to drink on an empty stomach shall have peak BAC levels within 30 minutes to two hours of consuming their last drink.


Metabolism plays a crucial role in how quick your body processes and get rid of your drink. The quicker metabolism you have, the better your system can flush out the alcohol. Even though your genes will dictate largely which type of metabolism you have, other factors such as fitness level, sleep, stress and lifestyle can affect it too. Normally those with a healthy ratio of body fat vs. lean mass will have a quicker metabolism.


If someone is on medication, depending on what’s taken it may suppress the metabolizing process by inhibiting enzymes which help process alcohol. Drugs and medicines for cold/flu, antidepressants and sedatives may result in faster absorption of alcohol in the small intestine when it reaches the stomach.

Need Assistance About Substance Abuse?

If you or someone you love is struggling with an alcohol problem, please contact with professional staff of SLO Recovery Centers and you can release the pull alcohol has on you with our outpatient alcohol and drug abuse treatments.

When you choosing for the intensive treatments for alcoholism, you can take advantage of:

If you are still unsure of whether you are an alcoholic or not, try taking this quiz for a confidential answer. Either way, you’ll get the help and support you need to visit our alcohol sobriety support center. Speak to our alcohol addiction treatments professional now: 877-659-4555 OR 561-272-9404


How Long Alcohol Stays in Your System



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How Long does Alcohol Stay in your Blood