Did you party last night?
Had a drink with your old friends?
Well, there are chances that things might have gone out of control. You could have done wild things such as street fight or driving under alcohol influence.
All the mess created by you during your intoxication period could have landed you behind the bars. You could have even lost your job (1) for nothing but alcohol. Some of you might have to give the liquor detection test. Due to which, you may be searching out for – How long does alcohol stay in your system?
Well, if you haven’t committed any serious offense, you could be saved. But, it all depends on which alcohol detection test you have to undergo. Before we tell you the exact duration of alcohol in your body, you should know about the factors determining alcohol metabolism.
Here Are Various Factors That Determine How Long Does Alcohol Stay In Your System
1. How much do you weigh?
Are you an obese person? I know that it’s not the right question to ask. But you’ll be happy to know that if you’re overweight, you’ll have a lower Blood Alcohol Content than slimmer people.
It means that a fixed amount of liquor will have a lesser effect on an obese person than on someone with a lesser weight.
Do you want to know the reason? Of course, you do! The simple reason for it is that overweight people have more water present in their body than lean people.
As a result, more water in fat people dilutes the alcohol and lowers the BAC level in them. At this point, some overweight people might feel better about their extra pounds.
But, it has many side-effects on your health, if you drink it in excess. So, don’t be proud of it, instead, shed some extra pounds.
2. Are you a male or female?
All the women who are reading this article may not like this point. Sorry Ladies! But, the truth is, alcohol stays in your system for a longer time than it does in males.
Ladies might be thinking about the reason for it. Am I right? Probably YES!
Now, let me tell you the main reason – Women have more fat and less water in their system as compared to men.
As a result, women may reach certain Blood Alcohol Content (2) (BAC) reading by sipping smaller amounts of liquor than men to get the same BAC reading.
If you don’t believe me, ladies, you can read the study by Brown University Health Education (3). Men might be feeling slightly better after reading this study.
Let me explain it in simple words for you guys – On an average, a woman’s body has 52 percent water content and a man’s body has 61 percent water content.
As you all know that water dilutes alcohol, so any extra amount of water content will only help in diluting liquor concentrations in your body.
Men are lucky in this part, so they often drink more than their female counterparts. Cheers Guys!
3. What’s your age?
As you grow older, you’ll often have a higher fat to muscle ratio (4) (BMI). A slightly higher ratio will help you in protecting from osteoporosis, which is thinning of bones.
But, as you’ll have more fat and less water, BAC level will be high. As a result, alcohol will stay in your body for a long time, even if you have a few drinks.
When you get old, you may be taking some medicines and they may interact with alcohol. Moreover, as you grow older, your reaction time will slow down and you may be having hearing or eyesight problems.
It’s advised that elderly people shouldn’t drink alcohol regularly and if possible, try to quit drinking liquor.
On the other hand, if you’re a youngster whose age is between 20-30 years, you’ll be able to get alcohol out of your system faster than older people.
Typically, youngsters indulge in binge drinking or some ridiculous drinking contest. They may be able to get liquor out of their body faster, but these habits can prove to be deadly.
4. When did you have your last drink?
Do you often drink liquor after office?
Or Do you party frequently with your buddies?
Well, we’ve got a bad news for you guys if you’re called for the alcohol test.
Your BAC level after drinking a certain amount of alcohol will be higher than a person who is drinking liquor after a long time.
The longer the time elapsed after your last drink, the lower your blood alcohol content will be for the same amount of alcohol taken.
5. Some other factors that determine alcohol duration in your system
It may also depend on the medications you’re taking regularly. According to a research, people who take medications (5) like pyrazole compounds, paracetamol and aspirin may have a slower rate of alcohol metabolism.
How long does alcohol stay in your system? You may not believe me, but one of the factors that may affect the rate at which alcohol is detoxified is Ethnicity. Don’t get me wrong or think that I am being a racist.
I am just talking about facts and studies. According to a research, (6) East Asians have longer lasting hangovers than other ethnic groups. So, different ethnic people may take different time to get alcohol out of their system.
Other factors that may affect the duration of liquor in your system include the amount (7) of alcohol intake, type of alcoholic beverage (such as beer, wine, whiskey etc.), and type of food eaten along with it.
If you drink on an empty stomach, the rate of alcohol metabolism will be higher because there is no food to slow down its absorption. As a result, liquor will be expelled via urine faster in comparison to the full stomach drinking (8).
It has also been found in a research (9) that if you have consumed fructose before drinking wine, it’ll increase the rate of metabolism. Consequently, liquor will be eliminated through your urine at a faster rate.
Since we all are different, the rate of absorption, metabolism, and excretion of alcohol can be different. So, there isn’t any exact time alcohol will be present in your body.
How Long Is Alcohol In Your System For Different Tests?
There are different types of tests that are able to detect the presence of liquor for different time periods. Here is a list of various alcohol drug tests (10) and the detection period of alcohol in each test.
- Urine Test: 24-96 hours
- Blood Test: 12-24 hours
- Breathalyzer Test: 12- 24 hours
- Saliva Test: 12-24 hours
- Sweat Test: 1-4 weeks
- Hair Follicle Test: Around 3 months
Now, let us discuss all these tests in detail with you.
How Long Does Alcohol Stay In Your Urine?
You may have probably searched this term on the internet because of the fear of drug tests by your company or law officials. Isn’t it?
Well, alcohol urine test may be required if you’re involved in some accident or before you join any company. Some companies do a random drug test to detect if someone is smoking weed or any other drug.
Now, let me get to the point – Before your body starts expelling liquor, minimum 5 percent of the absorbed alcohol should have reached your kidneys.
Your pituitary gland secretes Vasopressin (11), which is an anti-diuretic hormone. It acts on your kidneys and blood vessels to prevent water loss from the body.
The hormone does this by decreasing the urine output and aiding the kidneys to reabsorb water into the body.
But, when you drink alcohol, it acts as a villain and depresses (12) the function of Vasopressin. As a result, your body will start excreting liquor about twenty minutes after its consumption.
This is the reason you have to make frequent trips to the washroom after drinking alcohol. Now let’s come to your main question – How long can alcohol be detected in urine?
Normally, the urine test for alcohol can detect the presence of direct metabolites of ethyl alcohol (13) for about 24-96 hours after ingestion.
Etg Urine Alcohol Test (14) is the most common test that detects the presence of ethyl glucuronide (15). It’s a direct metabolite of ethyl alcohol (Liquor) that confirms alcohol intake for as long as 3-4 days after the liver metabolizes alcohol.
Key Benefits of EtG Test
- This test can detect recent usage more accurately than other tests
- It can detect ethyl glucuronide for about 80 hours after alcohol intake
- The EtG test is perfect for abstinence and zero tolerance situations
- The EtG test is evident only when the liquor is consumed and not produced due to fermentation.
According to various studies, there are no detectable levels of EtG/EtS in urine after roughly 80 hours of alcohol intake.
A question might arise in your mind that whether urine test can examine the amount of alcohol consumed by the body or not.
The answer to this question is – NO.
The urine test for alcohol is not a reliable method to determine how much liquor has been consumed. It can give accurate results for only the consumption of ethyl alcohol.
How Long Does Alcohol Stay In Your Blood?
Blood tests are very common to detect the presence of ethyl alcohol (16) in your system. This test is often used by law officials to discover whether you’re intoxicated or not.
Many employers have also performed random blood alcohol tests as part of their drug testing program. There are chances that you may also be asked for a drug test by your employer.
If you’ve been asked for it, then you should know that this is an established method that gives accurate results. It can detect alcohol in your blood for only current use, i.e. around 12–24 hours.
The major disadvantages of this test are – It is an invasive method and is quite expensive.
Actually, liquor is quickly absorbed into your bloodstream and can be detected within minutes of alcohol intake. The BAC level reaches its highest level approximately after an hour of having alcoholic drinks.
There are many factors that can determine how long does alcohol stay in your system. If you want to recall, you can scroll up and have a look at them.
Do you know why alcoholic people suffer from liver problems? It is because nearly 90 percent of ethyl alcohol is broken down (17) by your liver. The rest is expelled from the body through urine and your exhaled breath.
If you’ve been drinking alcohol or taking any other drug, you may be in trouble. You better watch out because you may lose your job due to your bad habits. You may even be sued, if you have used any illegal drug.
How Long Does Alcohol Stay On Your Breath?
Have you been driving under the influence of alcohol? Then chances are may be over speeding and may have hit someone along the way.
This will produce a little current, which is measured by a microprocessor to estimate BAC – Blood Alcohol Content. This test can detect the presence of alcohol for nearly 12-24 hours.
If you think you can fool the breathalyzer test (20), then you’re sadly mistaken. You may think this way because of the myths you have heard. For example, you may have heard that eating onion or garlic or mint chewing gums can help you fool this test.
But, let me tell you that a popular science television show MythBusters (21) has already proven this wrong in their 2003 episode. These tricks can only fool a person and will not actually reduce your BAC.
So, stop believing these myths and never drive under the influence of alcohol. By doing this, you can save your life as well as others. You can simply call a taxi or your friend to help you out when you’re drunk.
How Long Does Alcohol Stay In Your Saliva?
There have been substantial developments in the use of saliva to test alcohol intake (22) over the last decade. The main reason – It is quick and non-invasive to test different types of drugs. Saliva tests can be done onsite as soon as the officials receive the specimens.
Police have been using a mouth swab test to test drivers under the influence of alcohol and other drugs like PCP, opiates, methamphetamine, ecstasy, marijuana, cocaine, barbiturates etc. They also use the breathalyzer test to detect alcohol intake.
Many employers are using this test to detect drug and alcohol use. Many of you might have undergone this test or may undergo it in the coming future.
Some of you may be reading this article just because they’re new in a company and has been asked for the saliva sample. Tell me if I am wrong. This article is especially for you guys, so just read it until it ends because you’ll get to know various things related to alcohol tests.
Do you want to know the disadvantage of mouth swab test? (23) Definitely a BIG YES!
The major disadvantage of using saliva specimen to detect alcohol intake is the short detection period i.e. 12-24 hours.
Another disadvantage of using this test – The collection of a sample may be thwarted due to lack of available fluid. This can be as a result of various physiological factors, including alcohol use itself.
Knowing these minute details can let you escape from the harsh penalty you may have to face if you were found under the influence of alcohol at the wrong time or at the wrong place.
How Long Does Liquor Metabolites Stay In Your Sweat?
Have you ever thought that you could be asked for sweat test? Probably, many of you might not have even heard about it. But, let me tell you that it exists.
According to a research (24) conducted by NCBI, sweat patch test successfully distinguished the person who ingested alcohol from teetotalers.
Sweat test has not only been used to detect ethanol; but also other drugs, including PCP, nicotine, morphine, methamphetamine, methadone, cocaine and amphetamines.
How long does alcohol stay in your system for sweat test? It’s around 1-4 weeks.
You may be thinking how the hell can drug traces be found in your sweat? Well, they probably diffuse from the blood to your sweat.
FDA (25) has also approved this test to mainly monitor the offenders on parole or probation. In this test, offenders have to wear a sweat patch with a tamper-proof adhesive for nearly a week.
The alcohol traces will gradually be absorbed by the pads and are then carefully removed for analysis.
How long Does Alcohol Stays In Your Hair?
Hair test has been used for drug treatment screening and to detect illegal substance used in the workplace. However, the mechanism by which metabolites of different drugs and alcohol are absorbed into hair follicles is not clear yet.
What we know is that the trace amounts of alcohol or drug metabolites in our bloodstream enter our hair follicles. These traces of drugs are then trapped in the core of each hair strand after 7-8 days of its last use.
How long does alcohol stay in your system for hair test? It can detect liquor intake for approximately 3 months.
The time period of this test is much longer than other available tests. You better watch out guys if you’ve been asked for the hair test because no one can save you from it.
Advantages of Hair Drug Test:
- Easy collection of specimen
- Hair specimen can be taken from any body part, but usually, it’s taken from the scalp
- Long detection period
- Sample can’t be tampered as in the case of urine test
As recent drug use cannot be detected by the hair test, it’s not widely used. Also, there are certain objections related to this technique like the possibility of potential environmental contamination of hair or whether biophysical attributes affect the results or not.
Drinking too much alcohol regularly is really bad for your health. According to the NIAA (26), alcoholic people who have a long history of liquor use are at risk of developing serious chronic conditions like pancreatitis, liver disease, fetal alcohol spectrum, cancer and many others.
I don’t think that you would like to suffer from those problems. Having a glass or two of wine at a party is fine. But, don’t make it your habit and don’t drive under its influence as you’ll be risking the life of other people and even yours.
After reading the article your doubts related to the questions like how long does alcohol stay in your system may end. We have tried to include all the tests, which you may be asked for and its detection time. If you like our article and think it can help others, then please share it on your social media profiles.