Consuming Alcohol Triggering Your Migraines?

Be sure to talk to your doctor or pharmacist about your migraine medications and potential interactions with alcoholic beverages. The effects on other body systems are also important in the symptoms of alcohol intoxication. The kidneys increase urination substantially, leading to dehydration. Blood vessels in the skin dilate, causing flushing and increased cardiac output. The liver starts working overtime to detoxify the blood of ethanol and acetaldehyde, and cannot keep blood sugar adequately regulated.

can alcohol trigger migraines

It may take a combination of factors to provoke a migraine attack, and some people’s brains may simply be more sensitive to alcohol than others. A large majority of respondents (77.8%) considered wine, especially red wine, to be the most common alcoholic trigger for migraine. Yet only 8.8% of participants reported that drinking wine consistently lead to an attack. If, after keeping track, you become convinced alcohol is the problem, then it’s now time to identify the symptoms. A common misconception is that overconsumption of alcohol is what triggers headaches. As many migraine sufferers can attest to, sometimes it just takes one glass of wine or even a sip. Scientists are still trying to understand how or why alcohol acts as a trigger for some people who suffer from migraines.

Will Alcohol Help A Headache?

Some studies have reported that alcohol can trigger a migraine headache in people who are sensitive to it in as little as 30 minutes — or it could take 3 hours. Congeners such as acetaldehyde are byproducts of the fermentation process. They are the number one cause of toxin-induced hangover symptoms after alcohol consumption. According to a study conducted by Italian migraine researchers, bourbon contains 37 times more congeners than vodka, making it more likely to trigger severe headaches. Chances are high that if you suffer from frequent migraines , you’ve probably considered tracking your triggers.

Alcohol and migraine: Drinks to avoid, remedies, and more — Medical News Today

Alcohol and migraine: Drinks to avoid, remedies, and more.

Posted: Mon, 08 Nov 2021 08:00:00 GMT [source]

Hangovers can last up to 72 hours after drinking, but most are shorter in duration. Again it depends on how much was consumed, how dehydrated you became, nutritional status, ethnicity, gender, the state of your liver, medications, etc. Many of these disturbances of the body’s natural physiology persist the next day, long after the alcohol is gone. Effects on hormones, blood chemistry, the sleep-wake cycle and inflammatory chemicals are also important in the thoroughly lousy feeling we have come to know as a hangover. Repeated drinking can lead to liver scarring, known as cirrhosis.

Here Is The Advice Of One Wine Expert

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These findings suggest that red wine contains a migraine-provoking agent that is neither alcohol nor tyramine . Recently another study group reported a high percentage of patients referring red wine as the most frequent trigger between alcoholic drinks but subsequently it did not report any of them as a trigger . Surprisingly migraine sufferers consumed the same amount of wine as nonsufferers. Nevertheless, the headache triggered by red wine is not hangover. The interval between drinking red wine and developing headache varied from 30 min to 3 h, and only one or two glasses needed to be ingested. Flavonoid phenols and tannins, both alike in character and action, are by-products of alcohol fermentation. These congeners, or alike minor chemical substances, give wine its distinctive character.

Foods To Help Get Rid Of A Headache Or Migraine Attack Naturally

Many people have experienced a headache after drinking alcohol — especially after drinking too much. While headaches are generally recognized as a side effect of alcohol in many people, its reputation as a migraine headache trigger may be overestimated. It may occur with symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, or sensitivity to light. Most people feel a throbbing pain on only one side of their head during a migraine.

The response to alcohol varies from person to person, and there is no alcohol that absolutely will not cause a migraine or other headache. This is probably much less likely than that suggested by patient’s recall.

Alcohol Consumption And Hangover Patterns Among Migraine Sufferers

A migraine each time you have a night out should be good reason to abstain. But if you’re prone to migraine headaches, you’ll need to be careful about how much you drink. A 5-ounce glass of wine (or 12 ounces of beer or a 1.5-fluid-ounce shot) may be OK every now and then, so long as it doesn’t bring on a headache. If it does, you’ll need to drink less or stay away from all alcohol. After a night on the town, it’s easy to blame a headache on too much alcohol.

Drinking more alcohol will likely just prolong your symptoms. 60% of them are not diagnosed and therefore can not access treatment. Therefore, the release of 5-HT possibly from central stores could represent a plausible mechanism for wine induced headache. Perhaps inflammatory mechanisms and the known vasodilatatoric effect of alcohol are the link between hangover and migraine. A total of 739 questionnaires were handed to students; 47 of them met the exclusion criteria, therefore 692 questionnaires were studied. Ninety-five participants (14%) met the IHS criteria for episodic migraine with or without aura. Participants were asked about cigarette smoking and marijuana smoking habits.


You might see more congeners in darker alcohol, such as red wine, rum, or brandy. While the role of alcohol in the onset of migraines isn’t fully known, there are a few factors that we are aware of. While not a disease we treat at the Johns Hopkins Headache Center, delayed alcohol-induced headaches are extremely common, disabling and costly to society. Women and those with veterinary experience were better at recognizing cats’ expressions — even those who reported no strong attachment to cats. The editorial staff of is comprised of addiction content experts from American Addiction Centers. Our editors and medical reviewers have over a decade of cumulative experience in medical content editing and have reviewed thousands of pages for accuracy and relevance.

can alcohol trigger migraines

Others known congeners include acetone, acetaldehyde, fuseil oil, and furfural. These alcohol by-products have been suggested as responsible for triggering migraine.

In addition to red wine, other alcoholic beverages, including beer, white wine, and liqueur, have also been reported as headache triggers. The fundamental question still remains to be made definitely clear. Is alcohol or another component of the drink responsible for triggering headache? To provoke a migraine attack a combination of factors may be necessary.

can alcohol trigger migraines

An aura is a group of symptoms that includes vision changes. There are drinks you can avoid if you are prone to migraines as they act as a trigger. You can also practice moderation, which has been shown to improve migraines in some people. Caffeine is in many over-the-counter migraine medications, but when consumed frequently it can lead to more headaches — rebound headaches and overuse headaches. Everyone who experiences migraine can reduce their likelihood of a migraine attack by avoiding meal-skipping that causes blood sugar fluctuations and may result in a headache, according toBrian M. Plato, D.O., headache medicine specialist and neurologist at Norton Neuroscience Institute. For someone who has a histamine intolerance, the histamine level in an alcoholic drink can produce an allergic response, which may include migraines.

It is important to recognize that anticonvulsant drugs, including Topamax, increase the risk of suicidal thoughts and behavior, regardless of the indication for which the person is taking the medication. When taking an anticonvulsant, the patient must be monitored closely for mood or behavior changes, depression, and suicidal thoughts and behavior. People with liver problems may not eliminate topiramate properly, leading to increased topiramate levels, potentially increasing side effects.

can alcohol trigger migraines

They concluded that this fact could not explain the large difference in alcohol consumption between migraine and the general public. Alcohol’s exact role in triggering a migraine isn’t fully known. For instance, alcohol byproducts called congeners have been linked to headaches. Dark-colored alcohols like red wine, brandy, alcohol and headaches and whiskey may contain more of them. Drinking alcohol can trigger migraines in some people, possibly as a result of histamines contained in some alcoholic beverages. Your immune system also releases histamines during an allergic reaction. Alcohol has been shown to cause inflammation when consumed in excess.

  • Furthermore, alcohol is diuretic and has been said to be one of the causes for dehydration, a vital contributing factor in headaches.
  • In fact, one Dutch study found that 25% of people who suffered from migraines had stopped drinking because it was either an actual or potential trigger.
  • Increased artery size is the mechanism frequently suggested.
  • Depression, fatigue, anxiety, nervousness, irritability, and impairment of concentration are common.
  • Symptoms may include unexplained tiredness, vomiting, or mental status changes and should receive immediate medical attention.