Red wine strongly inhibits the binding of 5-HT to 5-HT1 receptors; white wine possesses this ability to a much lesser extent . Studies on red wine-sensitive subjects, in order to show a mediation of induced headache by some types of 5-HT2 receptors, give inconclusive results . In this light, direct or indirect (by 5-HT release) stimulation of 5-HT2 receptors was supposed to be the mechanism of headache induced by some serotonergic agonists (, for review). People with alcohol flush reaction lack an enzyme required to break down a toxic byproduct of alcohol metabolism called acetaldehyde. Unfortunately for headache sufferers, acetaldehyde causes the body to produce histamines – a common trigger of migraines. “Alcohol consumption is one of the most common dietary triggers for migraine sufferers,” says Dr. Sara Crystal, Cove Medical Director, noting that alcohol causes two specific types of headaches. If none of the preventative measures above work or you didn’t know alcohol triggered migraines until after the fact, there are still options available to you.
What are the symptoms of alcohol intolerance?
- Facial redness (flushing)
- Red, itchy skin bumps (hives)
- Worsening of pre-existing asthma.
- Runny or stuffy nose.
- Low blood pressure.
- Nausea and vomiting.
These medical reviewers confirm the content is thorough and accurate, reflecting the latest evidence-based research. Content is reviewed before publication and upon substantial updates. Verywell Health’s content is for informational and educational purposes only. Our website is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Afridi SK, Kaube H, Goadsby PJ. Glyceryl trinitrate triggers premonitory symptoms in migraineurs. Schramm SH, Obermann M, Katsarava Z, Diener HC, Moebus S, Yoon MS. Epidemiological profiles of patients with chronic migraine and chronic tension-type headache. Salhofer-Polanyi S, Frantal S, Brannath W, Seidel S, Wöber-Bingöl Ç, Wöber C PAMINA Study Group. Prospective analysis of factors related to migraine aura – The PAMINA study. Hauge AW, Kirchmann M, Olesen J. Characterization of consistent triggers of migraine with aura. Zlotnik Y, Plakht Y, Aven A, Engel Y, Am NB, Ifergane G. Alcohol consumption and hangover patterns among migraine sufferers.
Here is the advice of one wine expert
A chemical called N-acetyl-cysteine may be useful in detoxifying the body from acetaldehyde buildup, but this too is an unproven treatment. Light exercise may be helpful, provided you stay well-hydrated. The migraines tend to start within three hours of consuming alcohol. Sometimes, migraines don’t plague patients until the next morning, just as their blood-alcohol content level is back to normal. Many people confuse this with a regular hangover until the intensity of the migraine sets in. Alcohol can trigger headaches, including migraines, cluster headaches, and tension-type headaches. In fact, around 30 percent of people who experience recurrent migraines report alcohol as a trigger. Many studies with noninvasive imaging techniques has well established that low-moderate doses of alcohol, after oral or intravenous administration, increases cerebral blood flow.
- Littlewood JT, Gibb C, Glover V, Sandler M, Davies PT, Rose FC. Red wine as a cause of migraine.
- Additional sources were identified via manual search of bibliographies, references lists, and previous peer reviews.
- Population-based studies performed in various countries show that fewer migraine sufferers consume alcohol than those without headaches.
- But “cutting back” doesn’t necessarily have to mean cutting out.
For people prone to migraines, even the smallest amount of alcohol can be enough to ruin a fun night out. If you regularly shut the blinds, turn off lights, or retreat into a dark corner of the room, you could be sensitive to light. If that amount of alcohol usually gives you a migraine, consider limiting alcohol intake even more, or cut it altogether. Having a single glass of wine, beer, or a shot now and then will probably be fine. But chances are, your migraines aren’t really stemming from sulfites. It is why does alcohol cause migraines one possibility, but researchers have found that less than 1% of the U.S. population actually has a sulfite sensitivity. You might see more congeners in darker alcohol, such as red wine, rum, or brandy. Those triggers don’t necessarily correlate with the volume of alcohol consumed, either. It has also been proposed that alcohol triggers an inflammatory response that can lead to a headache. Substances such as sulfites, histamine, and tyramines are found in alcohol and may contribute to headaches as well.
How to cure red wine headaches the next day
Some components of alcoholic beverages such as tyramine, phenylethylamine, histamine, sulfites, flavonoid phenols, have been considered possible triggers for migraine. This is due to their presence in various alcoholic drinks, and the belief the drink is capable of triggering migraine. However, this is not verified as studies are either negative or lack adequate proof to support their causal role. However, an Italian study seems not to support this explanation. In this study, only a very small percentage of non-alcohol consuming female migraineurs reported that alcoholic drinks were a trigger. They concluded that this fact could not explain the large difference in alcohol consumption between migraine and the general public. If you’re enjoying a beer or an afternoon of drinking, make every other drink water. This will keep your body hydrated and will help ward off a booze-induced Migraine. It’s much more difficult to stop an oncoming dehydration-triggered Migraine attack than it is to prevent it, so have fun but remain diligent about drinking alcohol-free liquids as well. Even though your pain is legit, there’s no concrete scientific link between migraine and red wine.
i don’t understand why i could drink like a fish in my 20’s and now i have 3 glasses of champagne and am way done and worried about possibly getting a migraine tomorrow.does age make it harder to metabolize alcohol or does infrequent drinking cause bad hangovers
— Mama X (@MAMA_X_1975) April 28, 2022
If you do notice a pattern, especially with particular types of alcohol over others, you may choose to avoid the offending drinks. If you’re susceptible to attacks after consuming these types of foods and drinks, you have an increased likelihood of a beer headache or Migraine attack. It’s also theorized that alcohol may have an effect on serotonin nerve transmission, which has been noted to cause headaches in some people. 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. Ginseng is an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory that just might help your bod break down alcohol more effectively. In a small 2014 study, men who drank a red ginseng hangover remedy after having a glass of whiskey had lower blood alcohol levels and fewer hangover symptoms. Feel like the initial joy of sipping red wine always ends in a migraine attack? While you might be kicking yourself for drinking that glass of pinot noir, the exact cause of red wine-induced headache and migraine is unknown.
Migraine without aura
However, there are many other symptoms of a so-called “histamine intolerance” that are not characteristic of a migraine attack. The fact that antihistamine drugs do not prevent red wine headaches further fails to support histamine as a critical trigger. Drinking too much alcohol can trigger migraines, a painful cluster of tension, and other types of headaches, affecting different areas of the brain. Numerous factors contribute to alcohol-related headaches, including insomnia. It may not be the best sleep, or it may even lead to waking up on the wrong side of the bed. In addition, the body is dehydrated from alcohol, a diuretic, absorbing water in the body and causing you to need to use the bathroom frequently. More often, a alcohol-related headaches won’t manifest until your blood alcohol level begins to drop. A delayed alcohol-induced headache won’t usually begin until 5 to 12 hours after your last drink. You can usually hope to see symptoms subside within 72 hours of their onset.
The same is true for sulfites, with much higher amounts found in many foods compared to wine. These foods include certain fruits, chips, raisins, soy sauce, and pickles. So-called “sulfite sensitivity” tends to provoke asthmatic responses rather than headaches. Foods high in these components include dried why does alcohol cause migraines fruits, hard cheese, and cured or processed meats. It’s best to avoid these dishes when you plan on drinking beer. Otherwise, even a small amount may lead to a headache later on. You also put yourself at a higher risk of an immediate alcohol-induced headache, which may put a damper on your evening.
Drug Use Can Also Be a Trigger
Moreover, the more alcohol consumed the less likely the drinker reported migraine and non-migraine headache. This fact may be explained by sufferers of headache giving up alcohol since it is a trigger factor for their headache attacks. Several components of alcoholic beverages – including tyramine, phenylethylamine, histamine, sulfites, and flavonoid phenols – are considered possible triggers for migraine headaches. This is due to their presence in various alcoholic drinks, and the belief that alcohol is capable of triggering migraines. However, nothing has been verified as studies are either negative or lack the adequate proof to support the findings. Almost 80% of the European study’s participants named wine – particularly red wine – as the most common trigger out of all alcoholic beverages. Red wine consistently led to a migraine attack among almost 10% of participants. The time it took for a quick onset attack to start was “quick” indeed – less than three hours for one-third of participants. And it does not take large quantities of wine to produce these rapid headaches. When I drink wine now, it’s almost always only red wine, usually just 1-2 half-glasses w/a meal, with water accompanying the meal too.
Similarly, intravenously administered alcohol has an analgesic effect in humans, while hyperalgesia is found in alcohol withdrawal. Only one study carried out on few subjects reports mild and transient headache as side effect in 17–25% of Japanese but not Caucasians male subjects. Experiments with this technique in migraine patients should be of much interest. Cultural differences can be responsible even of the very low percentage of MA and TH patients and of the lower percentage of CH patients referring ADs as a trigger found in these countries.
A word of advice if you’re struggling to stop drinking
Biogenic amines, sulphites, flavonoid phenols, 5-hydroxytryptamine mechanisms and vasodilating effects are discussed. The fact that few headache patients cannot tolerate some alcoholic drinks does not justify the consideration that alcohol is a major trigger and the suggestion of abstinence. In fact, low doses of alcohol can have a beneficial effect on patients such as migraineurs, who were reported to have an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Alcoholic drinks have been reported as a migraine trigger in about one-third of the migraine patients in retrospective studies. Some studies found that ADs trigger also other primary headaches. Many studies show that ADs are a trigger of migraine without aura , migraine with aura , cluster headache , and tension-type headache . While data on MO and CH are well delineated, those in MA and TH are discordant. There are sparse reports that ADs are also triggers of less frequent types of primary headache such as familial hemiplegic migraine, hemicrania continua, and paroxysmal hemicrania. However, in some countries, the occurrence of alcohol as headache trigger is negligible, perhaps determined by alcohol habits. The frequency estimates vary widely based on the study approach and population.
If you find yourself struggling to stop drinking or recognize that you have symptoms of alcohol use disorder, it’s important to reach out for help. As long as you don’t eat meals containing other triggers, this is one of the best things you can do. Try to stick to just Sober House a glass or two and eat enough for the food to soak up some of that alcohol. It has been suggested that a tendency to experience alcohol-induced headaches could be genetic. Verywell Health articles are reviewed by board-certified physicians and healthcare professionals.
And that hangover can evolve into a Migraine attack that can last for days (I know, personally, because I’ve been there). Unfortunately, nothing can prevent reactions to alcohol or ingredients in alcoholic beverages. To avoid a reaction, avoid alcohol or the particular substance that causes your reaction. In some cases, reactions can be triggered by a true allergy to a grain such as corn, wheat or rye or to another substance in alcoholic beverages. There’s limited research on using weed to ease migraine attacks, but here’s what the science says.