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

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A classic alcohol-induced headache is often located on both sides of the head and has a throbbing quality like that of a migraine. Those suffering from an immediate alcohol-induced headache will likely feel a pulsating sensation, usually on both sides of the head. They will also find that the headache increases in intensity when any physical activity is taken. In other words, you will go to the toilet more frequently, but the lost liquid will not be as evenly replaced. This contributes greatly to dehydration, which is the cause of your alcohol-induced headache.

  • Aim to drink plenty of water before, after, and during alcohol consumption.
  • This glutamate production creates fatigue and can cause a headache trigger.
  • Alcohol’s effects on your body include dehydration, inflammation, reduced sleep quality, and the buildup of toxic substances—all of which can give you a headache.
  • In simple terms, this means that it has an effect on the kidneys which causes the level of fluid that you are taking in to become lower than what your body is putting out.

These headaches are all painful and debilitating, and can hamper the performance of daily activities such as driving, attending work, and engaging in social and relationship commitments. Chain convergence was assessed through visual inspection of the sample traces and by monitoring diagnostic measures, such as their sample autocorrelations and the R‐hat. 30
Two chains were run until convergence, discarding the first 50,000 iterations of each chain and keeping 1 out of 10 iterations afterwards.


Therefore are cases where you may need to see a doctor especially if you are prone to migraines. In most cases, alcoholic-related headaches may not require you to see a doctor because most of them go away on themselves after some time or after having can alcohol cause migraines some painkillers. Reducing or eliminating alcohol intake reduces the risk and occurrence of these types of headaches. The most important thing to consume while you are recovering from a hangover is liquid, in order to avoid further dehydration.

The most severe migraine attacks may last up to 3 days and make it impossible to do anything. This prospective study looked at migraine diaries spanning up to 90 days. Wine, beer, and spirits did not elevate the risk of migraine with aura, but sparkling wine did. These headaches cause very intense pain that often primarily affects the area behind one eye. More than half of those who experience cluster headaches say that alcohol is a trigger. A 2015 study suggests that the inactivity of alcohol dehydrogenase 2, an enzyme that helps break down alcohol, might contribute to hangover headaches.

Previous PostMaking Lifestyle Changes to Avoid Headaches

In many cases, researchers say it’s more a matter of individual triggers or other factors that coincide with your alcohol consumption, like stress. A person may experience migraine after drinking if they are susceptible to it. Some people may experience an alcohol-related migraine between 30 minutes and 3 hours after drinking. 2021 research also linked lifestyle factors with alcohol drinking and smoking to cluster headaches and their severity. Making sure to drink plenty of water during and after alcohol consumption can decrease the chance of headaches. As a result, a female’s blood alcohol concentration tends to be higher, making it more likely for females to experience headaches and hangovers.

  • 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.
  • On the other hand, the probability of migraine attack when there was no intake on day‐2 was similar regardless of whether there was alcohol intake on day‐1 (Figure 1A,B).
  • A person should try keeping a migraine diary for a few weeks to observe trends in their headache patterns.
  • There are a variety of compounds in alcohol that can cause post-alcohol related headaches.

Preventing a headache when drinking can be easier than you think. You are going to lose lots of fluids if you drink a lot of alcohol, so try to cut down on the quantity. Perhaps slip in a glass of water for every glass of alcohol you drink, preventing dehydration. To begin, if you are suffering from an immediate alcohol-induced headache, you should stop drinking right away. Switch to water so you can rehydrate yourself and avoid the negative effects of dehydration. However, there isn’t currently enough research to conclusively say why this is the case.

Drink Water

Dehydration triggers some migraine cases; therefore, drinking plenty of water can help, even after the fact. Drinking water helps replenish your fluids and flush the alcohol out of your system. If you tend to get migraines within three hours or less of drinking, this might work best for you. 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. However, if you already have a headache, it is a good idea to stop drinking.

This condition causes blood vessels in the pancreas to swell and become inflamed. This makes you susceptible to diseases because your body loses the ability to fight off infections. Alcohol consumption causes a range of different physical symptoms. Catherine is a dedicated freelance health and science writer committed to excellence and professionalism.

Yes, alcohol is the direct cause of headaches in a lot of instances. If you start suffering from a headache during or after drinking alcohol, the chances are it was caused by the alcohol in your system. Gaining a greater understanding of these headaches can be key in battling them.

  • Ethanol is the primary toxin responsible for why alcohol makes you drunk.
  • We know that if we treat the underlying cause, we can make great strides in helping migraine patients live pain-free.
  • Furthermore, remember that your weight, age, and body composition also affect alcohol metabolism.
  • Having another drink may temporarily curb withdrawal symptoms and make you feel better.

Early effects of alcohol can dull sensations and have an analgesic effect, but as alcohol leaves the body it can have the opposite effect and actually increase sensitivity to pain. 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. Vasodilation may trigger migraine attacks in certain individuals. This is especially true for people prone to headaches or migraine without alcohol. While numerous chemicals-related factors can trigger a headache after drinking alcohol, stress can also be a possible cause.

Table 3 shows the distribution of daily alcoholic beverage consumption. Stop drinking completely when you’ve reached your limit (or before then). Hangovers vary in severity and symptoms from person to person and episode to episode. In addition, some people may be born with a genetic predisposition to developing worse hangovers than others. So, before consuming alcohol, you can eat certain foods or stay hydrated to prevent an alcohol-induced headache and possible migraine.

Any liquid (except alcohol!) that you find palatable is acceptable, such as boullion, chicken soup, sports drinks, or water. You can avoid alcohol-related headaches by eating before consuming any type of alcohol or just being dehydrated with water. So, if you have high blood pressure, avoid consuming liquor because you’re prone to migraine or tension headaches. Drinking any type of alcohol in excess, including beer, wine, or liquor, can cause headaches. If migraine headaches continue to cause you grief, look beyond home remedies. At the National Headache Institute, we investigate to find the underlying causes of migraine and headaches.

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