Alcohol & Migraines: Can Drinking Cause a Migraine Headache?

If drinking alcohol appears to be a potent headache trigger for you, then, by all means, abstain from it. But if a cocktail with friends once in a while or a glass of wine with your dinner on Saturday night does not seem to trigger a bad headache, then it’s probably OK. Talk to your doctor about any concerns and about whether it is safe to drink alcohol with any medications you are taking. In fact, many headache sufferers abstain from alcohol or consume less than the general population.

alcohol and headaches

Reducing or eliminating alcohol may reduce the frequency of migraine attacks. It may also help eliminate triggers that tend to co-occur with drinking, such as dehydration and sleep deprivation.

Migraine Triggers Home

The more that you drink, the stronger and longer-lasting your hangover symptoms will be. Try to drink beer in moderation and stretch out drinking over several hours. Certain alcohol byproducts known as congeners can contribute to a hangover headache. They impede the breakdown of ethanol, making the effects of a hangover stronger and longer-lasting. They can also trigger stress hormones and inflammation, worsening an already brutal headache. Regardless of your background or drinking habits, enough of any type of beer will leave you with a hangover headache afterward.

Health alert! These food items may be giving you headaches – EasternEye – Eastern Eye

Health alert! These food items may be giving you headaches – EasternEye.

Posted: Wed, 14 Dec 2022 11:51:14 GMT [source]

In fact, a 2008 study found that about one-third of migraine sufferers listed alcohol as an occasional migraine trigger, whilst about 10% of sufferers said it triggered their migraines frequently. This can happen for a variety of reasons such as a sensitivity to ingredients in alcoholic drinks, alcohol flushing symptoms, and dehydration. 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.

Alcohol Withdrawal Headaches

Delayed alcohol-induced headaches are generally considered to be moderate and not as severe as a migraine, although they may still feel quite uncomfortable. Ethanol is also a diuretic, meaning it increases urination, which then leads to electrolyte loss and dehydration. Dehydration causes brain cells to contract temporarily, also resulting in headaches. Ethanol is found in every alcoholic drink, and is alcohol and headaches a key reason why any form or amount of alcohol may contribute to headaches. Congeners are minor compounds that occur in alcoholic beverages as a natural result of distilling and fermenting. Congeners are primarily found in darker liquors like brandy, whiskey, and wine. There are exceptions to this rule, however, such as tequila—a light-colored liquor that nevertheless carries high levels of congeners.

  • After excluding the three persons aged 80 years or more, 12,988 persons who were aged 20–79 years were adopted as the subjects of this study.
  • So, she recommends reducing alcohol intake or stopping drinking altogether if a patient does, indeed, find a connection between drinking and migraine.
  • Even MO induced experimentally by red wine developed for the most part within 3 h.
  • The number of drinks you have, what you are drinking, and what’s going on in your life may be the primary culprits, rather than alcohol itself.
  • Salhofer-Polanyi S, Frantal S, Brannath W, Seidel S, Wöber-Bingöl Ç, Wöber C PAMINA Study Group.

For example, if a patient has been consuming an average of 12 drinks per day for 10+ years, the baseline for blood alcohol levels has remained fairly steady for a very long time. In cases like this, it is less surprising to see prolonged withdrawal; and in cases of prolonged alcohol withdrawal, it is also common to see the symptoms take longer to go away – including anxiety and headache. Although migraine sufferers consider red wine the principal migraine trigger, studies show that other alcoholic drinks are equally or more frequently the cause. Dr. Crystal said she finds that many of her patients have a sensitivity to alcohol. Others find that it is more likely to trigger migraine attacks during vulnerable periods—hormonal changes, stress, and weather changes, for example. So, she recommends reducing alcohol intake or stopping drinking altogether if a patient does, indeed, find a connection between drinking and migraine.

Harvard Health Blog

In addition, another study reported a surprisingly higher correlation of spirits and sparkling wine to migraine attack, compared to other alcoholic drinks. Low doses of alcohol during meals significantly lower the frequency of induced-attacks and the alcoholic consumption during stress was related to higher migraine attack frequency . While some report beer as a trigger , others found no association . 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 . Many studies in different countries show that alcohol is a headache trigger in high percentage of migraine subjects, both in the general population [15–17] and headache clinic population [18–22].

  • Put a cork in it.Even people who are not prone to headaches will get a headache after a night of heavy alcohol consumption.
  • Plenty of people experience pain and inflammation after a night of heavy drinking.
  • Drink in small amounts to the benefit of your heart but use caution with breast cancer risks.
  • Like so many other answers to science questions, “it depends.” Body weight and gender are very important factors.
  • About half of those with less common headache disorders, such as cluster headaches, paroxysmal hemicrania, hemicrania continua, and familial hemiplegic migraine, also notice that alcohol precipitates their headaches.

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