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Alcohol & Migraines: Can Drinking Cause a Migraine Headache?

By Sober Homes

Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality concluded that topiramate could reduce the number of drinking days, heavy drinking days, and drinks per day based on two trials. Some people drink a glass of water in between glasses of wine, for example. To determine whether or not beer triggers an attack, allow yourself a modest portion, and wait between 30 minutes and 3 hours to see if an attack occurs. Although not a true allergy, in some cases, what seems to be alcohol intolerance might be your reaction to something in an alcoholic beverage — such as chemicals, grains or preservatives. Combining alcohol with certain medications also can cause reactions. But the exact cause of a migraine after a few glasses of red wine is likely multifaceted and may be due to a combo of the following causes. The tyramine content of both the red and white wine was negligible 1–2 mg/L in comparison with the tyramine doses utilized in oral challenge studies (100–200 mg). No differences were reported in another population study , and in a small study where, however, some bias is present, that is different periods of evaluation, controls with medical illnesses, etc . Avoid further dehydration by drinking liquids (other than alcohol!) — water, chicken soup, Gatorade, whatever works for you. If you’ve consumed too much alcohol and have to work the next day, what do you do?

Moderate amounts of alcohol can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. If it often triggers a Migraine attack for you, though, the cons may outweigh the pros. If you’ve called out red wine as a common headache trigger, it may be best to eliminate vin rouge from your drink cabinet altogether. Not surprisingly, overusing alcohol to the point where you get high or drunk does increase the risk of headaches. Sober Home If your headaches happen only when you drink too much, you need to think about whether your experience is due to the alcohol itself ( a “hangover”) or whether you actually have a migraine headache. It should be kept in mind that it’s not the alcohol itself that causes the migraine. Instead, scientists believe that thetyraminein red wine and theyeastin beer are the most likely triggers.

headachejournal.onlinelibrary.wiley.com

A higher percentage of patients (over 50%) referring ADs as a trigger is found in CH. The role of alcohol in other types of primary headaches is less uniformly defined. The same Danish group reports that the typical triggers of FHM are the same of MA, including ADs. Moreover, the larger study also includes TH patients with coexisting migrainous headaches. This wide variability may results from the similar phenotypic features between MO and TH while MA and CH have more distinctive characteristics. ADs have been reported to trigger even more rare forms of primary headaches such as FHM, hemicrania continua, and paroxysmal hemicranias. A recent review reports that in retrospective studies performed in different countries, about one-third of migraine patients indicate alcohol as a migraine trigger, and all ADs may act as trigger. Fourteen studies reveal a percentage higher than 20% (mean 31.9%) . However, some of these studies show that alcohol acts as a trigger at least occasionally in a high percentage, but as a frequent/consistent trigger in only 10% of patients. In other eight studies performed in India, Japan, Turkey, China, and Italy, the percentages of alcohol or wine as migraine without aura trigger are very low (0–11%).
why does alcohol cause migraines
Zoethout RW, de Kam ML, Dahan A, Cohen AF, van Gerven JM. A comparison of the central nervous system effects of alcohol at pseudo-steady state in Caucasian and expatriate Japanese healthy male volunteers. Gilman JM, Ramchandani VA, Crouss T, Hommer DW. Subjective and neural responses to intravenous alcohol in young adults with light and heavy drinking patterns. Burstein R, Jakubowski M. Unitary hypothesis for multiple triggers of the pain and strain of migraine. Ashina M, Tfelt-Hansen P, Dalgaard P, Olesen J. Lack of correlation between vasodilatation and pharmacologically induced immediate headache in healthy subjects. Marxen M, Gan G, Schwarz D, Mennigen E, Pilhatsch why does alcohol cause migraines M, Zimmermann US, et al. Acute effects of alcohol on brain perfusion monitored with arterial spin labeling magnetic resonance imaging in young adults. Yadav RK, Kalita J, Misra UK. A study of triggers of migraine in India. Kuster GW, da Silva AL, Aquino CH, Ziviani LF, Domingues RB. Frequency and features of delayed alcohol-induced headache among university students. 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. Talk to your healthcare provider if you have questions about Topamax and alcohol interactions or about alcohol in combination with your medical conditions.

Health Solutions

If you do find yourself with a hangover turned Migraine hangover, check out some of our no-nonsense remedies. If you think red wine is causing your headaches, try keeping a food journal to help you pinpoint your unique triggers. Since red wine has more tannins than white wine, tannins are a commonly called-out culprit for those fateful migraine why does alcohol cause migraines episodes. These plant chemicals give your body the green light to produce serotonin , which can also cause headaches in some people. The level of histamines, tannins, and sulfites in red wine may also cause headaches and migraine. Like other alcohols, red wine can dilate blood vessels in your brain, which can provoke a headache.

  • And researchers suggest that experiencing an unpleasant effect from drinking alcohol may alter alcohol consumption.
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  • This website is not a substitute for personal medical advice from your licensed physician.
  • The same observations made on histamine are valid for sulfites.

Is alcohol or another component of the drink responsible for triggering headache? To provoke a migraine attack a combination of factors may be necessary. These may include a given blood/brain alcohol level with degree of brain sensitivity along with the presence or not of other triggers. A small study from 2001 found that 16 people with wine intolerance who took antihistamines (anti-allergy meds) before drinking red wine had no notable improvements from the treatment. The researchers concluded that there’s no correlation between wine sensitivity/intolerance and the drink’s histamine content. Flavonoid phenols and tannins, two very similar components, are by-products of alcohol fermentation and give wine its distinctive character. Other known alcohol by-products, such as acetone, acetaldehyde, fuseil oil, and furfural, have been suggested as responsible for triggering migraines. Darker colored drinks such as red wine, whiskey, and brandy have more of these by-products than lighter drinks such as white wine, vodka, or gin. But without scientific proof, alcohol itself continues to be considered a migraine trigger until specific components and causes can be identified. The fundamental question remains – is it alcohol or another component of the drink that is responsible for triggering headaches?

Red Wine Migraine and Headache: Why Red Wine Makes You Feel Not So Fine

Compared to other types of alcohol, red wine’s relatively high tannin and histamine content may play a role in headaches and migraine. Science hasn’t been able to prove the exact cause of red wine-induced migraine, but alcohol in general and certain compounds in red wine are linked to causing migraine attacks and headaches. Even the smallest amount of alcohol can trigger a cluster headache attack for people prone to these kinds of headaches. This is common in people with Asian flush who have trouble breaking down a toxic alcoholic metabolite called acetaldehyde. Not being able to breakdown this toxincauses the body to produce more histamines. This can trigger migraines after drinking only a small amount of alcohol. We asked the experts about the relationship between drinking and headaches to determine why and how alcohol specifically triggers headaches or migraine attacks.

Research from 2014 also concluded that wine — especially red wine — is a very common migraine trigger compared to other alcohols. A European study of more than 2,000 migraine-experiencing patients found that over 35% of them reported alcohol as a trigger for their migraine symptoms. Also, over 25% of migraine patients reported abstaining from alcohol due to the assumed trigger effects that alcohol has on migraine symptoms. The same is true in America, where migraine patients consume less alcohol than the general public. Fortunately, it’s easy to treat an alcohol-induced headache with plenty of rest, water, and TLC.