Alcohol and Migraine: Your Guide

You could also search our Resources Library to learn more about symptoms, triggers and treatments. For example, drinking even a small amount of alcohol decreases sleep quality. Sleep deprivation can cause negative effects such as increased blood pressure or gastrointestinal discomfort. Avoiding drinking is the best way to prevent an alcohol-related headache.

alcohol and headaches

Include how you felt the prior 48 hours as well as any stress or anxiety you were under at the time. A migraine each time you have a night out should be good reason to abstain. After a night on the town, it’s easy to blame a headache on too much alcohol. But if you’re prone to migraine headaches, drinking even a small amount of alcohol can bring on an attack. Often, alcohol-induced headaches also have characteristics that resemble your usual headaches, whether they are migraines, cluster headaches, or tension headaches. Migraine is a disabling disease that no one should have to go through alone.

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However, researchers aren’t clear on exactly how or why alcohol can impact migraine. There is even some debate about whether alcohol itself or another chemical component in alcoholic drinks acts as the trigger. This uncertainty makes it difficult for many people who want to responsibly enjoy alcohol during the holidays or on special occasions to effectively manage their migraine symptoms. Like food triggers, the likelihood of a particular type of alcohol triggering a headache is probably different from person to person. If you suffer from migraines, talk with your doctor about how alcohol may affect you.

alcohol and headaches

The American Migraine Foundation Resource Library provides a wealth of articles designed to assist you in understanding your symptoms and treatment options. Light sensitivity is a common symptom of migraine (as is sensitivity to sounds or smells), but not everyone who has the disease will experience it. Identify other symptoms of migraine and find answers to Frequently Asked Questions to help you start the conversation about migraine with your primary care provider.

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Moderate to heavy drinkers can also benefit from medical supervision in the acute withdrawal stage. You don’t need to be diagnosed with alcohol use disorder in order to quit drinking. If alcohol is interfering with your health or your personal, financial, or professional life, consider quitting. While headaches can be felt differently by different people, the general definition of a headache is any pain or discomfort felt in one’s head or around the front of one’s face.

alcohol and headaches

Do you think you might react to certain alcoholic beverages more than others? Share your thoughts in the comments below, or start a discussion on MyMigraineTeam. Red wine’s propensity for causing headaches is usually attributed to the sulfates and sulfites it contains.

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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. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that people who mix alcohol and energy drinks are four times more likely to binge drink than those who don’t add an energy boost to their cocktail.

  • Many different factors can contribute to a hangover as a result of drinking.
  • ADs have been reported to trigger the principal types of primary headaches.
  • But the brewers have done it – the market is now full of excellent no- and low-strength beers.
  • Their global prevalence is estimated at 52% of the population [3].

A moderate risk of bias was assigned when the paper received positive answers between mentioned ranges. The assessments were conducted by three researchers (BB, PN and MS1) separately, then the fourth author (MWP) compared this data and made a final decision. Headaches are one of the most common neurological symptoms related to the sensation of pain [1] and cause a decrease in patients’ quality of life [2]. Their global prevalence is estimated at 52% of the population [3]. Scientists are still trying to understand how or why alcohol acts as a trigger for some people who suffer from migraines.

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Whether you have lived with migraine for a few months or a few decades, you know migraine can be a challenging experience. You should continue to seek proper medical attention and access information to help alleviate the burden. We recommend taking a look at our patient guides, which include useful information like how to talk to your doctor about migraine. Learn more about the short-term and long-term effects of alcohol. If a headache persists or worsens, visit a doctor for an examination and treatment recommendations. However, the research suggests that alcohol may not be the only trigger and may also depend on other factors.

  • While anyone can experience DAIH, people with migraine are more susceptible.
  • A moderate risk of bias was assigned when the paper received positive answers between mentioned ranges.
  • The exact mechanism behind this observation may indicate that migraine leads to alcohol-avoidance, rather than alcohol having any protective role against migraine.
  • If there is misleading data in questionnaires or during medical interviews, their overall subsequent analysis is also distorted.

A 2019 study recognized alcoholic beverages, especially red wine, as a migraine trigger factor for people with migraine. However, the type of alcoholic beverage that triggers these headaches is not clear. Chemicals called congeners are also a component of alcoholic drinks.

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Those with a wider circle of support have a better chance of staying sober. For people at low risk of complications, an office visit to your primary care provider, along with at-home monitoring and virtual office visits, may suffice. People at high risk of complications should enter a short-term in-patient detox program. During the 12- to 24-hour time frame after the last drink, most people will begin to have noticeable symptoms. These may still be mild, or the existing symptoms might increase in severity. Alcohol withdrawal symptoms range from mild but annoying to severe and life-threatening.

alcohol and headaches

Making sure to drink plenty of water during and after alcohol consumption can decrease the chance of headaches. Alcohol has different effects on the body depending on when you drink it. These are called immediate and delayed alcohol-induced headaches. 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.