Why Does Alcohol Give Me a Headache? A Doctor’s Tips for Imbibing

While some report beer as a trigger [19, 24], others found no association [30, 31, 34, 37]. Many people with migraine find that certain factors trigger their symptoms. Although any type of alcohol can trigger a migraine, people who experience regular migraine attacks cite red wine as the most frequent culprit. Quantity is definitely a can alcohol cause migraines factor in whether drinking alcohol will trigger a headache, and the quality of alcohol probably plays a role as well. We do not know for sure, though, how any specific type of alcoholic beverage will affect people with migraine. This data suggests that there may be a misperception that drinks containing alcohol cause migraine attacks.

  • Also, if your symptoms seem to be linked to an allergy or a medication you’re taking, see your doctor.
  • Did you know that 20% of women say they avoid pregnancy because of migraine?
  • This will be a valuable resource for you and your doctor to start identifying more specific migraine triggers.
  • Drinking alcohol while taking NSAIDs can increase the risk of serious side effects, like gastrointestinal bleeding.

Alternative migraine therapies can work alongside traditional treatments to reduce migraine attack frequency and lessen the impact of symptoms. 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. Treatment options vary, from acute treatment to relieve symptoms to preventive treatment to reduce the number of attacks you experience. There are also behavioral treatment options and lifestyle changes that can help. People who cannot stop drinking should talk with a doctor about treatment for alcohol use disorder, which is a serious but treatable condition.

What Factors Affect the Risk of an Alcohol-Induced Headache?

Finding a community of people who understand exactly what you’re going through is like being welcomed home after a long, tiring day. Our Move Against Migraine support group is a place for you to connect with others (via Facebook) who live with migraine to exchange stories and find community and support. No matter what you call it—a headache journal, migraine diary, headache tracker—keeping track of your symptoms can be a versatile tool to help better manage your health. It can help you identify patterns over time and help your doctor identify if you are experiencing migraine. It’s critical to have a support network of understanding people who can not only check in on you but also empathize with your experience. Then consider joining our Move Against Migraine support group on Facebook so you can connect with others who live with migraine.

However, the type of alcoholic beverage that triggers these headaches is not clear. We also examine the types of headache alcohol can trigger and the types of alcohol likely to cause more headaches. It has been suggested that a tendency to experience alcohol-induced headaches could be genetic. And researchers suggest that experiencing an unpleasant effect from drinking alcohol may alter alcohol consumption.

Be Cautious With Pain Medication

Attacks can last for several hours or days after the headache stage eases. This is known as the postdrome stage and can make you feel very fatigued and ‘hungover’. Drinking while you feel like this may make you feel worse and prolong your attack, so it’s best not to drink until you feel completely back to normal. Another study shows that of the 429 migraine patients, 17% are sensitive to all forms of alcohol, 11.2% to red wine but not to white wine or clear spirits, while 28% are sensitive to beer (none only to this alone) [19]. No differences exist between male and females [17, 22,27–29] in alcohol susceptibility.

  • Since wines are made from a variety of grapes, preservatives, and other ingredients, there are many potential culprits.
  • Curiously, in some countries, the percentages of alcohol or wine as migraine triggers were negligible, 6.1 [25] and 1.4% [26], perhaps depending on the degree of alcohol habits.
  • While some people try to prevent headaches by taking over-the-counter pain medications before drinking, this can be dangerous.
  • Have a consistent schedule, get adequate sleep, and learn strategies to cope with the stresses of life using mindfulness and meditation.
  • You should not rely upon the content provided in this article for specific medical advice.
  • 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.

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