People with even a mild alcohol intolerance should avoid alcohol. An alcohol allergy is a toxic reaction to alcohol, or ethanol more specifically. Allergies to alcohol are fairly uncommon but can be fatally serious. The effects of alcohol on the body, as a central nervous system depressant, are hardly beneficial. In addition to physical and mental impairment, flushed skin, nausea, and headaches are typical bodily reactions to alcohol consumption. These symptoms lead many to misdiagnose themselves with an alcohol allergy – instead of an intolerance to ingredients within alcohol.
If you have a reaction while out in public, it is important to assess the situation and treat it accordingly. Lie down if possible and contact a healthcare professional as soon as possible, even if it does not seem to be life-threatening.
What Are The Symptoms Of An Alcohol Allergy?
If you have a true alcohol allergy, even small amounts of alcohol can cause symptoms. People often call alcohol intolerance an alcohol allergy, and vice versa. People who have a true alcohol allergy should avoid drinking alcohol entirely. In some cases, reactions can be triggered by a true allergy to a grain such as corn, wheat or rye or to another substance in alcoholic beverages. Alcohol intolerance can cause immediate, uncomfortable reactions after you drink alcohol. The most common signs and symptoms are stuffy nose and skin flushing.
Be extra wary if you’re asthmatic; 10 percent of people with asthma have a bad allergic reaction to alcohol because of the sulfites present. Unfortunately, there are no drugs or treatments to avoid or lessen the symptoms of alcohol intolerance. The most common symptoms of alcohol intolerance are nasal congestion and skin flushing. More serious symptoms are wheezing, worsening of asthma, rashes, headaches, stomach pain, nausea and heartburn.
How Is Alcohol Intolerance Diagnosed?
We offer medically assisted detox from alcohol, which can help flush the body of toxins and reactions to alcohol intolerance, as well as make the withdrawal process more pleasant. While this is a rule of thumb, it’s especially important if you have alcohol intolerance. The most effective treatment is to avoid alcohol and alcohol-based foods altogether. If you have alcohol intolerance and consume an alcoholic beverage, the most immediate symptom you might notice is your skin going flush and feeling warm.
- However, in people with an alcohol allergy, the system mistakenly produces antibodies to attack alcohol following exposure to the substance, triggering various symptoms.
- Normally your body produces an enzyme called diamine oxidase to break histamine down.
- This is the same chemical involved in a number of allergic reactions in the body.
This condition can also make pre-existing asthma worse, so it’s important to keep an eye on your symptoms. Restricted breathing or worsening asthma can start for some with only one alcoholic beverage. Those with existing heart conditions will also need to be careful before you drink alcohol in case alcohol intolerance could exacerbate their pre-existing conditions. Another common symptom you may experience is a stuffy nose or nasal congestion.
Alcohol Allergy Diagnosis And Treatment Options
Alcoholic drinks may contain allergens, which can range from wheat to egg proteins. You may be able to drink alcohol if you can avoid the specific ingredient that makes you feel unwell.
If you are someone who has food allergies or asthma, you are more likely to have a reaction to alcohol. Your symptoms that you experience to alcohol can be similar to the reaction you experience when consuming the ingredient you are allergic to. But it’s important to learn about alcohol allergies, because although they’re rare, they do exist. Just like any other allergy, they shouldn’t be ignored — leaving them untreated for a long time could lead to severe allergic reactions that could land you in the hospital. You’ll also feel a lot better if you’re aware of what to avoid going forward, and what to drink more and less of.
Is Alcohol Intolerance The Same As An Alcohol Allergy?
This presents an issue for situations in which you feel pressure to drink. The easiest solution is to be a good advocate for yourself.
This allows alcohol to stay in your system longer and generally leads to a more heightened feeling of intoxication. While many of us “react” to onions with watery eyes, true onion allergy is quite rare. Feeling badly after too much alcohol alcohol alergy symptoms could be a sign that, well, you drank too much alcohol! But it’s possible your hangover is a symptom of something else. The process by which the body becomes addicted to alcohol is different from the body’s response to an allergen.
Who Might Have Alcohol Intolerance?
Alcohol intolerance occurs when your body doesn’t have the proper enzymes to break down the toxins in alcohol. This is caused by inherited traits most often found in Asians. If drinking triggers digestive distress, over-the-counter medications are also helpful. For mild symptoms, an over-the-counter oral antihistamine could be enough to prevent symptoms. Alcohol intolerance can develop suddenly and at any point in your life. If someone has a gene variant responsible for producing the enzyme, their body does not produce enough to ensure that the alcohol they consume is digested properly.
In a few cases, alcohol intolerance can be a sign of a more serious problem. If you think you have it, talk with your doctor and find out what’s causing it. Hives, or urticaria, are itchy, raised welts that are found on the skin.
Does Your Hangover Mean Youre Allergic To Alcohol?
The best course of action is abstinence from alcohol, in general. Benadryl, though commonly used as an antihistamine, causes drowsiness and is not safe to take with any amount of alcohol. If you’ve had more than one drink, be sure only to take non-drowsy histamines and avoid drinking for the rest of the night.
Meanwhile, little research has been done on the effects of distilled spirits made from wheat on people with wheat allergy, but the European Food Safety Authority considers them safe. In some cases, over-the-counter or prescribed medications might help alleviate symptoms. If they suspect you have a true allergy to alcohol or another ingredient in alcoholic beverages, they will likely conduct allergy testing.
However, the information provided by Addiction Group is not a substitute for professional treatment advice. All Addiction Group content is medically reviewed or fact checked to ensure as much factual accuracy as possible. If the allergy is linked with a particular type of alcohol component, treatment could be as simple as switching to a different drink. You can Addiction overcome any struggle – including your substance abuse problem – if you have the right help from qualified professionals. Give yourself the freedom of recovery by turning things around today. Some people with sulfite intolerance have had success switching to “no sulfites added” wines. Find Help For Your Addiction You don’t have to overcome your addiction alone.