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Hangover Headaches

When you suddenly stop or cut back on drinking after chronic or prolonged use of alcohol, you might experience the physical and psychological symptoms of alcohol withdrawal. This study is in accordance with a larger population-based study performed to detect cardiovascular risk factor in migraine, showing significantly less alcohol consumption in migraine than in control subjects . No differences exist between migraine and tension headache in the frequency of alcohol as a trigger [17, 18, 20, 24–26, 29] .

There’s no proof that drinking raw eggs or downing hot sauce will get rid of your morning-after migraine faster. Downing more alcohol (the “hair of the dog” theory) won’t help either.


If a person’s body is producing less vasopressin, that can result in dehydration, which can cause a headache. 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. Zebenholzer K, Frantal S, Pablik E, Lieba-Samal D, Salhofer-Polanyi S, Wöber-Bingöl Ç, et al. Reliability of assessing lifestyle and trigger factors in patients with migraine – Findings from the PAMINA study. To define this important issue, we have reviewed alcohol as a trigger of primary headaches and discussed the possible correlation of the results with the principal pathogenetic theories of the primary headaches. Like so many other answers to science questions, “it depends.” Body weight and gender are very important factors.

When I drink wine presently, it’s quite often just red wine, normally only 1-2 half-glasses w/a dinner, with water going with the supper as well. Best case scenario, the medications have diminished recurrence. One companion’s migraines are activated by a few kinds of smells/aromas also, a trigger that is for the most part out of her control.

What Causes Headaches After Drinking Alcohol?

Alcohol causes your blood vessels to expand, which can lead to headaches. Alcohol triggers an inflammatory response from your immune system. Your immune system may trigger certain agents that commonly produce physical symptoms, such as an inability to concentrate, memory problems, decreased appetite and loss of interest in usual activities. There is no proven cure for a hangover headache, but there are some methods for improving the symptoms of a hangover.

alcohol cause headaches

There really is no set answer, it depends on many factors including how well your body is recovering, and if you have been able to completely abstain from alcohol. Alcohol withdrawal usually lasts about 7-14 days, however, for those that experience protracted withdrawal, prolonged withdrawal, and PAWS, the anxiety and headaches could take months or even a year to fully subside. In a recent study of college students, participants on average experienced five of 13 symptoms, with headache, extreme thirst and dehydration, and fatigue being the most common. A family history of alcohol abuse made the study participants more vulnerable to the most severe effects.

How Does Alcohol Affect The Brain And The Rest Of The Body?

Alcohol withdrawal symptoms are some of the strongest and most dangerous withdrawal symptoms of any drug. They usually start out mild and depending on the amount and usage of alcohol consumption, can become life-threatening. Wine and other grape products have been shown to have an endothelium-dependent vaso-relaxing activity, probably via nitric oxide -mediated pathway; ethanol and resveratrol cause no relaxation . Alcohol-free red wine polyphenol extract increases endothelial NO release .

alcohol cause headaches

More than a third of the participants said that alcohol had this effect, with about 78% naming red wine as the most common alcohol trigger. This vasodilatation could explain the immediate headache provoked by high initial blood/brain levels. Vasodilatation cannot explain Delayed Alcohol-Induced Headache as the symptom of alcohol hangover appears when alcohol levels decline to reach zero. If vasodilatation is not responsible for alcohol-related headache, what other explanations might explain this effect?

Prolonged Drinking Means You May Need Treatment To Minimize Symptoms

This review was performed using a literature search on PubMed from to December 2014. Search terms of “alcohol,” “wine,” “food trigger,” “dietary trigger,” Sober living houses “migraine,” “headache” were used. Additional sources were identified via manual search of bibliographies, references lists, and previous peer reviews.

alcohol cause headaches

Prolonged alcohol withdrawal is fairly rare but more common in those that have been drinking steadily for long periods of time. 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. Research shows that people with migraine may also experience related symptoms during a hangover. 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. One is the differentiation between hangover headache and migraine attack triggered by alcohol in diagnosed migraine patients.

Dehydration Headache

This was supposed to be due to previous experiences of alcohol as headache trigger, but one study does not agree . Certainly, if a less alcohol preference in migraine patients will be confirmed in large controlled studies, it merits a correlation with 5-HT system, which is involved in migraine pathogenesis in some way.

alcohol cause headaches

In fact, an inverse relationship between density and metabolic functioning of regional brain 5-HT system and alcohol preference was repeatedly reported in animal studies [69–72]. Another important question, previously discussed, is whether alcohol per se or some components of AD are responsible of headache provocation. However, the analgesic activity of alcohol deserve to be briefly discussed because not easily compatible with headache triggered by ADs. In fact, the anesthetic and analgesic properties of alcohol have been recorded for centuries and alcohol is frequently used as self-medication in pain syndromes.

What Is Meloxicam? Use, Side Effects, And Treatment

This alcohol and sugar combo will make you feel worse the following day. While this is true, some forms of alcohol produce the worst headaches among others.

The ethanol then moves into the bloodstream, into the brain’s nerve cells, and throughout the body, especially the liver. American Migraine Foundation, alcohol may trigger a migraine attack. If you find that a small amount of alcohol does not trigger a migraine attack or a hangover headache, consult your doctor alcohol and headaches about appropriate amounts to consume. However, keep in mind that the medication you take to prevent and treat migraines may interact with alcohol. Your doctor can examine your medical history and conditions as well as any medications you take, to determine how much alcohol, if any, is safe for you to consume.

Other types of headaches, including severe headaches, can occur as a result of alcohol consumption. A 2019 study surveyed people with migraine who drank alcohol. Of the 1,547 participants, 783 said that alcohol was a trigger, and 195 were not sure. People who experienced migraine with alcohol were more likely to have migraine with aura and to experience more migraine days and more frequent attacks.

  • This chemical stimulates the immune system to produce more and more histamine, which boosts inflammation.
  • Marxen M, Gan G, Schwarz D, Mennigen E, Pilhatsch M, Zimmermann US, et al.
  • The manufacturer suggests using topiramate with caution in people with impaired liver function.
  • While the results in MO and CH are in relative agreement, those in MA and TH are discordant.
  • Prospective analysis of factors related to migraine aura – The PAMINA study.

Talk to your doctor before loading up on either, though, as each may interact with other drugs you are taking, including alcohol. NSAIDs in excess can cause liver damage and analgesics in excess may cause kidney-damage. Byproducts of alcohol metabolism can also contribute to headaches. Among them, acetaldehyde, which has been found to make various neurons involved in pain perception more sensitive, and acetate, another byproduct of alcohol metabolism that has been shown to cause headaches in rodents. Drinking can also contribute to dehydration, which is itself a risk factor for headaches.

12 Tips for Enjoying the Holidays When You Have Migraine – Everyday Health

12 Tips for Enjoying the Holidays When You Have Migraine.

Posted: Wed, 24 Nov 2021 15:43:01 GMT [source]

It’s another good source of fructose and it helps the body process alcohol faster. Sign up for our Health Tip of the Day newsletter, and receive daily tips that will help you live your healthiest life. Generally, these episodes resolve within a few hours but can last up to a whole day. Join our online community to learn more about addiction and treatment.

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