Author: Gary Jackson

Alcohol intolerance Symptoms & causes

Red wine strongly inhibits the binding of 5-HT to 5-HT1 receptors; white wine possesses this ability to a much lesser extent [47]. Studies on red wine-sensitive subjects, in order to show a mediation of induced headache by some types of 5-HT2 receptors, give inconclusive results [42]. In this light, direct or indirect (by 5-HT release) stimulation of 5-HT2 receptors was supposed to be the mechanism of headache induced by some serotonergic agonists ([60], for review). The relation between tyramine and migraine has been studied most extensively.

Alcohol has different effects on the body depending on when you drink it. These are called immediate and delayed alcohol-induced headaches. 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.

Can Alcohol Trigger Migraine Headaches?

However, in other countries (France, Italy) white wine (in France also champagne) is viewed as the major culprit [5, 6]. In addition, another study reported a surprisingly higher correlation of spirits and sparkling wine to migraine attack, compared to other alcoholic drinks. Low doses of alcohol during meals significantly lower the frequency of induced-attacks and the alcoholic consumption during stress was related to higher migraine attack frequency [37]. While some report beer as a trigger [19, 24], others found no association [30, 31, 34, 37].

Still, in population-based studies in various countries, including the U.S., Japan and Italy, researchers found that fewer people with migraine consume alcohol than those without migraine. This indicates that people with migraine and other headache diseases may be more likely to give up alcohol because they perceive it as a possible migraine trigger. These findings suggest that red wine contains a migraine-provoking agent that is neither alcohol (because vodka is pure alcohol) nor tyramine (for the negligible content in wine). Recently another study group reported a high percentage of patients referring red wine as the most frequent trigger between alcoholic drinks [24] but subsequently it did not report any of them as a trigger [30].

When an Alcohol-Induced Headache Strikes

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. Researchers don’t know exactly what causes alcohol-induced migraine attacks. While in some cases it is likely the presence of alcohol itself, it is also possible that specific components of different alcoholic drinks act as triggers.

can alcohol cause migraines

And researchers suggest that experiencing an unpleasant effect from drinking alcohol may alter alcohol consumption. Nausea and/or vomiting is just one of many symptoms a person living with migraine might experience. Because migraine is a highly nuanced disease, it is important to learn about all possible symptoms that may appear before, during or after a migraine attack, including less common ones such as aura.