Headache after a small amount of alcohol: Causes
A 5-ounce glass of wine (or 12 ounces of beer or a 1.5-fluid-ounce shot) may be OK every now and then, so long as it doesn’t bring on a headache. If it does, you’ll need to drink less or stay away from all alcohol. Even a small amount of alcohol can elevate blood pressure, trigger inflammation and peptide release, and suppress glutamate activity in the brain, leading to tension headaches. Try to take a meal to prevent possible headaches before drinking alcohol. Having a meal keeps the alcohol in your stomach longer as it’s absorbed more slowly. Many people prone to migraines tend to have more concerns with hangovers or this delayed alcohol-induced headaches.
- The type of beer you drink and the quality of the brew can significantly impact whether you experience a headache afterward.
- However, all ADs provoke headache and the type of beverage most frequently consumed in a country will probably be the type of ADs most commonly reported to trigger headache.
- You should not rely upon the content provided in this article for specific medical advice.
- The role of dietary triggers has been well reviewed previously .
- You’ll wake up with a heavy head and feel striking pain like someone banging inside your head.
- But sometimes, alcohol ingestion can induce a headache, within as little as three hours after consumption.
If you do notice a pattern, especially with particular types of alcohol over others, you may choose to avoid the offending drinks. Avoid darker-colored alcoholic beverages.Experiments have shown that clear liquors, such as vodka and gin, tend to cause hangovers less frequently than dark ones, such as whiskey, red wine, and tequila. The main form of alcohol in alcoholic beverages is ethanol, but the darker liquors contain chemically related compounds , including methanol.
Alcohol as a trigger factor
alcohol and headaches too much can trigger migraines, and possibly other types of headaches—such as cluster headaches and tension headaches—in people who are already susceptible to these issues. Such headaches can occur while you are drinking, or a few hours after—even if you’ve had as little as one drink. Quantity is definitely a 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. Five studies report ADs as TH trigger in approximately the same percentage (30%) of MO patients .
However, alcohol potently inhibited, in itself, diamine oxidase and may activate the release on histamine from mast cells. No differences exist between male and females [17, 22,27–29] in alcohol susceptibility. It has been noted in some studies that in less than 30% of people, red wine triggers headache no matter the number of drinks consumed. White wine and sparkling wines have not been shown to have the same effect on headache. Individuals who are already prone to have migraine headaches should be especially aware of alcohol-induced migraines. Roughly 3 in 10 migraine sufferers report that alcohol is a trigger at least some of the time.
Alcohol and migraine: what should we tell patients? Current Pain and Headache Reports, June 2011.
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. Some experiments show that alcohol have analgesic effect in the early hours after their administration, which is the amount of time ADs have been reported to trigger MO, MA, and CH. In fact, rats that received dural stimulation followed by alcohol showed an initial analgesic effect within the first 2 h after alcohol ingestion; however, 4–6 h later, their pain sensitivity increased.
You can avoid alcohol-related headaches by eating before consuming any type of alcohol or just being dehydrated with water. The best way to avoid a hangover headache is to limit how much alcohol you drink in one sitting. Still, we’ve also got some tips that can help you reduce your chances of having a headache, and a few to ease your pain in case you’ve already got one. You can make this happen by drinking lots of water to neutralize the alcohol inside your body and hydrate you.
Causes of hangover headache
These chemicals can often trigger headaches, alter chemicals in the body, and induce the hangover effect if consumed in excess. Some scientific studies show that toxic chemicals, like congeners, found in alcoholic beverages might be the culprit in hangover headaches, even in small amounts. Many people have experienced a headache after drinking alcohol — especially after drinking too much. While headaches are generally recognized as a side effect of alcohol in many people, its reputation as a migraine headache trigger may be overestimated. The most effective way to prevent tension headaches or a migraine trigger is abstinence. Not drinking is easier said than done for some, but it is the only proven, time-honored way to prevent alcohol-induced headache disorders.