Author: John Carter

Alcohol & Migraines: Can Drinking Cause a Migraine Headache?

can alcohol cause migraines

Expecting someone to push through or just take your mind off of it is never good advice. 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. Staying hydrated and keeping alcohol consumption to a minimum can decrease the chance of experiencing a headache.

Headaches, including migraine, are treatable with the right combination of medication and lifestyle adjustments. Alcohol can trigger headaches, including migraines, cluster headaches, and tension-type headaches. In fact, around 30 percent of people who experience recurrent migraines report alcohol as a trigger. Drinking even a small amount of alcohol can trigger headache symptoms in certain individuals. These symptoms may begin within minutes or hours of drinking and vary widely in severity. A 2019 study recognized alcoholic beverages, especially red wine, as a migraine trigger factor for people with migraine.

In still more reports, researchers have found that white wine and other alcoholic drinks can also cause migraine episodes, and perhaps even more frequently than red wine. Compounding matters, many people who report having a migraine attack after an alcoholic drink (or drinks) say an episode is not a given every time they raise a glass. Many people diagnosed with migraine work hard to figure out what causes (or triggers) their migraine attacks. For some, making dietary and lifestyle changes plays a critical role in managing symptoms and preventing future attacks.

Alcohol: A Trigger for Headaches and Migraines

It might be a daily oral medication, a monthly injection, or even injections and infusions that are delivered once every three months. The right medications combined with lifestyle changes can be helpful to improve the lives of those living with migraine. There are ways to manage and minimize the triggers of migraine using the SEEDS method. Improve your sleep routine by sticking to a specific schedule, reducing screens and distractions at night. Start small, even five minutes once a week and slowly increase the duration and frequency to make it a habit.

Medication-overuse headaches occur when medications stop relieving pain and begin to cause headaches. You then use more pain medication, which continues the cycle. Migraines might occur rarely or strike several times a month. Often, alcohol-induced headaches also have characteristics that resemble your usual headaches, whether they are migraines, cluster headaches, or tension headaches.

  1. However, the study author also cautions that no single factor causes all hangover headaches.
  2. People can talk with their doctors about possible methods to prevent or ease alcohol-induced headaches.
  3. The S is for stress management to help manage migraine attacks triggered by stress.
  4. Whether alcohol acts as a trigger is really a case-by-case basis for people with migraine.
  5. However, a headache after drinking will usually resolve itself over time.

They involve throbbing pain that generally occurs on one side of the head. As a result, a female’s blood alcohol concentration tends to be higher, making it more likely for females to experience headaches and hangovers. Alcohol can cause two different types of migraine headaches.

Migraine Cold Caps and Compression Hats: Can They Help?

Once it gets into your system, it is converted into a chemical that triggers migraine. Start your search with these complementary and integrative therapies. Then, consider exploring more treatment options with our other free resources. If your support system is lacking, consider joining a support group.

Because there is such a wide spectrum of disease severity with migraine, there’s also a wide spectrum of management plans. Some people need what we call an acute or a rescue treatment for infrequent migraine attacks. Whereas other people need both an acute and a preventive treatment plan. Preventive treatment reduces the frequency and severity of migraine attacks.

can alcohol cause migraines

You could get a headache within 30 minutes to 3 hours of drinking. Some people only sip a glass or two of wine before their head starts to throb. If a doctor has prescribed medication for your chronic migraine and you choose to move forward with that line of treatment, follow instructions carefully. It is crucial to take medications at the recommended times to ensure maximum effectiveness. Additionally, it is important to communicate with your doctor if you experience any adverse effects or if the medication does not seem to be working as expected.

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Given that, this may not be the best approach if you’re unwilling to trade discomfort for a personal “safe” list of beverages. People with migraine who treat their attacks with certain drugs should avoid drinking alcohol because it may interact poorly or dangerously with their medications. When mixed with alcohol, the common migraine medication Topamax (topiramate) can cause dizziness, problems with memory, sleepiness, and even depression.

It has also been proposed that alcohol triggers an inflammatory response that can lead to a headache. People can talk with their doctors about possible methods to prevent or ease alcohol-induced headaches. Research still needs to determine which remedy is most effective. However, a headache after drinking will usually resolve itself over time. In a 2017 study, researchers found that people of East Asian ancestry drink less than members of other groups. Certain genes may influence the tendency to drink and alcohol tolerance to quantities of alcohol.

Relaxation techniques may help ease stress-related migraines, and they may make migraine episodes feel less severe when they happen. People who get hangovers that trigger a migraine may wish to avoid alcohol with high levels of congeners. These are substances that the alcohol manufacturing process produces.

For example, if a person drinks liquor before beer, they are likely to feel the effects of the alcohol sooner. Many different factors can contribute to a hangover as a result of drinking. Drinks containing more alcohol and congeners may worsen the chance of developing a headache. Other criteria for a person to have a migraine diagnosis include nausea or vomiting and sensitivity to light or noise. Migraine typically begins slowly and may increase in severity if left untreated.