Why Do I Always Get A Headache When I Drink Alcohol

You’re getting a headache after drinking alcohol because of dehydration. Alcohol is known as a diuretic. When you take it, it can act on the kidneys and influence your peeing rate. Therefore, you’ll visit the toilets more often, and you might excrete more fluids than you consume. Losing fluids contribute largely to dehydration which causes headache. Food allergies are a leading cause of migraine attacks, and wine is one of the foods that can trigger migraine headaches. Your chiropractor in Murfreesboro, TN will help you get relief from your painful headaches with their effective chiropractic treatment plan. At Revolution Chiropractic Murfreesboro, food allergy testing is known as “igG,” is performed to ascertain if there are some food items that are triggering the headache. If the test is positive, we work at finding out a list of the exact foods that cause your headache.

Can Alcohol Trigger A Migraine?

Many acts can trigger a migraine. Stress, food, and weather are some factors that trigger a migraine. Even though its exact role in causing migraine isn’t fully understood, alcohol can also trigger migraines. About one-third of people who suffer migraines have claimed that alcohol is a trigger.

For instance, Drinking alcohol can relax the blood vessels, causing increased blood flow to the brain. This is known to cause headaches and migraines.

Ethanol, a major ingredient in most alcohol, is a natural diuretic. It can convert into a chemical when it gets into the system, triggering migraine. Also, Congeners, alcohol byproducts have been linked to migraines and headaches.

So, If you’re susceptible to migraine, taking alcohol, even in small quantities, can trigger an attack.

Two Types of Alcohol-Induced Headache

Immediate Alcohol-Induced Headaches (Cocktail Headache)

This form of alcohol-induced headache happens shortly after consuming alcohol. It’s not common, but most patients have reported it happening within a few hours of taking an alcoholic beverage or drink. However, it usually resolves within 72 hours.

Those suffering from this type of alcohol-induced headache will experience at least one of the following symptoms:

  • Pulsating or throbbing sensation, especially on both sides of the hair.
  • Patients usually feel like the brain is a drum.
  • Headaches increase in intensity, and it’s typically aggravated by physical activity.

It’s worth stating even though this type of headache is much rarer, it can easily be triggered with a small amount of alcohol.

Delayed Alcohol-Induced Headaches

The delayed alcohol-induced headache is the most common type of headache. It is also known as a hangover headache. It usually occurs around 12 hours or the following day after drinking alcohol. The blood alcohol level would have fallen during this period and reached zero.

This form of headache shares similar symptoms to the immediate headache. However, in most cases, the pain is duller and gives a throbbing sensation. Anybody can experience this delayed headache, but people with migraines are more prone to it. Migraine patients can experience it with moderate consumption of alcoholic drinks or beverages.

Wine Is A Frequent Food Trigger For Headaches

Many people think it’s the histamine in the wine that can lead to headaches. Unfortunately, there isn’t much-supporting evidence. Some people think it’s the sulfites in wine that cause the headache. Again, there’s not much evidence for that.

According to NCBI research, tannins in wine are a major player when it comes to headaches. They add flavor to the wine, and they have an antioxidant effect. But one of the things that they’re finding is that the tannins increase serotonin release in your body. Serotonin is a feel-good hormone in your body. But for some people, an increase in serotonin levels in the body can lead to headaches, which could be quite detrimental and very painful. So it’s important to pay attention to whether specific foods you eat are triggering your headaches.

If you drink a glass of wine and get a headache that is much worse than a typical hangover headache that you get after having many wine glasses. In that case, wine is likely the trigger for your headache. And it is better to stay away from it.

Dr. Oscar Noriega DC explaining - can wine cause headache

Which Type Of Alcohol Is Least Likely To Cause A Headache?

The relationship between headache and alcohol consumption are well known. All kinds of alcoholic drinks have ethanol as the active ingredient. However, Congeners, toxic side products, are also formed during fermentation. The body struggles to break these toxic products down. So alcoholic drinks with high congeners have high chances of causing headaches. Vodka drinks contain the least amount of Congeners, while Brandy and red wine include the most.

Keep a Diary to Understand Your Triggers

What triggers migraines in each individual differs. What affects one person may be totally fine for the other person. To know what triggers you, keep a diary. This diary will help identify migraine patterns.

Some things worth documenting include foods, alcoholic drinks, caffeine, stress level, and weather. If you keep a diary, ensure you record these things as they can be linked to migraines.

For women, menstruation is also an essential factor. You might notice that you’re more prone to migraine during your menstrual period. With time, you’ll understand how to play safe and avoid migraine to a minimum.

Contact Revolution Chiropractic Murfreesboro For Food Allergy Testing

We suggest conducting a test so that you get a clear picture of what’s going on. Sometimes it may not be food allergies that trigger your headache. You may be suffering from a tension headache. In that case, we can also use chiropractic adjustments or some tools for headache relief.

You can do many things, including chiropractic care, food shifts, and many lifestyle changes to avoid these headaches. Visit Revolution Chiropractic Murfreesboro or call 615-867-7693 to learn more. We will conduct tests to find the trigger for your headache. We will then determine lifestyle changes and give dietary changes that help reduce your headache attacks and improve your overall health.

Watch Video To Know About Headache Triggers


About The Author
Dr. Oscar Noriega DC
Dr. Oscar Noriega, DC, is a trusted chiropractor who has been practicing for over ten years at Revolution Chiropractic Murfreesboro. He holds a Doctor of Chiropractic degree from Northwestern Health Sciences University. Dr. Noriega is also a member of the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association and the Tennessee Chiropractic Association. He resides in Murfreesboro with his wife and two children.