Red Wine Migraine and Headache: Causes and Cures

If this happens, it is more helpful to treat the condition as a migraine, rather than as a sinus headache or sinus infection. Even though your pain is legit, there’s no concrete scientific link between migraine and red wine. Compared to other types of alcohol, red wine’s relatively high tannin and histamine content may play a role in headaches and migraine. According to the American Migraine Foundation, all alcoholic drinks can provoke either an immediate or delayed headache. Photo by Zach Rowlandson on UnsplashBecause your body views alcohol as a toxic substance, it’s perfectly normal to experience a headache from drinking alcohol. Alcohol’s effects on your body include dehydration, inflammation, reduced sleep quality, and the buildup of toxic substances—all of which can give you a headache. 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.

Migraine and cluster headache sufferers can be especially sensitive to alcohol, even in small amounts. Drinking 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. Drinking any type of alcohol can lead you to some intense side effects that will not feel good in the morning. Believe it or not, beer is the culprit for the leading cause of experiencing a cluster of headaches.

Alcohol-induced headaches: Evidence for a central mechanism?

If soon-after or hangover headaches do occur, treat them with anti-inflammatory agents or an anti-migraine agent if you have them available. Most people who experience the soon-after headache have had headaches in the past, usually migraine or related headaches. These headaches are actually genetic — the brain biology changes so that it overreacts to both internal or external changes, such as a swig from the bottle. The other type of headache is the morning-after headache that occurs several hours after drinking has ceased and is usually part of the hangover. During a headache or migraine, you may be very sensitive to light, especially bright and flashing ones. Research shows that slow, flickering lights are more irritating than rapid ones.

  • However, once the effects of a drink have worn off, serotonin levels drop off, and our body struggles to maintain balance.
  • While some people can get a headache after drinking just a small amount of alcohol, others might require more.
  • Having another drink may temporarily curb withdrawal symptoms and make you feel better.
  • If you regularly shut the blinds, turn off lights, or retreat into a dark corner of the room, you could be sensitive to light.
  • Your immune system also releases histamines during an allergic reaction.

This is similar to crediting a new symptom to a drug they are taking at that moment. If you have an allergy, your nasal or respiratory tissues will react by becoming inflamed, which can increase pressure on your sinuses. If you have frequent migraines, you may also have a sensitive nervous system that triggers attacks provoked by specific smells or lighting situations. You may get a migraine or other headache not because of something you are allergic to, but because that allergen places stress on your body, which can then cause a headache.

Alcohol as a trigger factor

Although genetic factors influence the risk of having migraine, environmental triggers can cause episodes or increase their frequency. There has been some research into the effect alcohol has in increasing blood flow to certain parts of the brain, but whether this causes or relieves headache symptoms depends largely on the type of headache.

Why do I get a headache after 1 drink?

The single main reason that alcohol is the cause of a headache is that it is what is known as a diuretic. In simple terms, this means that it has an effect on the kidneys which causes the level of fluid that you are taking in to become lower than what your body is putting out.

To avoid headaches caused by flickering light, try using anti-glare screens on computer monitors and daylight spectrum florescent bulbs. Talk with your doctor to determine if you can drink alcohol at all, and if so, how much you can safely drink depending on your symptoms, medical history, and any medications you take.

Alcohol and Headaches

The same Danish group reports that the typical triggers of FHM are the same of MA, including ADs. Moreover, the larger study also includes TH patients with coexisting migrainous headaches. This wide variability may results from the similar phenotypic features between MO and TH while MA and CH have more distinctive characteristics. ADs have been reported to trigger even more rare forms of primary headaches such as FHM, hemicrania continua, and paroxysmal hemicranias. A recent review reports that in retrospective studies performed in different countries, about one-third of migraine patients indicate alcohol as a migraine trigger, and all ADs may act as trigger. Fourteen studies reveal a percentage higher than 20% (mean 31.9%) . However, some of these studies show that alcohol acts as a trigger at least occasionally in a high percentage, but as a frequent/consistent trigger in only 10% of patients.

There are two major kinds of headaches that might appear after a night — or afternoon — of drinking. The first I call the soon-after headache, which occurs within one to four hours of drinking some but not all alcoholic beverages. If you’ve called out red wine as a common headache trigger, it may be best to eliminate vin rouge from your drink cabinet altogether. Having a mild intolerance to alcohol or something else in alcoholic beverages might not require a trip to a doctor.

The Basics of Alcohol-Induced Headaches

More often, a alcohol-related headaches won’t manifest until your blood alcohol level begins to drop. A delayed alcohol-induced headache won’t usually begin until 5 to 12 hours after your last drink. You can usually hope to see symptoms subside within 72 hours of their onset.

does alcohol cause migraines

That way, you can benefit from the best possible treatment approach to your migraine headaches. 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. For people with migraine, alcohol can trigger an attack anywhere does alcohol cause migraines from 30 minutes to three hours after consumption, according to the American Migraine Foundation. This is the typical type of headache induced by alcohol, compared with delayed alcohol-induced headache that appears the next morning — also known as the hangover headache. Like food triggers, the likelihood of a particular type of alcohol triggering a headache is probably different from person to person.

As a vasodilator, ethanol can cause the tiny veins in your brain to expand. As blood vessels swell, they can stretch out the surrounding nerves and send pain signals to the brain, leading to moderate to severe headaches.

  • Some people get a headache after drinking even the smallest amount of alcohol.
  • Compared to other types of alcohol, red wine’s relatively high tannin and histamine content may play a role in headaches and migraine.
  • Science hasn’t been able to prove the exact cause of red wine-induced migraine, but alcohol in general and certain compounds in red wine are linked to causing migraine attacks and headaches.
  • Fortunately, beer is fairly low in congeners, especially the lighter varieties.
  • It is a liver-produced by-product of trazodone, an often-used sleeping aid.

For someone who has a histamine intolerance, the histamine level in an alcoholic drink can produce an allergic response, which may include migraines. For some people that also includes alcohol, maybe just certain kinds. National Library of Medicine, one-third of migraine sufferers point to alcohol as a trigger. The relation between tyramine and migraine has been studied most extensively. Half were pioneering studies performed by Hanington et al. (see ) which showed that oral tyramine provoked headaches in dietary migraine patients but not in nondietary migraine or controls. However, two conclusive negative studies were found on the relation between oral tyramine and headache attack in dietary and nondietary migraine. Alcohol-induced headaches can be treated with an over-the-counter pain reliever, such as Tylenol or Advil .

Goadsby PJ. Recent advances in understanding migraine mechanisms, molecules and therapeutics. Conte A, Attilia ML, Gilio F, Iacovelli E, Frasca V, Bettolo CM, et al. Sances G, Tassorelli C, Pucci E, Ghiotto N, Sandrini G, Nappi G. Reliability of the nitroglycerin provocative test in the diagnosis of neurovascular headaches. Littlewood JT, Gibb C, Glover V, Sandler M, Davies PT, Rose FC. Red wine as a cause of migraine. Keep reading to learn more about the connection between migraine and headache. While the information on this website is doctor reviewed, it is not meant to act as or take the place of advice from a healthcare professional.

  • However, if the role of ADs in triggering MA and TH will be confirmed, a common trigger site should be considered.
  • Alcohol-induced headaches can last for a few hours, though they may linger for the rest of the day.
  • Furthermore, migraine patients can develop headache with the ingestion of modest amounts of alcohol.
  • As long as you don’t eat meals containing other triggers, this is one of the best things you can do.

Simply avoid alcohol, limit how much you drink or avoid certain types of alcoholic beverages. Drinking may somewhat curb withdrawal symptoms if you wake up with an immediate alcohol-induced headache, but it is usually only a temporary remedy. This is not advised since it can easily lead to dependency and cause severe addiction, which can result in worse symptoms than headaches. Staying hydrated, even while drinking, is important and can be very beneficial.

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