Author: James Anderson

Alcohol and migraine: Drinks to avoid, remedies, and more

can alcohol cause migraines

Migraine attacks are three times more prevalent in women, likely as a result of hormonal differences. Certainly genetic and environmental factors play a role in the development of migraine disease. Meaning if a parent has migraine, there’s about a 50 percent chance that a child may develop migraine as well. If you have migraine, certain factors can trigger an attack.

can alcohol cause migraines

Don’t give up on your search to find an integrative treatment that works for you. Our Resource Library is another great place to find information on these treatments. This will be helpful in guiding conversations with your doctor about your symptoms.

Anxiety disorders and depression are two of the most commonly reported mental illnesses among people who are diagnosed with migraine. By learning how migraine and mental health impact one another and ways to manage both, you can improve your quality of life. Learn more about the relationship between migraine and mental health in this AMF webinar. Light sensitivity is a common symptom of migraine (as is sensitivity to sounds or smells), but not everyone who has the disease will experience it.

No matter what you call it—a headache journal, migraine diary, headache tracker—keeping track of your symptoms can be a versatile tool to help better manage your health. It can help you identify patterns over time and help your doctor identify if you are experiencing migraine. It may be worth considering some treatment options to help you manage your symptoms. We recommend taking a look at our patient guides, which include useful information like how to talk to your doctor about migraine. Medication-overuse headaches occur when medications stop relieving pain and begin to cause headaches.

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Talk to your doctor about any concerns and about whether it is safe to drink alcohol with any medications you are taking. Vasodilation may trigger migraine attacks in certain individuals. This is especially true for people prone to headaches or migraine without alcohol. Or you might be fine until after your blood alcohol level returns to normal. This type of headache can happen to anyone, but people with migraines are more likely to get one.

  1. Tannin, a component in red wine, has been long considered the culprit.
  2. The S is for stress management to help manage migraine attacks triggered by stress.
  3. Bring that diary with you to your follow-up appointments with your doctor to review.
  4. It has also been proposed that alcohol triggers an inflammatory response that can lead to a headache.

You might have tried some alternative therapies, but did you know about these complementary and integrative treatments? For more information on alternative migraine treatments, visit our Resource Library. Although genetic factors influence the risk of having migraine, environmental triggers can cause episodes or increase their frequency. People who consume greater quantities of alcohol report more alcohol-related headaches, according to several studies. Then again, in some groups, alcohol appears to have protective effects against headaches.

Dehydration headache

Each symptom usually begins gradually, builds up over several minutes and can last up to 60 minutes. In fact, many headache sufferers abstain from alcohol or consume less than the general population. Often, alcohol-induced headaches also have characteristics that resemble your usual headaches, whether they are migraines, cluster headaches, or tension headaches.

can alcohol cause migraines

It affects each person differently with a wide range of disease severity. Some have infrequent attacks, but others may have frequent disabling attacks. 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.

Does alcohol trigger a headache?

A 2016 review notes that alcohol may trigger a tension headache, especially if a person also has migraine. The research found that 21% of people with migraine say that alcohol is a tension headache trigger, compared with just 2% of people without migraine. If you regularly have signs and symptoms of migraine, keep a record of your attacks and how you treated them. Then make an appointment with your health care provider to discuss your headaches.

In many cases, researchers say it’s more a matter of individual triggers or other factors that coincide with your alcohol consumption, like stress. Taking painkillers too often can trigger serious medication-overuse headaches. The risk seems to be highest with aspirin, acetaminophen (Tylenol, others) and caffeine combinations.

Changes in the brainstem and its interactions with the trigeminal nerve, a major pain pathway, might be involved. So might imbalances in brain chemicals — including serotonin, which helps regulate pain in your nervous system. You’ll soon start receiving the latest Mayo Clinic health information you requested in your inbox. If you have persistent lightheadedness or vomiting, seek medical attention. Generally, these episodes resolve within a few hours but can last up to a whole day.

Migraine is complex, and other neurological conditions may cause migraine-like symptoms. For this reason, it is important to see a doctor about migraine symptoms or chronic headaches, with or without drinking. Headaches, including migraine, are treatable with the right combination of medication and lifestyle adjustments.

If you’re unsure whether alcohol is triggering your migraine, keep a detailed migraine journal that includes any foods and alcohol consumed throughout the week. This will be a valuable resource for you and your doctor to start identifying more specific migraine triggers. The difference between these two types of headaches is subtle. While anyone can experience DAIH, people with migraine are more susceptible.