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363682 tn?1299492962
Headaches following alcohol consumption ...
   For around three or four years now, I have been suffering from headaches some two hours or more after the consumption of any amount of alcohol - although typically as few as two drinks upwards of any kind of alcohol.  The headaches come on slowly but persistently and follow a line from the left side of my neck across the top of my head to just above the left eyebrow.  They are not sharp pains but more of a constant 'throb' and can go on for hours.  Pain relief medication does nothing and the only relief I can get at all is the application of something topical like '4-Head' or the American 'Head-On'.  Although I have been a reasonably 'active' drinker in the past, if anything now, at the age of 61 (male), I rarely have more than two drinks at a time ... which is why I'm surprised at the onset of these headaches.  My own doctor has, thus-far, not taken it very seriously and tends to take the line that, after years of 'getting away with it, maybe you've finally developed an allergy!'  
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363682 tn?1299492962
   ALL comments about this welcome!  However - and I'm sure these are available in the USA too - I've tried sachets of Dioralyte (an oral electrolyte powder used in cases of dehydration here in the UK) both before and after alcohol ... and, in my case, it made no difference at all.
   I think I've now tried just about everything ... from the above to anti-histamines, topical and tablet analgesics, etc., etc., but, as I've also mentioned above, I have still been getting these headaches having been off the alcohol altogether for two months now - although nowhere near as bad.
   In my case, I'm sure it's linked to a back problem which may be exacerbated by alcohol because it only really gets noticeable when I sit at the same angle in the same seat (I know, I know ... there's an answer to THAT one!).
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Wow...

I have almost all of the symptoms listed by the group (I thought I was the only one).  Up till about 2 years ago I could drink with out a problem.  Now anytime after about 2 drinks a massive pain will run from the (right) side of my neck and up towards my eyebrow, starting slowly and then getting more and more painful.

No allergies or TMJ.  I take klonopin for anxiety.  I do sit crouched over at work, and have had some minor back issues, but like Mark said where does the alcohol come in to play then?

I've used every method mentioned in this thread with different amounts of success.  I now use ibuprofen when I can but it loses effect once you have to take 8 or more.  Most other painkillers seem to work, when used in the early stages of the migraine (I don't recommend you take tylenol and drink).  Later on it's prescription meds and Head-On.  I don't know why but that stuff makes the pain a lot more dulled.

Well, thanks guys for posting, my hats off to ya Mark.  Anyone have any tricks to getting rid of these things? please post.
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I have suffered from headaches my whole life and alcohol is a definite trigger.  I had unsuccessfully seen many doctors about my condition and was only able to get the proper diagnosis of my problem a few years back.  I now know that I get what are known as "cluster headaches".  They are definitely triggered if I consume alcohol.  I have been helped by taking a blood pressure medication called verapamil which minimizes the frequency and severity of the headaches.  As I said previously I never drink alcohol because it is a definite trigger.  When I do get the headaches I take imatrex, which generally relieves the headache pain within 30-60 minutes.  Please check the web for more information about "cluster headaches" or suicide headaches as they are sometimes called.  Here is a good link for general information.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cluster_headache
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I'm 32 and have been having the same problem for a couple of years now, i've decided to look into it and have come across this thread. 1 beer and i'm fine, 2 and i get the migranes, and they really hurt! I too have found different beers effect me more than others, some beers i have to keep away from. I've often wondered if they add aspartame (arterficial sweetners, known to cause many problems from headaches to coma and death) to certain beers, i have certainly noticed a different taste to these beers over others. I get headaches from drinks containing  aspartame, which is understandable, Aspartame collects in the body as Methanol, which in turn breaks down into formic acid and formaldehyde. I'm sure that the adding of aspartame to alcoholic drinks is the cause, which would explain why everyone is being effected now, when they could drink till they passed out before, often with not much of a hangover the morning after. Oh yeah, if i drink past the headaches, the hangover the next morning is like hell, i'm unable to move, my head hurts that much, i'm sweating because of overheating and dry-heaving what must be stomach lining, nothing that a traditional English breakfast and a coffee would fix!
I've just Googled "aspartame in beer", and it's in Bud, (noticed the comment above) maybe i will try and look into which breweries use it and which don't, and see if that helps. Hope i've thrown some light on the subject for you all, and hope you all find a way round this problem, as i do to. Darrell
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I'm 48 and have had migraines for 18 years.  Hormones, weather, stress...usual causes.  I rarely have periods anymore, and am retired - so the stress is almost non-existent.  Have been a social drinker since my 20s and only recently have had a problem with just 2 drinks with dinner causing a migraine.

I've recently had Botox injections in my neck and the base of my skull and was doing well until the last few days.  I want to be able to enjoy a drink out with my husband, but can't keep taking migraine abortive meds for prevention.  

Guess there aren't any answers, but I just wanted to put my 2 cents in and let people know there are a lot of us out here.
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768044 tn?1294227036
Hi grimmts,

Thank you for posting. How right you are! There are a lot of us out here!

I also cannot drink alcohol without getting a migraine headache. I am sorry that it is the same for you as well. It is sometimes not fun being a migraineur. :( But, at least we have each other for support. :)

May I ask when your last Botox Injections were? Because, the Botox Injections can wear off after 3 months. If it has been 3 months since your last Botox Injections, you may need to go back to your neurologist for another round of injections. If it's just time for more Botox, then you might be able to have a little bit of wine again. If not, then I am sorry and I understand how you feel about this. It can all be very frustrating, but I guess it is better to make the sacrifices and not be in pain (although it doesn't make it any less frustrating!).

Thanks again for writing in!

Keep in touch!

- marilee
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Hey Everyone! It looks like I am in the same boat as everyone else here. I'm pretty sure my problem is a histamine intolerance after researching online. It also would explain why Marks hay fever medication worked until he built up a tolerance to it (antihistamine). And it could explain why he was still getting headache after he stopped drinking alcohol since many foods are high in histamine.

I plan on starting a 4 week histamine free diet to see if this helps my problem. The only histamine free alcohols are plain vodka, gin, and white rum. Since I am not a hard liquor fan, this is saddening for me. But I will try anything at this point.

Here is a website that lists allowed and restricted foods and beverages that I found if anyone is interested to try. I will also keep you guys updated if this helped or not. http://www.urticaria.thunderworksinc.com/pages/lowhistamine.htm#allowedrestricted
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Any more botox users out there. What dos it cost?
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363682 tn?1299492962
   Well, I certainly think we're all circling around the actual answer somewhere amongst all these posts.  I don't take botox - although I may look as if I do! - but I am currently trying a chiropractor I've used before in the possible belief that, as most headaches can be put down to a back problem, this may be the root of mine.
   To date, I would say that, after all the loud clicking from my neck and spine, my 'pain-after-alcohol' has reduced by around 20%-30% - altho' I'm still getting the odd 'thumper' from time to time.
   Strangely enough, as I may have mentioned before, exerting finger pressure (in my case) to the left of my neck vertebrae relieved the headache considerably.  And this is where the chiropractor is now working - without me telling him this.
   With the added application of a topical analgesic like '4-Head' (here in the UK) or 'Head-On' (still in the US?) to the forehead and neck, it's really starting to get the pain under control now.
   Not sure in closing that this is the total answer, but anything that alleviates it at all is OK in my book.  Will keep in touch with progress - or otherwise.
   Hope everyone enjoyed Christmas regardless?   Cheers!!!
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Hi,

I have read your post and the thread afterwards. I am writing after again waking with a throbbing head following 2 glasses of white wine. I used to be able to put away alcohol no problem but for the past year have been drinking juices because of the effects of small amounts alcohol. This is difficult especially at this time of year when everyone is drinking. I always end up as the driver because I don't want to drink.

One thing that has not been mentioned is if this is hereditary- I am 41 and can remember that when I started drinking my father would barely have a drop. I just assumed it was because he was old!! but now thinking more it could be he suffered the same and couldn't drink.

Would be interested to hear from others on this point.

HAPPY NEW YEAR
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I also get these headaches (on my right side most of the time). I get a very stiff neck with them as well. It is rather annoying as sometimes I can drink a 3 pints and other times about 5 before it kicks in. I'm glad that I am not the only one who suffers from this. I have found that a migraine tablet and heat on my neck and pressure on my nose right by eye helps.
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Hello all, very seldom ever had a headache until recently I tried to cut sugar out of my diet at least for coffee and such, used stevia and started getting bad headaches, switched to agave syrup, same thing. now i am back to less proccessed sugars or honey which seems to be okay. Now in the last couple of months I seem to get a headache from alchohol, wine, beer, and tonight rye and seven. Never been much of a drinker at all. have not started any new meds. Blood pressure problem under control, bad psoriasis and reflux disease. All my headaches seem to happen on the left side of my head and can be from mild to fairly severe. Had a sinus operation a few years back and still seem to get some infection on and off. Presently 51 yrs old. Has anyone gotten any medical answers at all.
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I'm 28 and for the past year get a headache after 1 or 2 drinks.  Never was a problem before.  The only thing that cures it for me is vigourous exercise.  Exedrin, motrin ect. don't even touch it.  The headaches start shortly after finishing my drinks, but are worst the next morning.  I find it strange that 2 drinks would effect me 8-12 hours later!  thinking of giving up the drink completely.  
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363682 tn?1299492962
   It's interesting to see just how many people are starting to suffer from these symptoms.  The question I originally asked myself was:  has this problem always been around or has something been added to our alcohol?(!!!).  
   Now, I think the answer lies somewhere within these posts.  I'm currently having a chiropractor work on my neck and posture ... but the jury's still out on the end results of that.
   One of the websites I visited recently (http://www.nyheadache.com/index.php?Itemid=81&id=44&option=com_content&task=view) has this to say:-  
"Alcohol, especially red wine, is commonly identified as a headache trigger by migraine sufferers.  It can either trigger a headache shortly after drinking, or it can cause a hangover headache the next morning.  Headaches that occur within several hours after drinking alcohol are probably the result of blood vessel dilation and constriction.  Wine also contains substances such as tyramine, histamine, and sulfites, all of which can trigger headaches...".  
   It seems to me that a high number of posts on here touch on some, if not all, of the points from this website's findings.  But, although it seems that existing migraine sufferers will have this problem regardless, it seems that my own version of it seems to center around posture - and maybe resulting 'blood vessel dilation'?
   I'm sure that between us we'll get to find a mutually-beneficial set of answers to this - but the question I keep asking myself is why none of the medics in the community can help with this problem whilst we're trying to solve it ourselves?
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It is refreshing to see that there are other people out there suffering from the same symptoms I do! Unfortunately, I am only 23 years old and this problem has worsened over the years. I always would get really bad hangovers when I would binge drink. Now, after 1-2 drinks, I have a throbbing migraine. It is unilateral, on my right side and radiates down my neck. It is very frustrating considering I am in college and all of my close friends drink socially. Plus, I LOVE wine. It has gotten way worse in recent months.

I looked into it and found this article: http://www.foodreactions.org/intolerance/alcohol/index.html
Basically it looks like we may have a deficiency in the ALDH enzyme that breaks down alcohol. The same deficiency commonly seen in asians that leads to the "asian glow." It is also known as alcohol intolerance. Yay for us! Unfortunately, I feel there is no way to avoid it. I have tried everything from drinking water/gatorade before and while drinking, taking ibuprofen before I drink (very bad for you), sticking with the same liquor all night- the grain or the vine. Absolutely nothing helps.

If you guys hear of anything that may help, please let me know! I am a pharmacist and have exhausted every medical option I could think of. Unfortunately, looks like I may need to cut out alcohol entirely. Good luck all!
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363682 tn?1299492962
No !!!  ANYTHING but that !!!
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I just came across this thread as I was searching for alcoholic drinks that may NOT cause migraines.  Over the past few years, I've noticed if I over drink I will always wake up with a splitting headache/migraine and have it for at least 2 days.  I have even had to call out of work because of it!  Mine tends to be over my right eye - like an arrow going through my head.  Red wine has always been my drink of choice but I've read that red wine could be the worst.  I started reading a book on migraines - http://www.amazon.com/Heal-Your-Headache-Program-Taking/dp/0761125663 - the author says red wine may have more triggers than white wine.  To be honest, I'm frightened to try different options but I do love a drink or two.  I'm only 29 so this is really depressing for me to learn that I may no longer be able to drink alcohol.  The author does say we all have a certain threshold and we have to be careful that we don't go over that.. so sometimes, alcohol may NOT actually give you a migraine if you avoided other triggers.  I have heard that Coors Lite doesn't have (any or as much) sulfites, so maybe that wouldn't be so bad.  I have tried drinking red wine and alternating it with water and that helps, or maybe it just slows down my drinking - but again this last round of migraines was so bad I'm actually scared.
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I too am in the same boat. I drink once or twice a week, 1 or 2 drinks each time. It seems that as I drink less and less over the years the problem gets intensified when I do have a drink. Interesting that Dawnyelle5 stated that vodka, rum and gin are histamine free. I make my own Mojito's or rum and Coke's, without issue. If I have a beer or champagne, and sometimes wine, I get the headache in the top of the neck region through the temples and into the eyes. Light sensitivity and some hot flushing, even very mild nausea can follow - a light form of a migrane I guess you could say. I

do notice like someone else mentioned when I eat spicy food this is worse. Chili's happy hour did this to me 4 consecutive times now. The meal consists of their hot wings, chips and salsa, and Coors light. I tried Blue Moon last time and it wasn't quite as bad.

Danno9899: I have cut back on more sugar recently as well. This is starting to get in to alternative medicine a bit, but I'm wondering if your issue is centered around yeast. Yeast feed off of sugar, and reducing it causes a "die off reaction" from the yeast dying, which is described by flu-like symptoms and most notable a headache. Not sure how the alcohol comes into play, although alcohol does further lower blood sugar. When I drink more sugary drinks I don't get much of the headache. Have you been on lots of antibiotics? Those folks are at higher risk for more yeast issues. The treatment for this is supposed to be probiotics daily, but you will feel like crap for several weeks after about 2 weeks of taking them, until the good bacteria take over the yeast you have accumulated. Anti yeast pills like Diflucan can also help. This might be a connection? Since I started taking probiotics a few months ago my headache drinking problem has gotten much worse.
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I too am in the same boat. I drink once or twice a week, 1 or 2 drinks each time. It seems that as I drink less and less over the years the problem gets intensified when I do have a drink. Interesting that Dawnyelle5 stated that vodka, rum and gin are histamine free. I make my own Mojito's or rum and Coke's, without issue. If I have a beer or champagne, and sometimes wine, I get the headache in the top of the neck region through the temples and into the eyes. Light sensitivity and some hot flushing, even very mild nausea can follow - a light form of a migrane I guess you could say. I

do notice like someone else mentioned when I eat spicy food this is worse. Chili's happy hour did this to me 4 consecutive times now. The meal consists of their hot wings, chips and salsa, and Coors light. I tried Blue Moon last time and it wasn't quite as bad.

Danno9899: I have cut back on more sugar recently as well. This is starting to get in to alternative medicine a bit, but I'm wondering if your issue is centered around yeast. Yeast feed off of sugar, and reducing it causes a "die off reaction" from the yeast dying, which is described by flu-like symptoms and most notable a headache. Not sure how the alcohol comes into play, although alcohol does further lower blood sugar. When I drink more sugary drinks I don't get much of the headache. Have you been on lots of antibiotics? Those folks are at higher risk for more yeast issues. The treatment for this is supposed to be probiotics daily, but you will feel like crap for several weeks after about 2 weeks of taking them, until the good bacteria take over the yeast you have accumulated. Anti yeast pills like Diflucan can also help. This might be a connection? Since I started taking probiotics a few months ago my headache drinking problem has gotten much worse.
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I too am in the same boat. I drink once or twice a week, 1 or 2 drinks each time. It seems that as I drink less and less over the years the problem gets intensified when I do have a drink. Interesting that Dawnyelle5 stated that vodka, rum and gin are histamine free. I make my own Mojito's or rum and Coke's, without issue. If I have a beer or champagne, and sometimes wine, I get the headache in the top of the neck region through the temples and into the eyes. Light sensitivity and some hot flushing, even very mild nausea can follow - a light form of a migrane I guess you could say. I

do notice like someone else mentioned when I eat spicy food this is worse. Chili's happy hour did this to me 4 consecutive times now. The meal consists of their hot wings, chips and salsa, and Coors light. I tried Blue Moon last time and it wasn't quite as bad.

Danno9899: I have cut back on more sugar recently as well. This is starting to get in to alternative medicine a bit, but I'm wondering if your issue is centered around yeast. Yeast feed off of sugar, and reducing it causes a "die off reaction" from the yeast dying, which is described by flu-like symptoms and most notable a headache. Not sure how the alcohol comes into play, although alcohol does further lower blood sugar. When I drink more sugary drinks I don't get much of the headache. Have you been on lots of antibiotics? Those folks are at higher risk for more yeast issues. The treatment for this is supposed to be probiotics daily, but you will feel like crap for several weeks after about 2 weeks of taking them, until the good bacteria take over the yeast you have accumulated. Anti yeast pills like Diflucan can also help. This might be a connection? Since I started taking probiotics a few months ago my headache drinking problem has gotten much worse.
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