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!'
Phillynative may actually be on to something here. If indeed up to 75-80% of the adult population are now affected by some form of HPV (due to its rapid spread), this could explain the increased number of headache sufferers in recent years. Techezee hypothesized this in his post on 3/22/10, but there was no follow up from there. Would be nice to know where he obtained his information.
I am a return poster from August 14 and August 29 2010. I’ve continued to follow the message board with great interest and have continued to experiment with all option. Back on October 31, 2009, Glenn2009 posted success for his “cluster” headaches through the use of Verapamil, a calcium channel blocker. I am pleased to say I have joined the Verapamil club, and in my case, it has really worked wonders!
Obviously, what works for me won’t work for everyone. However, in my case, determining the right sort of headache was the key. Many doctors misdiagnose cluster headaches as they are much less common than migraine headaches, particularly for a chronic sufferer as I apparently had become. My doctor was no different, as statistically speaking, he was playing the odds with the symptoms he was presented. Obviously, alcohol triggers both types of headaches and migraines are much more common that cluster headaches.
It would seem the followers of this blog should pay attention to the following to determine if they are suffering from cluster headaches rather than migraine headaches. From my limited understanding of the two, it would appear that one can distinguish a cluster headache as follows: 1) it is unilateral in nature with a pulling or tearing sensation usually behind one eye and virtually always on the same side of the head; 2) it tends to recur at certain times of the day (evening in my case); 3) the sufferer often attempts to seek relief through rapid pacing, running, or vigorous exercise (as opposed to a migraine where one might prefer to lie down in a quiet, dark corner); 4) relief through rapid breathing or oxygen inhalation; 5) the high intensity of the pain (thus referred to as “suicide” headaches); 6) accelerated relief through drinking a couple of cups of coffee combined with aspirin or Ibuprofen; 7) the ability to get beyond a “threshold” or cyclical period whereupon continued drinking no longer causes the intense headaches; and 8) the headaches generally do not linger all night or well into the next day as appears to be the case with many migraine sufferers (although they may “recur” during the late evening or morning hours, most cluster headaches seem to subside after 1-3 hours).
Cluster headache sufferers are more common among drinkers and smokers. Men seem to suffer in much higher numbers than women. I found smoking did not actually trigger or increase the frequency of my headaches, but it certainly reduced the recovery time. After 27 years, I gave up cigarettes (hopefully) for good a few months back. If oxygen to the brain is a remedy for the headaches, I figure depriving the brain of oxygen on a semi-regular basis couldn’t be helping matters. I made the right choice regardless, even though it seemed to do nothing to prevent the headaches from occurring.
From what I have read, the preferred treatment for cluster headaches is Verapamil, with a Prednisone starter for about a week. This is what I requested of my doctor over two months ago now, and it seems to have worked wonders. I have taken the Verapamil with no headaches or discernible side effects since that time.
I am no longer scared to “try” a drink, and I have remained headache free throughout. On a couple of occasions following the first couple of drinks, I have experienced a slight sensation as if a mild headache might be starting, but this simply fades away. I still take two precautionary Ibuprofen prior to drinking. I try to remain active, and try to mix in some high carbohydrate food beforehand. If I can’t eat beforehand, I have found a good starter drink to be a White Russian (just Kahlua and milk without the vodka). I believe this works well because the high carb. content serves as a decent stomach liner. After a couple of these, I can move to other types of drinks with little to no difficulty. I keep the Imitrex on hand, but am pleased to say I have not had to resort to taking a single Imitrex for over two months now.
Verapamil is used as a preventative medication for migraines as well, but I believe it has greater success with cluster headaches. For those that feel they suffer from cluster headaches rather than migraines, you may wish to at least explore this approach with your doctor. I’m truly glad I did!
That's pretty comprehensive jay44111.
Off the top of my (layman's) head, I immediately searched Verapamil here in the UK and got the following:- " ... Verapamil is used to treat hypertension (high blood pressure) and angina (chest pain). Do not stop taking verapamil, without speaking to your doctor first. The most common side effects are flushing (redness of the face), headache and dizziness, but these usually improve after a few days.... "
So, although anything that stops these headaches in their tracks has to be welcomed, for someone like me, Verapamil, would almost certainly have contra-indications (maybe dangerously so) with existing medication of mine.
A really interesting and apparently well-thought-out addition to these posts though. Will obviously add to my collation of everyone's thoughts and remedies (as soon as I can press on with it), but it would appear to be VERY worthy of a cautious individual assessment first, do you not think?
I've been trying everything (as mentioned in previous post) to no avail - my migraines were getting to be more days of the month than not. Since that post I had also quit caffeine 100% and that didnt do it either.
I went to the heavy metal toxins doctor and instead of getting tested for heavy metals he recommended a nutritionist. I figured it couldn’t hurt – especially knowing that this is something I haven’t tried yet. The nutritionist asked a bunch of questions and did a few tests and said it could be one or both of these things:
1. My organs (liver, kidney, gall bladder & lymph nodes is what she determined from the tests) are "congested", meaning they're not taking to some of the stuff I put into my body very well (like alcohol).
2. There may be one or more foods that are triggers.
So she had me do this:
1. Do a cleanse for 1 month that is different for each person, but for me it consists of this daily routine:
- A concoction of ½ tsp of each of these medications from BioResource Inc’s Basic Detoxification & Drainage Kit: Apo Hepat (for liver function), Itires (for lymphatic function), and Renelix (for kidney function) in a full glass of water first thing in the morning, at least 15 minutes before breakfast
- A probiotic pill with breakfast and dinner each day
- 3000mg of glycine each day not with food
- at least one quart of water every day
- one quart/day of this mixture: water, juice from one lemon, 1/8 tsp cayenne, and Stevia (optional). It tastes kind of like Crystal Light.
2. Eliminate several things from my diet for one month, and then we’ll reintroduce things one at a time later to see if any of them are triggers. Those things are gluten, dairy and refined sugar. So I can basically only eat protein and produce, and there are several gluten-free alternatives if I feel the need for bread and snacks, so it hasn’t been too bad at all. And it’s been very nice to my waistline.
Here’s my experience so far, about 3 weeks into it:
Two separate days early on – maybe about a week and a half into it, I ate at restaurants where I tried to keep it to protein and produce, but something I had triggered the beginning of the migraine feeling on both days (I think it may have been soy but I’m not sure yet). A simple 20mg-400mg of ibuprofin got rid of it. That is unheard of for me – I typically have migraines for at least 3 days and sometimes have to double up on Maxalt (dangerous).
Now, three weeks into this cleanse & diet I went out to a party and had four drinks over the course of the night (1 whiskey and 3 vodka). Typically that would be a monster of a migraine lasting 3-6 days (I’ve had them up to 14 days long). Not only did I not have a migraine, I didn’t even have a smidgeon of a headache.
This is serious progress. I definitely contribute it to the organ cleanse, and it’s possible that either gluten or dairy are triggers as well – which I’ll find out when we start to reintroduce them.
It’s worth noting that I found this book recently that I’m about halfway through, called Heal Your Headache, that mentions a similar approach – eliminating things from your diet to determine what the culprit might be. The author has been treating migraine for decades, and took the same approach as most docs not knowing how to help their migraine patients, by administering medications (painkillers, Imitrex, etc) and calling it a day. It turns out he started to see the relationships between various food triggers and other triggers (lack of sleep, barometric pressure, hormones) and the headaches, and realized that there is a way to prevent them through determining the triggers. The book goes into a lot of detail, including why sometimes one thing might trigger it one time and not another, and several examples of other cases. It’s fascinating.
His dietary approach also says to eliminate a lot of foods and then reintroduce them to determine the triggers, but they are a bit different than what my nutritionist has me on (he eliminates a lot more things, but not specifically gluten). He also doesn’t mention cleansing the organs first – which I do believe is key in my progress.
What I would recommend for migraine sufferers based on my experience in potentially beating this:
1. See a nutritionist about a cleanse that is right for you
2. Eliminate gluten, dairy, and choose your others from the Heal Your Headache book (some include certain fruits, nuts, soy, etc) for a month. Protein + Produce (meat, vegetables, beans, fruit and brown rice) is what I can eat in my elimination diet.
3. Reintroduce foods one at a time to see what might trigger it. Take note of the other triggers from the Heal Your Headache book that might add to the food triggers to “put you over the top” like lack of sleep, stress, etc.
I do hope others on this list find this helpful. After 10 years of this, and it only getting worse, I’ve been in denial that it might be a food trigger and I’ve ignored this approach. But the cleanse is fantastic (did I mention my waistline?) - maybe that is all I needed, although I assume there may be a dietary trigger as well.
i seem to be allergic to lager beer and cider only 2 pints or cans will start a migraine only found out this 8 month ago i was just wondering what is this tyramine stuff is it in all alcohol and can u get a treatment to combat the affects of tyramine i found out that vodka is ok to drink but not sure if its present in it any help much appreciated... Richie
(vodkas cost me a fortune on a night out lol)
So Two nights ago tied a long island ice tea. Didnt get to finish fully but felt the starts of a minor headache coming, popped an excedrin and went away.
The last night popped 3 mortrins around 830, then too two tylenol allergy pills about 915, began drinking around 10. Drank 6 bud lights drafts no one sing of a headache or migraine. Dont know what combinations worked but something worked. I have not been able to drink like that in more than a year, without getting such a headache and having to stop from being in pain...First time I had light beer too.
Instead of trying to medicate your headaches with aspirin, Advil or Tylenol, try using something like Tylenol SINUS. I have had the exact same thing you have described and a Sinus Headache medication is the ONLY thing that works for me. Good luck
I get this too. I am baffled. I used to drink fine, now am sure I have done damage. I AM 34.,I flush easily and have a stiff neck/throbbing headache from a night of excess. It has been a couple weeks and little to no relief. I googled tholis and found this thread.
I have horrible migraines after drinking everytime now. I have found a great drug that works for me a treat and rids my crippling headache in 30 mins. I know it doesnt work for everyone but you may as well look into it. I am in the UK and buy Imigran. The active ingredient is Sumatriptan. I hope this helps some of you out, it has done wonders for me. I did once read a post by a lady who passed out for 2 hours after taking it though so consult with your doctor first.
This has become a bit of a trans-Atlantic quest now. I am collating all the posts we've had on here over the past three years to see if we can glean some pointers or common factors. At first sight, the oft-used knee-jerk answer of 'well, you're just allergic to alcohol ... live with it' would seem difficult to dispute - but I think we're all coming around to the reasoning that there's a lot more to it than that. Keep the posts coming.
Just for the record, I am now trying ewagner's suggestion of a single Excedrin (a Google search for those in the UK) when I first start drinking and it really does seem to stave off the onslaught that used to follow. If there's any hint of a follow-up, an additional Excedrin seems to finish it off. So ... in my case, it's a mixture of Aspirin and Caffeine - but, as I've said many times before, medication is not the long-term answer as we all know ... even if the above does effect a temporary 'cure'.
Right there with you all. I used to enjoy beer. then, one-by-one I had to cut out all types because of the headache that followed within an hour of a single beer.
I switched to wine - first white had to go, then red for the same reasons.
But I still had my harder liquors, for a while anyway. Gin - out. Vodka - out. Bourbon - out. and finally whiskey. Heck, last drink I had (back in January) was 2 fingers of whiskey, neat and sipped over the course of a night. The next morning I was rewarded with a brutal headache.
I have asked my doctor about this and all he says is, "So don't drink.It may pass as you get older." I'm 41 years old. How much older do I need to be?
All I want to know is "What caused this to happen?"
I too get bad migraines (especially as I get older) after just a few drinks BUT not all the time. I travel a lot I find there are multiple factors:
1. Lack of water, dehydrations
2. Lack of adequate fiber and vegetables - especially dark greens
But most of all, I notice it's the type of beer. Generally, microbrews and beer from Eastern Europe seems to not cause the same reactions as North American beer. So is it because the taps aren't cleaned often enough in America? Or maybe the beer in Eastern Europe is organic but the stuff in North America has additives?
Perhaps the allergy is not to alcohol but to the additives!
I can only speak from my own experiences but I have had the same type of migraine from standard UK lager and locally made draught beer in Ethiopia, so I tend not to think it's a problem with the alcohol itself.
My approach now is to monitor how meal types prior to drinking affect the outcome. This forum has far more knowledgeable people than me on the chemical processes in the stomach. My hope is to at least find some practical ways to minimize the effects.
To date my "beans and sausages" has been 100% successful but similar variations have not been. My advice is to keep a close eye on the food eaten before drinking.
I am a 39 year old Male who has been suffering from chronic migraine and headaches since the age of 18. I have been researching causes, etc. for many years and I have learned a lot. But the main point is that there is really no cure for these triggers. The only thing you can do is avoid them or just live with the pain. I probably have a list of over 50 triggers that cause headaches/migraines but the strange part is that it just happens Randomly and not Consistently (which drives me crazy why this happens). My three biggest triggers in order are 1) Alcohol, 2) Poor sleeping pattern and 3) Consuming sweet foods (more than a usual dose) prior to sleep.
It is a complete mystery why these triggers just happen without consistency. I can get a migraine from one alcoholic drink one day and just a small headache from five drinks another day. One thing I did notice is that I rarely get headaches/migraines on back-to-back days if I did drink two days in a row. Maybe this is because I have medicine in my system from the day before (i.e. Advil, Excederin, Maxalt)?
Mark46 - I tried the Excederin and/or Advil pre-drinking and it worked randomly but it was not the answer. Maybe my system just got used to it.
One thing that can work from time to time (without taking any pills) to avoid the alcohol hangover, is Water. I don't mean drinking water after alcohol consumption to avoid dehydration. Instead it is the opposite. A while back I experienced with the reverse idea. I decided to chug water all day long (maybe 10 glasses) prior to a night of drinking. I figured that I would try to Pre-Hydrate my system instead of just chugging water after I already drank. I have to admit it does help a bit but still does not cure problem. Has anyone done this before?
I just do not understand why there has not been any solution to this subject after all these years!
I am happy and sad to see that so many others are suffering with the same problem I am. I am a 49 year old woman that started experiencing this issue about 3 years ago. At first the headaches were sporadic, so I simply thought that perhaps I'm just getting older and more prone to hangovers. Maybe the liquor was cheap, maybe I can't drink wine anymore, maybe I shouldn't drink beer. Then I started to realize that the headaches were occurring more frequently and even occurred with very little consumption. Also, they are not hangover headaches, they are sinus headaches. Symptoms usually start during the night when I realize that I am extremely thirsty, I wake up frequently and by morning, the pain behind my right eye is dibilitating, As I struggle with this headache, I notice that my neck is aching and the roots of my teeth on the right side of my mouth are also hurting, I have to conscously focus on not clenching my teeth. These symptoms will last approximately 48 hours. I've tried Advil, Ibuprofen, all types of sinus medications, washing my sinuses with warm salt water, coffee, hot soups, hot sauces, massages, working though it, sleeping it away. Nothing but time seems to help.
Mark46, we are counting on you for a cure. Cheers!
A lot of you may have seen this already - but it's a treatment rather than a reasoned explanation as to why these headaches occur. Nevertheless ... Danish researchers led by Professor Rigmor Jensen have come up with a device that is surgically implanted into the gum in a nerve bundle behind the cheekbone.. Once switched on by a remote control, it transmits electrical signals which can bring total relief from headache pain within fifteen minutes. In the UK, one in seven Britons suffer migraines, one in six have 'recurring heradaches' and one in 1,000 have 'cluster' headaches.
The latter are known as 'suicide headaches' because the instense stabbing pain in the area of one eye can be almost unbearable - and it is this group that has been trialing the kit ... known as the Neurostimulation System. Targeting the same nerve bundle with painkillers has had more limited success.
So ... we may be no closer to discovering what our particular 'brand' of headache is but at least we may be closer to dealing with it whilst we research the problem!
Neecy, if you are regularly thirsty in night or day and already drink appropriate amounts of water - and this thirst pattern is a notable change for you - then you should mention this to your local doctor. best wishes.
Noted your comment on Excedrin. I have started taking 2 paracetamol/codeine tablets one hour before drinking. Six occasions so far - and no headache after 2-4 units of alcohol (beer or white wine). Am prepared to restrict drinking largely to weekend occasions and combine with this medication if that is what it takes.
I'm still in the camp of blood vessel constriction/release being triggered by alcohol as the underlying process for my headaches. others comments on how they don't seem to get heaadaches if they have a drink several days in row fits with that view ie the constriction/release is moderated as alcohol remains in system for that constant period.
PS. Still no sign of a doctor on the Board? Surely someone tempted to blow all our theories out of the water? presumably not - because they worry a) they don't have an answer b) they know headaches have a thousand causes and are probably the worst thing to deal with in their surgery.
I too am happy to find this forum and sad to see that there doesn't seem to be a clear definite answer to the problem. I am 51 yr old male and this started about 3 years ago. It is somewhat random but seems to be getting worse. It is extremely embarrassing to be out with friends or co-workers and have a glass of wine or one beer or a mixed drink and then be so sick with a pounding headache the next day you cant function. The only thing I can report is that I have zeroed in on which triggers are worse and what is actually happening in my case.
Imported Beer, Red Wine are the bad ones for me.
I have better success with Rum, Gin and Tequila. Vodka seems to be hit and miss.
I find that the only thing that heads off a train wreck migraine is the time I stop drinking, taking Motrin or aspirin pre and post drinking and being more hydrated and keeping my sinues open - sometimes even using sinus rinse.
If I have any kind of drink after approx 9 PM, about 2 to 3 hours later I am blessed with a pounding headache centered over my right eye extending down to my right sinus. The headache causes extreme nausea and sometimes progresses to full body sweats. It reminds me of the way I would get "occasionally" in my youth after drinking all night, not eating and not hydrating and being completely hungover for the entire following day. The difference is - I can get there after just 1 drink. It actually feels like an extreme allergic reaction.
For now, I manage the symptoms by trying to stay hydrated, taking sinus meds to keep my sinuses wide open, ending my drinking earlier in the evening, taking aspirin or Motrin before bed and trying to steer clear of beer and wine. I wish someone would solve this issue and develop a handy B Vitamin pill all of us drinkers could take. IS there anything to the B vitamin issue?
I too suffer from the same exact symptoms. I am a 51 yr old male and get excruciating headaches with 1 drink or many - it matters not. I was taking 500mg Niacin (Vitamin B3) as an alternative to cholesterol medication (Zocor gave me headaches). After I began to get these headaches with alcohol about 2 years ago - I presumed it was the Niacin. I stopped taking the Niacin - and I still got headaches when drinking any amount of alcohol. Not sure if Miket5416's question pertains to Vitamin B3 or other B vitamins, but in my case - I've ruled it out as a reducer of headaches - or a contributor. Initially, my headaches were limited to just red wine drinking, but now it is with beer also. I'm not a hard liquor person - so I'm not looking to start. My headaches are mostly fixed with ibuprofen and sleep, and in the morning, they completely disappear with 3-5 cups of coffee.
Pained in Fayetteville.
Complete success! I only have partial success with this, but my best friend who has been a moderate drinker his whole life (until developing these dreaded headaches that we are complaining of) has had complete cessation of symptoms.
We've researched and researched and I believe that the headche is infact an allergic reaction in many ways, or, definiately an intolerance to an amino-acid found in all alcohol; 'tyramine'. The more aged the alcohol - the higher the levels of this amino acid. To process this amino acid our body's require magnesium. Stay with me .....
I decided to start taking magnesium via naturpathic pills, my friend decided to drink 'epsom salts' every morning (cheaper) and larger amounts if he planned on having a drink. I have noticed a drop in both the frequencey and the pain whilst he has had complete success. Going from one glass of red wine causing a 3 day hangover with hedache to drinking pretty heavily (bottle) for a few days in a row and NO headache.
I still use the pain killers as preventatives when I need to - but maybe strong doses of magnesium get to the cause and help our bodies break downs this nasty amino acid.
Why have we developed an intolerance to 'tyrmaine'? Who knows ... maybe we don't absorb magensium as much as we used to? Maybe we are eating more processed foods or jar or tinned foods? Tyramine is very high in anything that is not fresh so perhaps a body reaches a level when it can no longer eliminate the tyramine? Foods high in tyramine is basically any food that tastes good!!! Google it and see.
I hope this helps someone as it's helping us ... good luck!
Everything helps 'meanbrain' - will give it a try after research ... but it definitely sounds unusual enough to be a possibility. I think it's going to eventually prove to be some kind of 'new kid on the block', even if it's not exactly this kid!
Wow. As I was reading Meanbrain's post I was actually in the waiting room waiting to be checked for a magnesium deficiency. This would make a whole lot of sense. I have noticed that magnesium does help a lot with my migraines, I just have yet to try it with alcohol yet because I'm too much of a wuss. Very interesting... Let keep on this one. Will post when I get the lab results back.
Hi, its possible that what I've been suffering from is different, but there enough similarities that I thought I should share. My symptoms included feeling lethargic, but not to the point that I couldn't operate. I have been unable to tolerate missed sleep in anything like the fashion I used to. I'm 35 so my first thought was that I was getting old. But the part that made no sense to me was the onset of severe headaches following even a mild night of drinking (bear in mind I have been a relatively heavy drinker for 15 years and rarely had hangovers).
The headaches post drinking were severe, lasted all day, often were neutralised by sleep but rarely by pain killers. They felt like they went through my head, from behind my right eye, and down the side of my nose and into one of my teeth. This sounded similar to one of the descriptions above..
I was tested positive for mycoplasma.. which is a relatively unknown condition, doctors seem quite unaware of it in many places. Its a type of bacteria which hides from the immune system. t normally turns up in the lungs, so you get a cough to go with it, but in my case it seems to have been in the sinus, with no other symptoms, not even a stuffy nose, or any discharge.
I took a three day course of antibiotics at the weekend which seem to have helped, and had a drink last night (only a couple) and don't have the headache today. Its a bit early to claim its fixed, but wanted to share straight away. I'll come back and update you in a few weeks, but i can't see the harm in testing for mycoplasma, doing some research on it and seeing if it relates to what you are feeling.
One other thing which I've been doing, is a parasite cleanse. Parasites seem to be far more prevelant that I had any idea about, until someone suggested i look into it. Many illnesses that can't be explained are the result of parasites.. though i don't think this headache was a result of one. There are many ways to treat for them which really don't impact your life at all so well worth giving it a go..
I hope some of this will be helpful to some of you.
Although there are obvious variations - i.e. different sides of head, etc. - the symptoms are remarkably similar in all of us really.
I know I promised a while ago that it was time for me to collate all the symptoms and treatments mentioned since we started this in 2008. A hell of a job but, if anyone has more time than I do at the moment, would they care to do it for me/us?
I will eventually get around to it - but quite a lot to do at the moment.
I Started getting the headaches abut 4 years ago. Im 38 moderate drinker for years. 1 drink and i can feel it comming on right ear pressure to my right eye. My right eye starts to swell shut. It happens more in the spring and summer. No problems in the fall and winter at first. It seems to be getting worse. Tryed drinking 3 weeks ago 4 beers migrane for 3 hours, tryed again 4th of july 2 rum and cokes 15 min later bad migrane. Cant figure it out. I have allergies hay fever , rag weed , and cats. I dont need to drink but it would be nice to figure out the cause. I will try the magnesum next weekend. I hate to be out with friends have a drink or two and go into shut down mode. Dr says allergic to alchol , I say if thaats the case it would happen every time. Any suggestions would be appreciated lets find the cause.
I have the same headache problems. I have always suffered with delbilitating migraines and they are so far untreatable. The doctors do not know what causes them and I get no relief from narcotics, anti inflammatories r any other medecation. I am allergic to all migraine meds and many narcotics. I used to be able to have a couple glasses of wine(white) once in awhile no problem but once I turned 40 I find I now cannot even have a sibngle drink of any kind of alcohol without suffering the same as described debilitating migraine for 2-3 days. I'm currently seeing a rheumatologist and waiting for a neurologist appt. It seems like this is a little more wide spread and not limited to me- I was starting to think I was a freak! Lol
I am 36 and started with migraines about 4 years ago, around 2 years ago i started with real bad migraines following even the lightest of drink i.e. 1-2 glasses of wine. at the time i was on anti depressants and thought it was a side effect. Unfortunately following coming of AD's i found this undesirable side effect remains.
I have a drink, feel fine, go to bed then wake at 2-4 am in the morning with a splitting head, i get up and take migraleave, the pain intensifies and then i start with diarrhoea and then vomiting. this is awful as i can't stop being sick, i mean i cant even swallow my own saliva without sweating profusely and then reaching and reaching to bring it up, this can go on for 5 hours and is sole destroying.
the trouble is there doesn't appear to be any rhyme or reason to when this occurs, some times i may be able to have several drinks and others hardly any. same as other posters I have drank moderately on weekends for the majority of my twenties, now i hardly drink the effect seems worse.
makes me sad because I would like to go out with my uni mates and relax with a couple of drinks but i am afraid it will trigger this migraine syndrome.
To determine if the headache/migraine problem is due to vascular constriction, take a sumatriptan (Zomig, Imitrex, etc. at the onslaught, which is usually after a couple of drinks. My first initial symptom is sinus congestion with dull pain behind the left eye, followed by immobilizing pain over the right eye. I find that taking half of a 2.5mg Zomig at the onslaught will allow me to continue to have a couple more drinks and get a pain free night's rest afterwards. You will be sensitive to temperature for typically up to 12 hours, basically acknowledged when taking a shower or washing hands in hot water..
To determine if the headache/migraine problem is due to vascular constriction, take a sumatriptan (Zomig, Imitrex, etc. at the onslaught, which is usually after a couple of drinks. My first initial symptom is sinus congestion with dull pain behind the left eye, followed by immobilizing pain over the right eye. I find that taking half of a 2.5mg Zomig at the onslaught will allow me to continue to have a couple more drinks and get a pain free night's rest afterwards. You will be sensitive to temperature for typically up to 12 hours, basically acknowledged when taking a shower or washing hands in hot water..
Having headaches for 11 years, almost daily. Botox injections helped for a while....been on every anti-seizure medications and strongly suggest you do not take any of them. They will totally **** you up for years to come....it took me five years to regain my brain after Topamax and Depakote. I couldn't remember where I lived, couldn't carry on a conversation, and, as my Doctor said, it makes you "stupid". Anti inflammatory meds are good (Toradol), but hard on stomach. Ice, Ice, Ice!!! Put on bottom back of head (occipital) and just below on neck area. The front of your head will be pounding, but neck area is causing problem. Lay down, take your meds (anti-inflammatory, triptan and muscle relaxer). Even if headache goes away, lay for at least an hour. Sometimes I ice up whole head area, neck, shoulders and back. I wrap ice pack in scarf and tie around my head, sometimes all day, reapplying new cold one as needed. Triptans will get rid of headache but often cause headache to reoccur. I take them with extreme pain. Phenergan & Compozine suck! !/8 teaspoon baking soda & 1/2 cup warm water get rid of nausea twenty times better. Valium works good as muscle relaxer. Frova has 24 hour shelf life, is best but most expensive triptan. If you have friends in Europe, it is cheap and called "Migrex". I hope this helps you all....good luck!!
I too suffer from headaches where alcohol (I'm a beer drinker) sometimes seems to be the trigger. Not all of my headaches are associated with drinking, and I can often drink without producing a headache. I'm usually just a one beer a day drinker, but the pattern that I've noticed is that if I drink a stronger (higher alcohol beer), like a tasty craft beer, then my probability of getting a headache goes way up, especially if I drink it at night. I think I'm starting to get better at noticing warning signs, like very mild head or neck tension, that are a warning sign that I just don't need to drink that day. (I ignored those signs last night and had a tasty craft beer, and boy did I pay the price.) Anyway, I don't have a theory to contribute about why this happens. I do, however, have a warning, which is that it is very dangerous to mix alcohol with acetaminophen/paracetamol, and hence with products that contain them like Tylenol and Excedrin. You can blow out your liver with this combination. Sometimes I can't avoid taking Excedrin after drinking, although I wait just as long as I can stand to so that my liver will be free of alcohol. If I take Excedrin or Tylenol, I will not not drink that day. I definitely would not take these products as a preventive before a night on the town. There is a lot of information on the Internet about this, e.g., :http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/2354/does-tylenol-alcohol-liver-failure-plus
I just want to reiterate that I've found the answer after 10 years of this stuff. I tried everything else because I didnt want to modify my diet (and I already ate healthy anyway). But this combination of cleaning out my internal organs (liver, kidneys, lymphnodes) and eliminating gluten has worked.
My migraines had gotten so bad over the years that even a half glass of any alcohol would put me under for at least three days. I have had migraines for as long as two weeks straight. When this started 10 years ago it was much milder and has just slowly gotten worse over the past 10 years.
This cleanse (I mentioned earlier: a probiotic, the BioResource stuff, lemon juice & cayenne drink & glycine) is key. As for the diet part - read this book called "Heal Your Headache". It explains it all. It may help many of you start to make sense of why some things you try work and some dont. If you can, also see a nutritionist. My nutritionist is in northern California if anyone else is out here.
This isnt a reactive approach (like what to take in order to stop the headache), this is a proactive approach that can make them stop happening altogether. I've been doing it for three months and I've been able to drink (even drinking scotch all day one day) without even a headache. Truly unbelievable. It turns out that too much gluten can bring it back (I found out after eating wheat for a week to test it).
I hope this helps some more migraine sufferers out there!
Returning here two days before my 50th birthday hoping for a revelation. I have had same symptoms, pain behind eyes, stiff neck, for several years now. It does seem that the majority of people I speak to my age have a reduced tolerance to alcohol indicating some physical change contributory factor. I have had a whiplash neck problem for 19 years producing exactly the same pain as when alcohol induced which in my case I feel is connected.
Without wanting to throw too weird a spanner in the works, I have suffered with 'Hemifacial spasm' for 2 and a half years, which is a facial spasm caused by irritation of the facial nerve by a blood vessel, in other words pressure where it shouldn't be behind the ear. I recently had an mri, no results as yet but I feel it could be a result of my dodgy neck. This may have no relevance here but....!
I have actually managed to have a few drinks over the summer, and occasionally without the migraine. Two days running I had two pints of cider (over the whole day) and was reasonably ok. I was at a festival, walking or dancing constantly.Actually I am now remembering I started to develop a dull ache behind neck and eyes before the main act and spotted a stall selling oxygen. They claimed easing of headaches etc. I spent 5 mins. with a tube up my nostrils inhaling through a cool liquid containing some or other essential oil. After just 5 minutes I felt refreshed and went on to 'Go Crazy' with Prince! It really was that instant. Yes it sounds mad. I expect that keeping moving helped what the oxygen started. Unfortunately this is impossible to try at home.....?
Any more thoughts on magnesium? I will try some before my party.
Antihistamine hasn't been mentioned lately.
Is there a difference between over the counter parac., aspirin and caffeine and Excedrin? Will try these three and dance a lot. Wondering if Pimms is a lesser baddy as it is gin based. Good luck everyone.
I have been on a carbohydrate free diet, now just a few carbs but no bread, for weight loss, so I have also been mainly gluten free.
I am also one who suffers from insta- headache when imbibing but not always. I feel from reading all the posts above that I have the most in common with those with cluster headaches. Now this may sound a little crazy but what I believe has helped me the most is taking omega-3 vitamins on a daily basis. I recently ran out of the stuff and consequently didn't take them for a week or more and that is when the headaches kicked in. As soon as I started taking the omegas again, the headaches went away. I'm not saying I think this is the cure all and it may just be coincidence but I thought I would throw it out there.
I think I've got it. I hope this works for everyone and I don't look like an idiot. Like most, 1 beer usually = a headache for 1-2 days with no help from OTC pain meds. BOTTLED WATER. It's the plastic! I had a hunch one day and a couple of things clicked. Sorry this may not help migraine sufferers. I drank alot of water out of those plastic gallon jugs. Then the small bottles at work all day. I started getting headaches without drinking alcohol. I thought there must be a common denominator. Long story short. On vacation 2 weeks ago, I drank tap water all day and an all day headache went away. This scenario happened a couple times in the past but I didn't make the connection. Last night was the test. I drank 3 beers (dangerous) and this morning I'm fine. Halleluia. I once suspected that I was hypersensitive to mold in AC coils. Again I hope this does it for you and is the answer. A mechanic once told me to check the simple things first as the problem cause.
OMG I am so happy to find this thread. Sorry you all have something similar but it's nice to know I'm not alone.
I'm a 30 year old male in pretty good shape (5'10" 155lbs). For the last eight years I've had 1-2 drinks per night. Not sure if this is relevant but I do drink 2-3 cups of coffee per day. About six years ago I started getting migraines. Recently I've noticed a clear link between alcohol and headaches. I typically fix a cocktail around 7pm. Every night my neck would stiffen and I'd develop a dull headache. Each morning I'd wake up with a headache and generally by midday, the pain would have subsided.
I just finished going a week without alcohol and have been headache free.
My most severe headaches often have an element of vision distortion to them, usually around the periphery. During these times the effect is as if I'm looking through a pair of goggles that have a little bit of water in them.
The other thing I would add to this is that stress appears to also be a trigger for me. I'm the CEO of a startup company and I've noticed that bad days at work or fights with the girlfriend also cause a lot of pain.
Drinking water helps.
I'm going to investigate the correlation to magnesium and then possibly try the cleanse that has been discussed. I'll keep posting. Thanks for starting/continuing this! It's time we all got relief.
Every Tuesday night I drink 4 pints of lager, and would almost always get a migraine in the morning of one degree or another. Then for about the last two or three months I was eating beans and sausages before going out, which seemed to prevent the migraines every time. Not an ideal way of dealing with it though.
The magnesium theory could be behind this, beans are high in magnesium. I also came across a similar theory with regard to exercise-induced migraines so it was worth testing out.
Since last Saturday I have been taking 600mg tablets of magnesium hydroxide. I ate a different meal and had my 4 pints. Pleased and relieved to say that I was fine, no hint of trouble, so it's so far so good and the testing will continue.
Incidentally, I wonder if others have gastric problems like myself. I have reflux and take 15mg of lansoprazole every day and this started about the same time as the alcohol-related migraines over ten years ago. (I've just Googled after writing that and read that proton pump inhibitors have been linked to low levels of magnesium (BMJ)).
I've had migraines starting at 40 years old. I suddenly could not drink any wine or alcohol without getting a migraine.
I realized that the only thing that was different was that I had a bad case of poison ivy. The rash had gone away, but I was still very sensitive to any regular allergy trigger - welts from grass rather than a mild itch. Cats would bring on an asthma attack rather than just a sneezing fit. Things like that.
I borrowed a friends full dosing of Prednizone (I had taken it before with great success for poison ivy, so I knew I could take it. Please don't just do this without knowing how you tolerate it - and get a doctor's prescription.)
It worked. No more allergy sensitivity, no asthma, and could drink my Pinot again.
I am 36 and have similar symptoms. Feels like a sinus headache over my right eye alternates back and forth from inside of eyebrow to base of skull on right side. Have weird (?nerve) pain in my jawbone! I too clench my jaws and grind my teeth. I was thinking today maybe my wisdom teeth that have never come in and never been removed are pressing on that trigeminal (I think) nerve. Do you or others have wisdom teeth that have not come out yet? I might try TMJ massage work. My migraines are triggered by alcohol-even just 1 drink, my period, and I think storms. I also get points on my skull before the headache that are like the size of dimes that have localized migraine pain and are tender to touch. I was wondering if the cerebrospinal fluid between the meninges layers is affected by air pressure. I also was wondering if the ventricles which are filled with cerebrospinal fluid are affected by air pressure in some people because the left and right ventricles are shaped exactly like rams horns. Some people call their migraines ‘rams horn headaches’ because they radiate in that shape (from behind eye to the back of skull on one or both sides). I have a lot of theories. The other is that my liver is messed up from a past hepatitis b infection and I also do have HPV. My C5 vertebrae is herniated as well. Please help connect the dots. I would love to be able to have a drink with a friend every so often. Good luck to everyone!
I am still trying to find the time in my hectic post-retirement life (!) to collate all these points. Obviously, a lot of them will turn out to be false leads but I'm quite convinced a pattern will emerge. The only emphatic common factor at the moment is ... alcohol. And that will never do!
I also have the same symptoms and similar problems as many of you. I believe that there may be some issues with blood pressure. Many of the triggers that occur, seem to be in the relm of raising the blood pressure.
After consulting my doctor, we decided to try Verapamil. Verapamil lowers the blood pressure and also contains anti-headache medice. In addition, he perscribed relflex. this workes great with the verapamil but not so much alone.
After a week of being on the Verapamil, I was able to have more than 1 drink. with no lingering heaches.
Before taking the Verapamil, I also tried Vicodin. This triggered the worst headache of my life.
Im not sure if its the cure, but if you look at all of your triggers (as I did), it could possibly be the raising of blood pressure. I hope this helps.
That your wrong about. "Malted barley" will also make us sick. There has got to be some sort of link. All I know is that both me and my dad suffer from alcohol headaches which both started at the same exact time (wierd, right), and enough barley malt will mess us up too. I would be interested to see if you guys also suffer from this. The best way is to down a big glass Ovaltine with the malted barley in it.
I am 27, I've had migraines since I was a kid and have drank alcohol since 18, so I know what hangovers are like, and what migraines are like.
But only in the past few months have the migraines been triggered by alcohol. It's very hit or miss and I've been trying to figure out whether it's a certain type of alcohol that causes this. Just this month it's happened twice -- migraines so extreme that they make me throw up (very rarely in the past have my migraines been accompanied by nausea). I've got sharp pain behind my left eye, my left jawbone, the entire left side of my face in fact and the left side of my neck. I take Excedrin, usually the second Excedrin makes the pain manageable. The only thing that really makes the pain tolerable is getting some sleep.
Three weeks ago I had one beer (blue moon) and a miserable next day: migraine, nausea. This weekend, I had two vodka drinks, and the migraine lasted two full days, with nausea and vomiting as well.
At this point I feel like there is no way that drinking alcohol is worth it if just 1-2 drinks will cause this type of destruction. I am going to try magnesium, omega-3's, and quit alcohol altogether. I can't handle these 48-hour migraines.
I found something that works for the pounding migraine after 2-3 beers.
We treat alcohol migraines with triptans, aka vaso-constrictors. Stands to reason that our alcohol migraines are caused by alcohol being a vaso-dilator.
Aside from the triptans, which I definitely don't want to drink on, the only other vaso-constrictor I found was phenylephrine. If I take a sudafed PE before I drink - no headache. That's not to say I wont get a hangover, but I won't get that 2 hours later migraine that most of us are getting. I can actually drink socially again.
Be sure not to get the kind with pseudoephedrine - you want the not-as-effective replacement phenylephrine. Good luck!
I have had the almost identical symptoms to 'helpmyhead hurts'
I am male, 65 years, and from the UK originally. I have had these symptoms to varying degrees for 20 years or so.
I have had some improvement over the years but still cant tolerate even one drink without getting the 4am headache which lasts til about noon.
Some days I will get a headache without drink, other days I might get away with a small wine, I never know what to expect. I have tried everything. Well in 20 years there has been lots of opportunity. In desperation last year the doc had me checked out for sleep apnea. Yes I have sleep apnea and I'm having treatment now BUT I still cant drink without the dreaded headache at 4 in the morning. I know its not worth it but I love a good red wine and so occasionally I'm tempted and usually regret it. Sorry I cant come up with a magic bullet. Sympathy is all I can offer.
I do. I was suffering from a dust allergy or something and was sent for a scan. The results showed that I had a deviated septum, which came as a complete surprise. I was asked if I wanted an operation to correct it or just continue on, I chose the latter - maybe not such a great decision.
I'm now curious about why you asked. Do tell more.
My symptoms are very similar to helpmyheadhurts and especially heed15. I have only recently started sumatriptan, which does seem to stop the migraine if taken early on, easier said than done when it starts during sleep at 5am.
Yes I have gone through the deviated septum bit. I had an op. 15 years back Horrible experience. Didn't help the headaches but I can smell a pulp mill or a winery from 5 miles away. This is not necessarily a good thing.
The operation was to clean out infection in the sinus area and the septum was incidental as I didn't know I had that problem. They had me irrigate with salt water for years.
These headaches have, over the years, been my overiding health issue as I have enjoyed very good health generally. Sleep apnea in a mild form came as a big shock as I exhibit none of the usual symptoms like tiredness. My only visible symptoms are these morning headaches. So some of you folk should perhaps consider a sleep apnea test as morning headaches are one of the things the doctors will be asking about. It is an easy test where you bring home an oxygen meter, clip it to your finger overnight and they can tell if your oxygen levels have dropped in the night.
Incidently I am not the classic apnea shape being 5'-10" and 157 pounds.
Good luck and lets keep looking for answers.
I too have a deviated septum and an asymptomatic chronic sinus infection at least 3 + years. My Ear, nose & throat specialist said that she could operate on the deviated septum, but that it would only help me breath slightly better. She recommended against it. All my specialists have asserted that my severe headaches could not possibly be caused by the deviated septum or the sinus infection. The specialist suggested that I use a Netipot to have less stuffiness in the nostril.
So I think you MADE the RIGHT DECISION! Another otolaryngologist suggested that I get surgery to correct the sinus infection, but warned that it might not help my sinus infection. My current otolaryngologist said she could operate but that it wouldn't help me at all with the sinus infection. The exact same thing happened to my husband whose 2nd doctor recommended a nasal spray which helped his sinuses.
i have been studying this problem for years. rest assured that it is not the type of alcohol you drink. any alcohol will cause the symptoms if some other issues line up. some people can drink one night and be fine then some other night they will get the 2:00AM headache that lasts all day. it all depends on some conditions which are not readily apparent right now. you are on the right track taking caffeinated aspirin (excedrin) but you should take one pill just before the first swallow of alcohol and maybe one pill later in the evening if the drinking goes on. as a prophylactic excedrin works well. as a treatment after you have a headache it is not as effective. yours, ewagner44
Vitamin B12 Complex! It seemed the most promising solution to the symptoms I suffered from (vasodilation apparently). I bought some vitamin b12 supplements 2 weeks ago. I took them for a week before consuming any alcohol, to try to build my body's stores or whatever, and then I started consuming alcohol after 1 week. I haven't suffered any alcohol induced headaches at all. They used to be pretty debilitating and a surefire way to kill my night, but now I don't feel any of that pain when I drink--regardless of wine, beer or liquor. I take the B12 SUBLINGUAL supplements. Supposedly your body doesn't readily absorb b12 that you eat.
Even though it negates the pain in my head, I still suffer from other symptoms that I didn't notice because my headaches were so strong. My eyes still get bloodshot and heavy. My neck gets really tight and achey, but nothing that stops me from having a good time like before. I'm writing this now because I just got back from a night out with a couple friends from college. I had more to drink tonight than in years and I feel fine! It feels so good to be able to cut loose again.
Tmrw I'm going to try milk thistle with my b12. supposedly milk thistle helps your liver and processes alcohol better-- less hangover. We'll see. For now, I recommend to all you sufferers out there to experiment with sublingual B12. maybe some magnesium.
also, i think the reason this developed in me is because of my lack of exercise. I'm not fat, but I should definitely exercise more. I think the main thing is that my neck/ back muscles have been getting weaker and my posture is starting to get worse than normal which puts undue stress on your neck and related blood vessels. b12 and straighter posture is what worked for me tonight and I couldn't be happier with the results.
I live in Florida and went on vacation with my family to Colorado in August. I've been drinking casually for years (I'm 43) and all of the sudden we're at a high elevation and boom here comes this headache to about killed me. Oh and yes I was enjoying a cocktail.
We get home, after a few days, go see my doctor because this will not go away. Long story short, after MRI's, CT Scan, etc...40 days of this headache... they determined that this is occipital nueralgia (not sure if I spelled that right) that is triggered by alcohol.
Occipital Nueralgia is the pain down the neck, one side of your face, shooting to your eye and towards your jaw line, oh and the massive headache that no matter what you do will not go away including taking migrane medicine. For that lovely condition they have place me on Lyrica which has taken away all that nerve pain and makes me feel perfect, except those migranes that come on when I drink alcohol of any kind within 15 min.
As for the headache that is induced by my desire to live my life...my doctor presribe me a headache medicine that keeps it under control without making me loopy like Sum(something like that). That is my lifesaver for these headaches. That did not work until after they were able to treat the occipital portion of the problem.
So those of you who are suffering the two part pain....get the shooting nerve pain diagnosed then you can treat the headache....it works as long as you do it systematically.
I found this forum today and wanted to add my two-cents. I don't have time to read all the posts, so I apologize if the following information has been shared.
I, too, suffer from infrequent migraine headaches after drinking alcohol. Like others, no discernible pattern. About a year ago, I went to my doctor complaining of shoulder pain. She prescribed Soma, a steroid drug. The shoulder pain went away, but that was not all it did. While on the Soma I had not one ill effect from the consumption of alcohol. I was so amazed that I did some self-testing. For one week, I drank every single day... and not just a little... I drank more than I had ever consumed before. Even to the point were, one day, I drank all day. Absolutely no ill effects!
The doctor told me the Soma was a anti-inflammatory drug. Maybe this is the connection, I don't know.
After the Soma ran out, the migraines returned. Anyone else have a similar experience with steroidal drugs?
I'm not advocating the use or abuse of steroids to treat migraines associated with alcohol consumption. But maybe there is something to the anti-inflammatory nature of the drug. How that can help... idk.
I have not read this entire thread yet, but I am happy to find it, because it is comforting to know that I am not alone.
I am pleased to report that I have solved my migraines with the program outlined in the book Heal Your Headache: The 1-2-3 Program for Taking Charge of Your Pain by Dr. David Buchholz. (You can read my long review and history with migraines on Amazon. It was posted on 5/23/2010 along with many other grateful reviews from other migraine sufferers.)
But by "solved," I only mean that I have identified my migraine triggers, and I (mostly) avoid them. Sadly, one of those triggers is any sort of alcohol, even in small amounts. I love, love, love a good glass of wine, and I am willing to try some of these ideas to see if any of them would allow me to drink now and then without paying with a headache that lasts several days. I will report back.
Hello you all! I saw myself on many of the posts above. I am a 30 years old psychiatrist in Brazil. I was a moderate drinker (used to drink 5-6 beers on weekends) until 2 years ago. Inicially I noticed that I had a headache more frequently and with less alcohol than I used to. Then the headache would be more severe than it used to be. I tried to drink other kinds of alcoholic beverages like wine (the worst headache!) and whisky. The whisky helped for some months but then I started having headache again. Tried more expensive ones (tried 18 years Jonny Walker) but didnt help. I talked to some neurologist friends of mine and the advice was the same I read above "stop drinking!...You cant take a medicine TO drink!". The problem is that it is very embarrassing not to drink AT ALL on every social gathering.
Like many above I started making some experiments with my self. First I tried Nortryptiline 10 mg (an antidepressant used as a prophylatic treatment for headaches) It helped for some time, reduces the severity of the headache but I could never drink as I used. I could rise the dose but I think its just not right to take a medicine to be able to drink. Nowadays I usually take Paracetamol or Ibuprophene before and after I drink, but I still get my headache. It obviously doesnt worth it but its hard to resist.
Good luck for you all.
Have any of you ever wondered if the problem is alcohol itself? After all, in order to feel the sensation of being drunk you must consume enough alcholhol to poison your body. Maybe you aren't some special case, maybe you just have a light tolerance and can become drunk with fewer drinks....
Have any of you ever wondered if the problem is alcohol itself? After all, in order to feel the sensation of being drunk you must consume enough alcholhol to poison your body. Maybe you aren't some special case, maybe you just have a light tolerance and can become drunk with fewer drinks....
Many, if not most of us, have been drinking fine for years and then suddenly the migraine problem starts. I have a high tolerance for alcohol, as do all my family, and this problem can hit randomly with just small amounts.
For the last month my doctor has put me on beta blockers and I have not had a hint of a migraine so far.
I have given up on the diet side of it, that spectacularly failed with a 10 day migraine. My guess now is that it's to do with pressure balances within the head, which is very complicated for humans. Neck problems, deviated septums and other issues might contribute and alcohol just stresses the whole system out.
It was with pure relief that I came across this Forum. I too, suffer with major headaches when I drink any alcohol; the symptoms are increased if I have a drink when I have not eaten. One pint of shandy on an empty stomach triggers the headache; and this lasts for three days…I get full nausea as others have indicated.
Visited the doctor about three years ago, got the normal response of “well don’t drink”; my reply - thanks for all your help Doc [please note my sarcasm]… to say that I have reduced my alcohol intake is a major statement; I can’t drink, never mind don’t.
I have detailed my situation and thoughts below as it may help others and I’m hoping to spark a debate.
I haven’t always been like this, I used to able to drink. I have generally drunk socially, not to excess; I used to yes but this was when I was teenage and in my early twenties, more than 25 years ago now. The headaches started about six years ago, when I was 45, just after I remarried. Coincidently my wifes ex-husband used to complain about headaches following alcohol and didn’t drink much, this has started me thinking recently; him and now me…Is there a link here?
After more reading on other forums I have discovered one guy whose headache problem after drinking disappeared after being treated for H. Pylori, albeit for a short time as it returned with a vengeance. Has anyone else out there with this problem been tested for H. Pylori? I have read that this bacteria is difficult to eliminate, the medical profession presently use a mixture of drugs (proton pump inhibitor and two other antibiotics). If this guys symptom returned, has the H. Pylori survived the onslaught of the drugs. It worries me greatly that they hope to blast it with antibiotics and cross fingers; it doesn’t cure all, about 20% fail.
Has anyone tried the H. Pylori herbal cures out on the internet for more than £100, does it work?
I understand that the bacteria can be passed person to person by kissing, which of course would answer my link with my wifes ex husbands symptoms (kissing the wife not the ex husband :-)). Good job I can smile after all this!!
All this has culminated in me returning to the Doctor (a different one mind you) and going through the symptoms expressing my concerns about H. Pylori. I am now to have a H. Pylori test although as this is the UK NHS, my test is in January 2012, only a six week wait (oh well, better than never). When I have the test I will post my results.
One thing that helps me however (and I only found this out two weeks ago) is the Antihistamine Acrivastine, this is in Benadyrl in the UK and Semprex-D (this has a decongestant in the USA – not sure if they sell it without a decongestant there). I must say this; it is a revelation, limits my headaches, its brilliant lets me have a couple of beers without pain, WOW. I don’t know if this will work for all as we are all different it would seem, but it’s available, over the counter at less than a £5.
My theory, please shout me down if you think I’m way off the mark, the H. Pylori reacts with the alcohol which then produces a byproduct to which I am major allergic to, hence the headaches, the Activastine inhibits the allergy, no headache. I am hanging my hat on this; if it doesn’t come off I’m clueless, and will have to go teetotal…or keep popping the pills.
I am open for communications and would welcome these. Thanks for reading my ramblings.
As with many of you I was a happy drinking individual for years and suddenly when I was 29 I got a two day migraine and since then I get painful headaches after drinking.
Mine also go from neck to brow and I can temporarily alleviate the pain by putting pressure on either my neck or brow. I never had any migraines before. The pain is most intense at a spot seemingly in the middle of my head off to the right side. Like a spear of pain driving down through the top of my head. I don't really get any other migraine symptoms like light sensitivity or nausea, just very sharp long term pain (usually for 8-12 hours).
Fortunately for me, the headaches come mostly after the drinking so I can take medicine to relieve the pain. I found that normal pain killers didn't have much of an effect but while traveling I discovered Migraline in France. It has a small amount of Codine along with Tylenol and Caffeine. It actually killed the headaches quite effectively! Once home in the US I started looking online and discovered that Canada sells something called Tylenol #1 over the counter that has the same ingredients.
Several caveats on this: First, both Codine and Tylenol are not recommended while drinking so this is more of an "after" cure. Second, codine is by prescription only in the US so you would have to get this in Canada or Europe. Lastly, this only fixes symptoms and most likely has diminishing returns over time.
But for me, it works like a charm since I really only get the headaches the day after drinking.
I would also like to add that I feel pretty silly going to my doctor complaining of a headache after drinking as that is just an obvious effect of a hangover. This is clearly more acute and long lasting that a simple hangover (which I was quite familiar with before I started getting these headaches). I am glad to see that I am not the only one! Although I wish there were a real cure and not just ways to treat the symptoms.
Like you I enjoyed a fair few drinks in my twenties which then reduced to quite normal occassional social drinking. I am 43 and have suddenly in the last few months become unable to drink even half a glass of any alcoholic drink.
My headaches last several days and the symptons have been described time and again on this forum. Pain behind my eye, jaw, teeth etc.
I was tested negative for H. pylori about 12 years ago when I suffered from a period of reflux which was treated with proton pump inhibitors - these have been mentioned in a couple of posts. It has been suggested that proton pump inhibitors reduce the bodies ability to absorb magnesium. I am thinking maybe a magnesium deficiency or increased inability to absorb magnesium might have some link to the headaches. Perhaps the proton pump inhibitors I took affected my long term ability to absorb magnesium, my age and other factors compounding the effect. Women are prone to magnesium deficiency which is affected by hormones so again maybe my age is making it worse.
I am going to get some magnesium and b12 tomorrow, it's worth a try. Met a friend for a drink Friday night and drank tea in a pub! This could be the new me but I would much rather at least have the option of the occassional glass of red wine!
I don't think you should blame your wife!
Have really found it comforting to know that my exact symptons seem to be shared with so many. I was beginning to feel a little odd.
Like most of you I haven't found a solution to this problem. I really hate the thought of not drinking at all. I used to have about 1 or 2 drinks a week - actually I still do - but I pretty much always get a headache from it.
I've been taking sumatriptan and fiorinal for years for the headaches but I really don't want to give up drinking all together. I have a feeling that this isn't a problem with a solution except for not drinking so I'm trying to not have any alcohol but it *****!
i have been monitoring this message board for a long time. i have been a alcohol related headache sufferer for many years. any alcohol at all would result in a middle of the night headache that lasted until noon the following day. they were brutal. i have tried everything and the only thing that prevented headaches when i had a drink was caffeinated aspirin. (excedrin).
well, now i have something that shows promise. my TSH blood levels indicated i have a hypothyroid condition. anything over 5 would indicate the same for you too. most of the people corresponding to this message board report headaches starting as they got older. previously they had no problems. now that they are social drinkers they get these alcohol related headaches. as we age our TSH rises showing a marked decrease in our thyroid production. since i have been taking Synthroid 100mg i have had no headaches. this is a natural drug that causes no other problems. i have dropped the caffeinated aspirin and i have been socially drinking for 3 weeks without a headache. this is huge for me. check out your blood tests and see if supplementing your thyroid production helps you and let me know what you find.
Dear Hedgehog707; thanks for your response, I note that you have tested negative for H Pylori 12 years ago, but have you been tested since? I have tried the Magnesium tablets, but these made no difference whatsoever, I still got the headaches, similar in nature to yours. I never had any reflux problems so have never taken any proton pump inhibitors. I haven’t tried the b12. The only thing that works for me is Benadryl.
I don’t really blame my wife it certainly is not her fault, but it is the only link that I can develop with headaches and alcohol. My wife does suffer from a “poorly tummy”, and normally blames her menstrual cycle. But I’m not convinced as they don’t always coincide, her problems are not life threatening, just annoying but she can’t resolve it. I will just have to wait for the H Plyori test (next Monday 9/1/12) to see if we need to follow this up.
I was certainly pleased with the Benadryl over Xmas and New Year, didn’t result in a continuing headache, even though I drank champagne, beer and red wine. Not saying that I was without any symptoms (groggy head etc), the headaches were controlled and did not materialise into a three day nightmare.
Following my previous posts regarding my theories about these problems being caused by Helicobacteria Pylori; I have been confirmed positive that I have H.Pylori!!
Now a frustrating period of waiting until my wife is tested and then we can both be treated. I may be able to have a beer without stressing whether I will cop for a three day headache, if we can kill it.
It’s gone very quiet on here recently, has anyone else got any other theories that hold water?
Not really is the answer ... from myself anyways. But, I AM getting down to that much-promised collation of all our symptoms/treatments/'cures', etc., etc. and WILL post the results here as and when. I want someone out there to keep nagging/shaming/humiliating/berating me in public until I do it!
WELL ... finally got around to going through the 275 or so posts since I first started this 'thread' in 2008 and stripping them down into contributory factors, symptoms, durations, temporary cures, etc., etc., ad nauseum! Some really good stuff here but, in the (continued) absence of any medical opinion, will have to Google a number of items before I can post the breakdown. Bear with me everyone - if you're interested that is ..... !
Sufferers report a debilitating headache, following sometimes minimal alcohol intake … onset predominantly within two hours or so … duration from around two or three hours up to a couple of days … described as along the lines of a cluster headache or migraine, sometimes with pronounced flushing of the face and/or neck;
Almost all have only come on since around 2004 (-ish) ... no-one has reported a problem affecting previous generations … age is no barrier to this, with some sufferers in their twenties thru to seventies … listed comments include “ … all of a sudden… ” … “… like flipping a switch … “ … “… less of a buzz than before … “ and “...thought it was just me …”
Thread opened on March 11th 2008—currently totalling 275 posts;
Little or no real medical input thus-far.
Specific pre-existing or present causal suspicions (where any were suggested) taken from all posts:-
Don't know what we're all going to make of this precis, but at least it will save having to remember/refer back thru 200+ posts and may well get someone to add 2+2 and come up with 4!
Speaking personally, I have just gone with the Excedrin (1) + Paracetamol (1) tabs both before and after a fairly strong session today (purely for research purposes you all understand) ... and am, thus-far, pain-free.
Still not the answer long-term though, as we all know.
I am not a bit interested in alcohol effects since I can't drink, but I am VERY IMPRESSED with your compilation of the comments. I hope that others thank you properly for all your very helpful information. What a gem you are!!!
It is clear to me that all of us here have started suffering from (little) alcohol intake after previously not having had those negative effects. Same for me, it started some 2 years ago. I am a very careful drinker now, I love a glass of wine and still have it. One glass normally fine, but a second one can do quite some damage.
What helps for me is to take 1 Saridon (contains coffein, paracetamol and propyfenazon) when I feel the first slight headache coming up. Then take another one before going to sleep.
When I start too late, then it does not work anymore. Only remedy then is too take a long massaging shower, eat some food and drink lots of coffee. But will have headache for quite some hours then.
Other symptom I have is dehydratation (dry tongue, etc).
What I will do now is have my hypothyroid condition checked, and see if that is a cause.
That's an interesting addition to the mix Marcus (will have to start again now ...!).
Like yourself tho', I'm looking for a source other than just simply alcohol for our headaches. In my case, as I mentioned elsewhere, I was told my my doctor that I had joined '80% of the UK population' in becoming Type-2 diabetic ... which would, I think, have coincided roughly with the onset of the headaches. It may very well be a red herring but I think it's well-worth exploring - especially with reference to the dry mouth, general dehydration, etc., etc.
It's going to be my next task to watch these posts carefully and see just how many 'Type 2 symptoms' other headache sufferers have in common with myself - especially bearing in mind that this apparent surge of Type 2 appears to be a comparatively 'recent' thing.
Having said all of this, although I'm very grateful to MedHelp for the facility to air these threads, a little more medical input from them in eliminating various things we've discussed like this would have saved an awful lot of research and time maybe .... ?
I am suffering. From same problem , even after single peg of scotch, whiskey or any alcohol I get hedace next day morning and stays till third day .
Pain starts from my neck to my head( left side )
I googled and consulted many ,
What I came to know or can say researched is
-blockage in heart vessels
Can any one suggest is they too been told the same
You may see Mike that the previous 270+ posts refer to virtually identical symptoms.
There is no real sign thaat any of us has discovered a 'cure' for this, or even got anywhere near identifying the basic problem since I first started posting in 2008.
However, what I now take as a result of everyone else's experiences is 1 x Excedrin (which is an acetaminophen, aspirin and caffeine combination) and 1 x paracetamol about half an hour before I start drinking followed by the same combination as soon as I stop drinking ... but, at any rate, before the onset of ANY headache symptoms (too late in my experience).
Have to be blunt here and say that, in the absence of any alternatives, popping pills has certainly curtailed my 'usual' drinking habits - but this treatment certainly allows me to have a session maybe once a week (so far!).
Hope this helps.
Having realised just how well you research your posts, it was interesting to see your post on Synthroid. However, I don't think it would be good for an awful lot of due due to the following:
"As all the medication Synthroid may affect your general health condition if you have some other disorders or diseases. When prescribing the medication the following factors should be discussed with your doctor.
- Tell your doctor about the drugs you are taking including herbal remedies or vitamins. The following medications can be especially dangerous: antidepressants, amphetamines, anticoagulants, certain contraceptives etc.
- Inform your doctor if you have the allergy to thyroid hormone, povidone iodine, tartrazine, lactose or other drugs and food.
- Be sure that you do not have certain kidney, liver and heart diseases.
- If you have diabetes and you are taking insulin or oral medications, the dosage of Synthroid may be corrected.
- Your doctor should know if you are suffering from such diseases as atherosclerosis, high blood pressure or coronary artery disease, or problems with blood clotting and bleeding.
- Inform your dentist and an emergency medical help doctor about Buy Synthroid you are taking.
- Synthroid is also may be dangerous in people with osteoporosis (especially in postmenopausal women), pituitary or fertility problems or trouble swallowing.
- Inform your doctor about recent or future surgeries.
- If you are pregnant or planning pregnancy Synthroid can make harm to an unborn baby. It is also found in breast milk. The treatment with this medication should be corrected to prevent the possible risks for your child.
- Canadian Synthroid should never be used to treat obesity in people with proper thyroid hormone level. It can cause the serious or even fatal toxicity. ..."
Ah well, I'm obviously pleased it works for you, but I think the rest of us have to VERY careful that our quest to find a cure for drinking headaches doesn't put us in even more danger.
"Funny" that you all have the same problem as me. My problems started 7 months ago (I'm 45) and it started with red wine, than beer and now even white wine. I can drink dark rum without problems, I actually not even get drunk despite 30 cl.
I did suffer some problems with a tooth infection that didn't go away and have eaten a lot of antibiotics for it, anyone else had some problems with bacterias or eaten antibiotics in the past? Have you had some amalgam fillings removed before this alcohol problem started?
Wow four years strong! I'm not sure I have anything to add that anyone else hasn't already... but will anyway. :-)
I'm 41 and lead a relatively healthy lifestyle. I workout 3-5 times per week (heavy weights + some cardio), eat a pretty lean, clean diet for the most part and drink about ten 16-oz glasses of water per day.
In common with some other posters, I have a slight degenerative condition in my neck - thinning between the vertebrae, which causes frequent neck and upper back pain. About two years ago I herniated a disc in my neck, which hasn't helped matters. But I continue on, managing with chiropractic care, strengthening the muscles and using a traction device on a regular basis.
About a year and a half ago, I suddenly developed some food allergies and intolerances that include gluten, dairy and corn. So my diet obviously now avoids all those items and derivatives of them.
I eat a very low carb diet. Eating every three hours, 5-6 times per day, small meals consisting of a lean protein and a veggie or fruit. Only grain carbs after a workout. I do allow myself one cheat day to consume whatever I want (except allergy foods obviously).
I take a ton of vitamins daily. Everything from a mens multi to B, C, D, E, K, L-carnitine, milk thistle, feverfew/butterbur, probiotics and digestive enzymes when I eat.
I have suffered headaches since I was a kid. A couple known triggers are citrus and chocolate, so I've always avoided them. I take topamax to help control them and take imitrex or relpax when they hit.
With that background in mind, I have recently developed the same alcohol "intolerence" or whatever it is that we all seem to be suffering from.
I can't drink beer because of the gluten thing; my drink of choice is generally single malt scotch or a good sipping tequila. If I have a couple drinks, I'll either develop a headache before bed or have one within a couple hours of falling asleep. The headaches usually start on the left frontal lobe and sometimes spread across my temples and to the right side. They will last the entire following day, sometimes spanning two days.
I've tried taking my migraine meds, or advil or vicodin, sometimes all of them. Sometimes they work, most of the time they don't.
Thinking my liver was the cause, I've tried doing a detox twice. Once a whole system detox and then a liver only detox. No dice, still a headache after only a couple drinks.
I'm thinking I've developed an intolerence to alcohol the same way I suddenly developed it to gluten and dairy at the age of 40.
From what I can tell after reading through most of the above posts, there doesn't seem to be a surefire cause or cure. If I did miss a true cause or cure, please let me know!
Hi Jeff ...
The only reason I'm coming back here is that, after some 280 posts (!), I think we needed someone to moderate to save everyone having to go back four years. I volunteered myself, both for the precis of symptoms/causes/potential 'cures', etc., etc., simply because it was 'there' to be done. However, I am quite happy for someone better-qualified to join me or take over.
Either way, it would sound to my layman's ear as if you were already suffering migraine-type symptoms well before the perceived allergic reaction to alcohol?
Am not sure yet how - or even whether - these two sets of symptoms are related, but one thing we all know is that, with the introduction of alcohol to the equation, we ALL get blinding headaches which are difficult, if not impossible to shift.
On that basis, until we can get some identification of our particular 'allergy'(?) or intolerance, we have to go (by definition) I suppose, with what gives most sufferers some relief.
Personally, I am still persevering with the single Excedrin (Anadin Maximum Strength in the UK I think is the equivalent) just before the alcohol intake and one immediately afterwards - but BEFORE any symptoms, or even 'presence', of a headache arrives.
I have also been relatively successful with a topical analgesic such as 'Head-On' (or '4-Head' in the UK) applied to the back of the neck and across the eyebrow line (and have just received my latest pack from the Good Ol' US of A of IcyHot Power Gel - verdict maybe later today).
Overall, it seems a combination of the above - taken exactly as suggested - seems the best bet. However, as with some other correspondents, the Excedrin 'cure' in isolation seems to work only for limited periods.
Hope this helps, otherwise your next headache may come from having to plough back through all these posts - welcome to the Club!
mark, you are correct... synthroid is not for everyone. i believe one of your correspondents nailed it when he said we are all susceptible to migraine headaches and alcohol is just a potent trigger. synthroid works for me because it levels out my hypothyroid and anytime you improve your health you can hope to get less migraines.
as i stated earlier and some of your correspondents agree.... one caffeinated aspirin before drinking and one after drinking is a good short term solution.
I am 60 years old and my headaches started about four years ago, right after I was diagnosed with type II diabetes. I had been a moderate/heavy drinker for many years. The story is similar to most of the others on this thread. Suddenly, any amount of alcohol triggered a headache. Not a "hangover" the next morning, but a headache within an hour or two of having a drink. My headaches are severe, in the back of my head, only, and would wake me up, usually an hour or so after I had gone to bed. I completely gave up drinking, as it just wasn't worth it (as much as I love a glass of scotch). Then, after giving up alcohol, I found that I still would get the exact same headaches if I ate any considerable amount of sugar. A piece of cake, a cookie or some ice cream. Even if there was sugar in spaghetti sauce, or something else similar. One night, early on in my heaqdache experiences, I decided that I wouldn't be able to get back to sleep, so I decided to make coffee and go ahead and stay up. Drinking the coffee eased the pain enough that I was able to go back to sleep. I have also found that if I lay my neck on an ice bag, I can get back to sleep. When I wake up in the morning, the pain is always gone, with no residual symptoms. You have asked, a few times, about sugar, and I am certain that it is related, at least to my headaches. My family doctor has tried prescribing a few different migraine type drugs, and they did not help. He sent me to a head ache specialist, who sent me to a neurologist, who gave me cortisone shots in my neck. They didn't help. I went to a accupuncturist who swore that he could cure this problem. Several treatments later, it didn't help. I am certain it is sugar related and would love to find an answer to the problem.
I wonder - just wonder - whether sugar_blues has started to get closer to the cause of this problem.
Speaking personally, I am also Type 2 diabetic. It was diagnosed some time ago, but how long have I ACTUALLY been suffering from it is maybe the question.
The sugar issue is (I thought) altogether different - but is it? I really believe that sugars, especially the refined 'white' variety, feed cancers and are generally non-beneficial to the human body, but, of course, they are inextricably linked to alcohol by definition, aren't they?
There is no doubt that, in our Western society, there is, increasingly, too much sugar in almost everything we eat (they've just exposed our 'healthy' breakfast cereals here in the UK) whilst, of course, our bodies will extract/convert sugar from almost everything we eat - even things like chicken breasts, I gather!
Overall, not sure where I'm going here, but having been most other places in this thread, is this alcohol/sugar/diabetes connection worth exploring? Maybe this could explain why the fact that more and more of our foods are heavily processed with (effectively) poisons including sugars would account for why this problem of ours is an increasing problem not reported in bygone generations.
The more cynical amongst us MAY even begin to suspect that the reason none of the powers-that-be want to enter this debate MAY be because the food industry would stand to lose a fortune if it were proved to be true?
Getting back to where we were, I, for one had no idea at all I was suffering - like (apparently 80% of the UK population) from Type 2 until my doctor insisted I was checked for it.
Food for thought?
P.S.:- Just for the record, my 'IcyHot' balm trial didn't have much - if any - effect on the headaches. Apart from the American 'Head-On' and the UK's '4-Head', the only thing that really did help the caffeine/aspirin tablet combination was Back-Aid Back Balm(!) on my neck and forehead ... and they don't make it anymore!
I am so glad that I have finally found somewhere to talk about this problem where the response isn’t “Duuh! It’s called a hangover” I have just read through these posts (wish I’d found the summary sooner) and find that I have so many things in common with many of you. I have suffered from migraines since I was 18 (now 56). I have identified a few different triggers but found that the main culprit is stress. Like many others I also have a minor neck problem caused by whiplash injury many years ago.
About four years ago though I started to experience headaches that are more like the cluster headaches being described on this site. At first they were not too painful and were quite infrequent but over time they became more intense and were happening more and more often. I suddenly realised that the common factor was white wine and although I tried to deny it and ignore it the situation got worse so I drastically cut down my white wine consumption. I did occasionally indulge on a Saturday night though and put up with the terrible headache that lasted all the next day. Here’s where my story differs to the others here. I found that I could drink any white wines while on holiday and over the Christmas period without any ill effect at all. This led me to believe that these headaches too had a stress factor involved.
About a year ago I thought I was having a particularly bad alcohol induced headache but when it had got no better after about 12 hours my husband insisted on taking me to A&E. It turned out to be a very serious eye problem and the pressure in my right eye was over 70 (normal reading between 10 and 20). As a result, I had laser surgery performed on both eyes to prevent the problem reoccurring.
After the surgery the headaches completely disappeared. But before you all rush out to have holes blasted into your irises, it was only temporary. The headaches returned after about three months and I am now finding that I can’t drink any kind of alcohol without suffering the headaches. I also find that after drinking and when I have a headache, I also have raised pressure in my eye. This, according to my eye specialist is just a coincidence. Just thought I’d mention it though as it could be something to consider the next time you get your eyes checked. Anyway, as I said earlier, when I am on holiday I don’t suffer from the problem at all, so I have come to the conclusion that the solution in my case is early retirement and more frequent holidays. What do you rate my chances of getting that on the NHS?
I just discovered this forum and like everyone else I am happy to learn I am not alone. I am 44 have been dealing with the issue for about 10 years now. I have not found anything that helps long term and my symptoms are like everyones. I cannot even drink a sip of alcohol without the headache and I also have back and spine issues.
I have always thought that the solution is hovering out there so obviously that we're all missing it - but it's only by keeping this going and comparing notes that we may find it.
From the last few postings alone, we have a recurrence of upper back/neck problems along with the obvious exacerbation by alcohol - and the added possibility now of eye involvement.
Personally, I know that I have this disc degeneration problem towards the top of my spine and I also know that my medic's previous suggestion that I stand up against a wall and press my spine, back and neck into it helps massively with the headaches. In fact, I've also noticed that, if I've kept moving after the drinks or had a bath where I lay back and put the rim of the tub on the back of my neck for ten minutes or so, the pain eases noticeably. As we all know from this site however, different things work for different people.
Just for reference, I've been summoned by the good old NHS (our British National Health Service, for the benefit of our American cousins), for a 'Diabetic Retinopathy Screening' this week. Apparently, this photographic screening of the eyes tells them quite a bit, so will report back on this - as with everything else - if it has any relevance to 'our' problem.
Alcohol beverages-induced headache may have different causes, triggers and symptoms, so we are not hunting for a single thing here.
ASIAN FLUSH REACTION. About 50% west Asians get a flush over the face and chest within minutes of starting drinking any type of alcoholic beverage. Nausea and headache are possible. Symptoms may last for several hours.The cause is a genetic lack of a certain enzyme. Europeans and Americans of Caucasian origin very rarerly have this disorder.
CLUSTER HEADACHE. Sudden, severe pain on ONE SIDE of the head, possibly starting in one eye and eventually extending from the neck to the temple (eyebrow). Pain starts few minutes to several hours after drinking, commonly in the middle of the night and lasts from 15 minutes to 3 hours. The affected person is RESTLESS and wants to move around. Other common triggers include smoking, heat, intense light, nitrites (in preserved meats), certain medications. Headache occurs in clusters that may last for several days/weeks in a row and are followed by a headache-free period, lasting for months. SUMATRIPAN and/or inhaling 100% oxygen (portable containers are available) may help relieve headache.
MIGRAINE HEADACHE is usually a THROBBING headache often starting on one side and sometimes spreading to both sides of the head. It may be triggered by alcohol or other ingredients of alco. beverages: histamine or tyramine. Other possible triggers: emotional stress, flashing lights, hypoglycemia, MSG...Headache starts 30 minutes to 3 hours after starting drinking and may last for 4-72 hours. Affected person wants to LIE DOWN in peace and dark. EXCEDRIN, CAFFEINE or regular painkillers, such as IBUPROFEN often help.
HISTAMINE INTOLERANCE. Headache, flushing and, sometimes, nausea, hives, itchiness, abdominal pain, diarrhea, difficulty breathing may occur 3-24 hours after drinking any type of alcohol (ethanol stimulates the release of histamine in the body), or beverages containg histamine, especially red wine, but also white wine, cider, beer (or some type of beer), wine coolers. Foods high in histamine include fish (especially if not fresh), cheese, cured meats, sauerkraut and others..., and certain medications, like aspirin, metoclopramide, verapamil. Combining alcohol and histamine-rich foods may also trigger headache. Antihistamines (H1 BLOCKERS, such as loratidine), and vitamin C and vitamin B6 may help relieve headache. The underlying cause is a deficiency of diamine oxidase (DAO), an enzyme that normally breaks down histamine from food. Regular excessive drinking may also inhibit this enzyme and cause histamine intolerance. Prevention is with a low-histamine diet. Diagnosis may be confirmed by challege test with histamine, improvement of symptoms after a low-histamine diet, high blood histamine levels or low DAO levels.
The exact cause of "RED WINE HEADACHE" (RWH) is still not known; histamine or tannins, among other, may trigger it.
SULFITES from wine and beer are NOT a common cause of headache, they mainly cause difficulty breathing in asthmatics; non-asthmatics are rarely affected.
Sudden, severe pain under one or both ears or "PAIN IN THE JAW" DURING drinking, especially when drinking during eating, may be caused by chewing that forces alcohol to flow back through the salivary duct(s) into the parotyd gland.
BULGING or HENIATED DISC or ARTHRITIS in the NECK is a common cause of "CERVICOGENIC HEADACHE". Compression of the sensory nerves that supply the affected side of the head may be involved. Tilting the head may trigger headache. Alcohol may act as an additional trigger.
In DIABETES 1 or 2, one possible cause of headache is NEURITIS (inflammation of one or more nerves on the head).
TEMPORAL ARTERITIS is a rheumatic inflammation of the arteries in one or both temples. Bulging and tender vessels are characteristic. Alcohol may worsen headache.
In individuals with MIGRAINES and HISTAMINE INTOLERANCE, psychological stress, exercise, lack of sleep and diet may be additional triggers, what may explain why the same amount of alcohol does not always trigger headache.
I'm not a doctor, but I have finished medical faculty and have done some research about alcohol lately.
You profess not to be completely medically qualified, but am moved to say that you've given us a far better medical insight here than we've actually had from anyone else on the site - for some reason that we've never had explained.
Granted, there was a little bit of interest (that we may have been entitled to expect was ongoing) when I started this in 2008, but we're left with two options:- either there are no experts on the site any more ... or someone knows more than they're owning up to!
Anyway, we are where we are, as they say, but I suppose most of us on here are not medcically-aware enough to decide which of the options you list apply to us. It seems, overall, we're all looking for a silver bullet 'cure-all'.
On that basis Boron ... any suggestions?
1) Which exact alcohol beverages cause symptoms and which not? Which other foods trigger symptoms? When did you noticed symptoms for the first time and do they appear every time you drink?
2) In what time after starting drinking symptoms appear and how long do they last?
3) What helps: which exact drug, rest...?
See if your symptoms fit any category in my above post. You can read the articles in links attached. Then try to avoid triggering beverages and foods. If this does not help, see a doctor.
1. You experience headache and flushing every time you drink any type of alcohol from as long you can remember - it's probably an "Asian flush reaction".
2. You get generalized headache and allergy-like symptoms (itching, hives) only after red wine, but not white wine or at least not after clear vodka - it's obviously not ethanol, but probably histamine or tyramine what triggers symptoms. In this case you would also react to cheese and fish, which are high in histamine and tyramine. So, this speaks for histamine intolerance; an allergologist can make appropriate tests. You can try a low-histamine diet:
or see an allergologist to have appropriate tests.
3. You get sudden, severe headache that makes you restless, but lasts "only" up to 3 hours, and sumatripan helps - it's likely a cluster headache. Migraine would make you want to go to bed and it will last longer - this is how these two headaches differ. A neurologist can help you find appropriate treatment.
4. Hangover headache usually starts only 4 or more hours after stopping drinking - when blood alcohol concentration falls to a certain level.
5. If you have problems with the neck spine and headache, see a neurologist or neurosurgeon and discuss about surgery.
You don't happen to need alternative employment do you Boron? If so, I'm quite happy to forward your name to MedHelp as (it would appear) the only researcher/medical advisor they seem to have on this subject!
I realise you may not have read all the other posts, but, as many of them reflect, sufferers of this strange affliction have been ridiculed and mostly, ignored over it.
Personally, it's going to be really interesting to go through your posts a bit at a time to further narrow all the options down.
The only thing that is still outstanding to my mind is why it would appear that this is a reasonably recent phenomenon? It has only (seemingly) surfaced within the last decade from what I can see. I can find no trace of reports from previous generations of it and it obviously affects all ages, judging by this forum.
Either way, Boron, I'm sure I can speak for all of us 'sufferers' when I offer our gratitude for your attempts to move us a step forward with this.
I'm writing a comprehensive article about alcohol (still researching) and other nutrients and when I finish it I'll need to sell it...
I've read more than half of the posts in this thread. Those who mentioned pain "up to the eyebrow" or "temple" always on one side, likely suffer from "cluster headache," so this is the term for them for further research. Alcohol (probably ethanol itself) is only one of many possible triggers, but maybe, for some, it is the only trigger.
The term "red wine headache" or "RWH" is known for quite some time, but the exact triggering substance has not been identified yet. I strongly suspect histamine. There were some controlled studied done, and both red wine and histamine triggered headache in those with history of "wine headache." I found almost no scientific evidence that sulfites or salicylates naturally present in wine would trigger headache (even if salicylates in much higher doses, such as in aspirin are a known trigger of headache).
Doctors (GPs) often ignore these intolerances, because "you don't need to drink alcohol, so what's the big deal." They are partly correct: if alcohol causes you pain why are you torturing yourself with it. Alcohol-induced headache sufferers should understand that avoiding alcohol may solve their problem. Those with lactose intolerance avoid lactose and they may be fine. Those with celiac disease avoid gluten and may be fine. Some people here mentioned sugar as a trigger of headache. I found no direct association between sugar and headache so far, but if avoiding sugar helps, avoid it. You don't always need to understand how it works.
One common misconception is that alcohol "improves mood." It was proven that alcohol enhances your current mood: if you are happy it will make you happier, if you are anxious about some current issue, it will likely make you more anxious. If you are tired, it will make you more tired, and if sleepy, it will make you more sleepy. If you already had a lot of stress at a given day, alcohol may just push you over and cause headace.
It was also proven that alcohol may act "as you expect it will." They gave participants to drink non-alcoholic wine, but participants thought it was alcohol in it and then they reported "relaxation," "sensation of warmth" and other typical "drunk" symptoms.
I am not alone!! I am now considering getting different tests done to see about my liver and thyroid due to what I have read in these posts.
I started having migraines after my second child was born. Then after that everything seemed to trigger migraines in me. Hormones, sugar, light beer, red wine, cheese, white wine etc. On occasion I can have a glass of wine without a headache but that is very rare. Mine always start in the base of my skull upper neck. However I still feel stiff and sore even after my meds kick in.
I recently lost 22lbs and my headaches were better. I feel that may be because my main food source is now veggies and white meats. Try to eat very clean, most of the time. I always drink lots of water all the time and have eliminated many foods. But last night I ate choc. chip cookie, chips and salsa, sweet potato fries along with light beer and sure enough I had that old headache. The good news is my imitrex lasted two months which is a miracle for me, until now. I am so frustrated with these migraines, which I have been getting for about 12 years. I am 44. So I am going back to eating right and not drinking for a while to see if that helps. But I really want to understand the cause of these migraines, I want to know why this happens to me 9 out of 10 times I drink any type of alcohol.
I read botox is now approved by the FDA as a treatment of migraines. Will be calling my insurance about that ASAP.
In lighter mood (temporarily I guess!) Suzie, >>> " ... but last night I ate choc. chip cookie, chips and salsa, sweet potato fries along with light beer and sure enough I had that old headache ..." <<>> " ...Doctors (GPs) often ignore these intolerances, because "you don't need to drink alcohol, so what's the big deal..." <<< remind me never to date a medic!!!
On a more serious note, I don't think (?) anyone's really mentioned the botox possibility, but it's only by throwing these possibilities around that we're going to maybe get to the bottom of this.
It's coming up to summer ... and dammit ... I ENJOY a drink and I'm gonna have one as and when ... headaches or otherwise!
I've done some research on migraines and headaches previously, also on alcohol recently. Please, consider trying diet eliminations first, before spending a lot of money on investigations. Migraines in most cases are triggered by something external: foods, drinks, stress, flashing lights, even smells...
Beer, wine and cheese all contain tyramine and histamine, which both are commonly reported migraine triggers. Alcohol (any type) stimulates the release of histamine in the body, so combining alcohol with tyramine/histamine rich foods may even easier trigger migraine.
But, are you sure your headaches are migraine attacks? Do you think you could have a problem with your cervical spine (bulging disc/arthritis)?
I too have suffered from alcohol headaches for over twenty years. Prior to that, I had no issue. Now if I drink more than two beers and sometimes less, I experience the pain in the back of my head (typically the next morning). It then works its way to my eye. I am a craft beer enthusiast so this is a pain. Anyway, I have tried just about everything that all of you have tried. Nothing has been the magic bullet. I happened to be searching the internet during a recent painful day and found something called Kudzu root. I bought a bottle of capsules at a local herbal pharmacy. After one dose I could feel almost a release of pressure in the back of my head and neck. Also, I had a beer and felt as though I drank a glass of water (no tightening, aching, etc.). Tonight, I am going to experiment with two and see if I have the same results. I will let you all know.
I tested the Kudzu root theory yesterday. I drank two and a half beers. Usually any more than two and I get a headache the next morning. I had no headache this morning and no feeling that I might get one. I did take one extra capsule after finishing my last beer. I had already taken the recommended amount before drinking. Next time I will plan my doses around my drinking session. I'm not completely sold. Maybe I just got lucky this time but will continue to test the Kudzu supplements. The supplements are very cheap so I have my hopes up. I'll will make sure to provide an update.
I would have to wonder how many of you have eyeglasses. This might not seem important but some of they symptoms you all describe could be caused by eye strain. It won’t start in the eyes because of the ancillary muscles that help control eye movement. I have had a similar issue develop but not due to alcohol or any related issue that my doctor could find. Being Far-sighted seems to increase this tendency because we strain to see things far away even with our glasses on. Alcohol will actually increase the strain because you start to lose motor functions, even a couple of grams of alcohol can have an extreme effect. This causes the muscles around the eye to strain, you will start to feel it even as low as your shoulders which is where mine started. MRIs, X-rays couldn’t determine anything. I even have had my eye pressure tested (normal) my optic nerve is completely fine.
Needing Glasses is such a simple cause and even if your eyes are 20/20 when you drink even your ocular muscles are affected. I can almost bet that some of you need eye exams and may possible need glasses to ease the strain on your eyes.
Wanted to make sure about what I said, seems I still mix up far-sightedness and near-sightedness. Myopia, the eyes ability to see things up close but not far away is what I meant. Sorry for the mix up!
Did some more research, because as I have read more and more posts. I had to consider where everyone was indicating their headaches were originating from. I am almost positive now that it has to do with the eyes and the strain that is put on them. I went ever further than my own experience and was able to contact an Ophthalmology Surgeon I had worked for years ago. He actually turned me on to this ocular migraine, and also stated that any eye problems Hyperopia-Myopia may be a factor that people are forgetting, especially considering alcohol intake over the years. He stated that it can take time for people to develop eye problems (considering some of the ages posted) and that it sounded like some have a predisposition for developing eye problems (considered because of some of the younger ones who have posted). Needless to say it was an interesting conversation, especially considering the time.
Like in other migraines, the exact cause of ocular migraine is still a topic of debate. The most nearest and convincing explanation is that it is caused due to vascular spasm that affects the ocular blood vessel supplying blood to the vision center in the brain. Changes in the blood flow in the vessels cause the severe throbbing, pounding effects of headache, or even flushing affects.
It is believed that ocular migraine is triggered by over stress, oral contraceptives, premenstrual changes, Alcohol (WHICH SEEMS TO BE THE MOST PREVALENT LINK IN ALL OF THE ACCOUNTS), and certain victuals such as chocolate, red wine, chicken livers, meats preserved in nitrates, milk and poor Circadian Rhythm (Sleep Patterns For The Layperson)
All the clear liquors are OK, just cannot drink anything dark or wines.
Vodka, Rum and anything clear will not effect you other than the usual too much to drink problems.
I am a migraine suffer and am not 59 and could drink anything up to the last 5 years and all of a sudden everything besides the clear liquids brought on a migraine.
I asked my Migrained specialist if this was true and he said I was correct and to stick to clear alcohols.
Good luck and I am just as fustrated.
My best over the counter trick for getting rid of migraines is the following cocktail.......
3 Excedrine Migaine with a Coke. Works better than pain pills.
My doctor also gives me Zebutal 50/500/40.
I take two of these when I feel one coming on and one maybe 30 minutes or so later if it is still around and works great. Use this i leiu of the above cocktail for really bad one coming on.
Please cut out Soy. It is a major triger for me and it is in so many foods, espeically asian foods and sushi, in which I love. I can almost smell and get a headache. I suffer from cluster headaches.
You are really on to something, as I found out by going on atkins diet to loose weight for two months and not only lost 40 lbs but did not have a single migraine.
I also discovered that I was alergic to milk (latic acid) and was a heavy drinker of milk all my life. Feel much better without it.
They had progressed to the point that I suffered more days with than without them.
I went off the diet and imediately started having them again as I did not try to slowly introduce certain things again, just happend on the two months of great health.
Now I am going to go back on it and slowly re-introduce one food group at a time.
I think I can get rid of most of them, however I know Barametric Pressure, lack of sleep, and stress can cause them as well. But like you say it may be the combination of foods and those above may be the real triggers.
Thanks for your insights and please get off of soy.
I am so glad that I stumbled upon this forum. I cannot drink even one beer without getting a headache. Within minutes of consuming alcohol, my face, chest, and arms become extremely red and blotchy. The headache usually starts about 15 minutes later. I've dealt with being red and blotchy since I started drinking when I was 21 (I'm now 31) but the headaches only started about 2 years ago. Nothing helps. My thyroids function normally and am not diabetic. I've been tested several times. My doctor referred me to a specialist and they attempted to prescribe Topamax. Unfortunately, I take a medication that cannot be taken with Topamax due to the risk. I've pretty much given up on drinking alcohol at this point because it's not worth the headache. I can deal with being red & blotchy but cannot deal with a headache. It really stinks because every once in awhile it's nice to have a few drinks and relax.
In some ways, heartening to see more people posting on here about this problem (the more there are of us, the more likely someone medical MAY take an interest one day) although sad to welcome you to such an unpleasant 'club'.
Looking through these last few new posts however, they all seem to be variations on the same theme - with suggested 'cures' following that same path - i.e. soy products ... darker alcohols not causing problems, etc.
If those new to the forum would care to scroll back to posts around the #285 area, you'll note that I did a precis of everyone's posts since I first raised this in 2008.
It seems to bear out that (a bit like diseases such as MS) the infuriating fact is that what will work for one does not necessarily work for another. I have even recorded that someone drinking non-alcoholic beers can get the headaches too.
So ... overall, keep the suggestions coming ... but, thus-far, we don't seem to have reached a common set of causes or treatments by any means - apart from (usually!) alcohol.
I am writing to thank you! Your post seems to have allowed me to drink alcohol without a pounding headache (sometimes migraine) again. I seemed to have developed what I think is an allergy to alcohol. I took a drug store brand allergy medicine (without the pseudoephedrine as you suggested) a few hours before having drinks and I didn't get the nasty terrible headache (which usually lasts several days). I wasn't able to have 1-2 drinks without getting it before. I just celebrated my birthday having cocktails three nights in a row!!! Nothing. I thank you!! :)
So glad to realize its not just me. Has anyone tried Vitamin B2 (riboflavin)? I recently went to my doctorand mentioned my frequent headaches. He said they were Migraines and told me to take 400mg of Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) every day. He said it could take up to 90 days to see results. I took it for about two weeks, and became optomistic and had a couple of drinks and of course paid dearly. However, when I look it up online, there seem to be alot of people who are getting good results with this. I have read all of the posts here and no one has mentioned Vitamin B2. Anyone out there heard of this or more importantly used this methed and had good results? Thanks.
Try allergy medicine (without the pseudoephedrine) as it sounds like you suffer like I did. I drink socially a few times a month... this helped me and I no longer have the terrible (several day) headaches. Good luck!
Yes, I too suffer from this problem, as well as Clusters for the past 10 years and a constant headache every day for the past 20+ years. I have totaly sworn off ALL alcohol, because no matter what I try I don't have good luck with it. Being a Cluster sufferer makes me more at risk for the alcohol HA's. I have tried everything talked about on this forum and have not had any luck with anything. Although I have not seen anyone with my same problems ie. daily headache and clusters.Good luck to you all!
Read all the posts, and wanted to add my two cents worth, especially after the recent posts regarding possible vision issues.
I'm a 41-yr. old male, and I have drank fairly heavily for the past twenty years. Beer has always been my beverage of choice. I'm 6'4" and 270 lbs., so I can really pound them down without becoming "stupid" drunk or worrying about a hangover the next day.
About a month ago, I started to wake up in the middle-of-the-night with a pounding headache, usually from one-two hours after I had stopped drinking for the night and had gone to bed. From the posts above, I would describe it as a "cluster" headache. They would usually last from one-two hours, until I eventually discovered that a cup of strong coffee would kill it within 20-30 minutes.
The headaches seemed to be getting worse and worse, until just last week, it hit me early in the evening, after just my 2nd beer. I proceeded to down a cup a coffee, and simply retired early