Allergies - Food Community
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Avatar universal

sudden onset alcohol intolerance

I don't know if I am submitting this in the correct forum, but I didn't see another one to try just yet. I am 47 and have been a social drinker since I became of age. Within the last year I suddenly cannot drink any alcohol. I get as sick as if I had been on a binge - trembling sick with nausea when I go to bed. I have to throw up everything in my stomach and then take phenergan. I am violently ill. Two years ago I lost 20+ lbs by cutting carbs. Could this have caused any chemical changes? I don't drink a drop any more. I can live without alcohol but am very puzzled about this sudden change. What could cause it? Thank you.
111 Responses
Avatar universal
I highly doubt that cutting back on carbs caused an intolerance to alcohol.

A person can suddenly develop an intolerance/allergy overnight.

Here's an interesting read on alcohol intolerance.


I'm guessing for a histamine intolerance! do you get the same probs if you eat tomatos? if yes, or only a bit, you should go for a histamine test. If tested positive, I can recommend you the dietary supplement daosin ;)
918441 tn?1243403649
You could have an allergy to Brewers Yeast.

I'm allergic to Brewers Yeast and get VERY nauseous.

Tequila and Vodka do not have brewers yeast in them.
Avatar universal
I am a 41 yr old female who has enjoyed drinking socially since the age of 18.  Lately, when I drink 2 to 3 alcoholic drinks, even over a period of time, I become violently ill.  The last episode just happened on Sunday and I vomited for 12 hours.  Still being sick today (Monday, June 1st)
I went to see my doctor.  They drew some blood and when I get my results back this week I'll post the findings.  
My guess is I have become alcohol intolerant.  I also realized this has been gradually getting worse with symptoms starting as early as last summer.  Hopefully we can find an answer.  While I'm fine with never drinking again, I'd just like some assurance it isn't a symptom of a more serious condition.
I have the same problem too!  I am 50 and it just started.  It does not seem to matter what I drink.  Even a small glass of wine will do this.  I do have a thyroid condition but I am going to visit a gastroenterologist
Avatar universal
Well, I just got back from my doctor's and he said all of my blood work is normal.  He said drinking alcohol is causing gastritis and if I continue, it will only get worse.  This is terrible for my social life but great news for my fickely gastro thingy magingies.  :)
Besides, nothing good ever comes from a night out drinking,
and now my friends have a designated driver!
Avatar universal
Thanks for the update on your bloodwork. Glad everything looks good. I have had gastritis several times, and it is very painful. My nausea is not associated with pain, and I'm pretty sure not gastritis. Unless, you have pain with or days after your episodes, I would keep asking questions, unless you just don't mind not drinking. I'm over it - mostly.
Thanks, sseaweed.
Avatar universal
You should just stop drinking alcohol for prevention of vomitting...
Maybe you drink too much...,
You should drink a little ..,it's for your own good
Avatar universal
Allergies can strike anytime. my aunt was in alcoholics anonymous for many many years and she always said she was allergic to booze. good luck to you.
Avatar universal
I'm a 30yr old male in good shape and have not been able to drink alcohol without feeling sick for 3 yrs. I've always been able to drink with no problems, but at the age of 27 I started to get very sick off 1 or 2 drinks. I can eat or drink anything else including very spicy food with no reaction, alcohol is the only thing that triggers this. I've been to three GI's including one at the Mayo clinic plus an allergist. After multiple test no of them could explain why my tolerance to alcohol had changed. I had to stop drinking all together for 9 months to get my stomach back to normal, I can now handle 3-4 drinks on a special occasion about every 60 days with. If I try to push it, my stomach pays for the next week.
Avatar universal
I am now 51 and have been suffering with this same affliction for the past 10 years.  Within this time, I've ended up in the hospital (7 times now) on saline IVs after spending hours vomiting/diarrhea which results in having severe leg cramps (and many expensive EMS "cab" rides).  I am in excellent health otherwise (weight and physical aspects).  I have found that if I take two Pepto tablets prior to one alcohol drink, I am okay.  It is amazing at how many people are curious as to what happens to me when I drink (all the cocktail pushers).  My friends make sure that no one slips me something...could be deadly.  Dehydration can cause cardiac arrest.  Best to be the designated driver and act like you've had a few cocktails ;-)
Avatar universal
I am a 22 year old Male. For the past few months yet I have seemed to develop some sort of intolerance to alcohol. Having a few drinks is fine if I haven't drinking more then 4 alcoholic drinks the night before. However when Indulge a bit more my problems arise. Hangovers start off like a usual bad hangover, then progress to something different that last a few days (2-3). Hard to explain feeling: bad headache, foggy head, lack of motivation, overall crummy feeling, depression, fatigue. Alcohol definitely doesn’t work with my body during the 2-3 days.  One drink will make me feel immediately bad. Unlike past hangovers when I could snap out of it after a few hours by doing a physical activity and drinking plenty of fluids/getting a good meal in, there is nothing I can do yet to snap this feeling. It seems like all types of alcoholic beverages have the same effects. I have seen a naturopathic doctor recently because I have just gone through a parasite cleanse. These parasites were constantly making me sick. The doctor told me that this is just an after effect but I am not entirely convinced. I have been taking B vitamin supplements every day and have tried multiple times taking B vitamins before I start drinking, after, and in the morning along with some digestive enzymes and this doesn't even seem to help a little. This has become a huge burden in my life and even depressing. Any one out there have any recommendations?
Avatar universal
I am 35 and have socially drunk since I was 18, however about 6 months ago I suddenly developed headaches after drinking, usually within a couple of hours of the first drink. The headaches tend to last about 2 days and I feel very slightly nauseous. I get the headaches with beer, wine and the spirits I have tried and it only takes 1 glass to set it off. Nowadays I don't drink anything at all but I would like to know if this is anything to worry about. Everyone else on this forum seems to vomit but I just get headaches. Has anyone got any suggestions?
Avatar universal
A few weeks ago I went to a dinner party. I had 3 drinks (a before dinner cocktail, one with dinner and one after).  The drink was cranberry juice and vodka - I knew for a fact that the drinks were mixed a bit on the "heavy" side, but I seemed to be doing okay.  I am usually a fairly light drinker - however, I ended up via ambulance to the emergency room from extreme alcohol intoxication. I am 52 yrs old and NEVER had this happen to me.  I had not had a drink since then (12 days).  Last evening I had 4 ounces of white wine and felt like I drank the bottle!  What is up with this?  I've read everything above and would be interested in additional input.  I do suffer from GERD.
Avatar universal
I am a 29 year old female. This same thing happened to me. I drank socially for many years and was known for an occasionally binge drinking night about every 6 mos. In march of 2009, I went to a party, had about 6 beers (which was normal for me at the time) and spent the entire night puking my guts up. I woke about 2 hours after fallling asleep shaking all over. I knew I was going to be sick, and I had to just sit and wait for it. You can't concentrate on anything but waiting to throw up. Since then, the intolerance kept creeping up, so that now when I even take a sip of alcohol, I will wake up in the middle of the night feeling queasy. I have tried both beer and some liquors. I have not tried wine, and my husband wanted to do an experiment and have me drink an O'douls to see what that would do to me, but frankly, it is so miserable afterwards that I didn't even want to risk it to see if that'd work. I'd love to still socially have a drink or two, but at this point, i won't even consider it because it makes me so sick.
Avatar universal
I'm trying to solve my friends problem here since she is freaking out but doesn't want to do anything about it. She is 25 years old and a definite drinker. While in college and after it would not be uncommon for her to have anywhere between 5-12 drinks a night. Lately she can't drink even a single drink (beer, wine, hard alcohol) without throwing up almost immediately after. Once she throws up she usually feels almost completely better. She eats TONS of bread and other gluten products so i ruled that out - she hasnt taken any new meds, changed her diet or anything like that. from what shes told me its ONLY alcohol thats been making her sick, no foods or other drinks. also her only symptom is nausea and sometimes a headache in the morning similar to a hangover. any suggestions?
Avatar universal
For a few of you- deal with it, you're getting older and don't bounce back like you used to.  We all need proper hydration for baseline health and to keep the headaches/lethargy/pain away.  

For others- your fitness/weight/diet affect matabolism and the metabolic rate which alcohol breaks down can shift with those other aspects of your life- where you burn or hold it for different lengths of time.

For some of us- take a trip to the doc to get a food intolerance test.  Most insurance policies will cover it and if not, it may be $200 out of pocket.  Intolerance is different from an allergy.  We've all heard of "lactose intolerance" but unless you or someone close to you winds up impacted by a food intolerance of another origin- the subject is just not out in the open.  But it's very common and very manageable.  Food intolerances can be acquired and hereditary.  You can eat a particular food your whole life and at one point, out of nowhere- suddenly you feel full after just a few bites, may have gastric pain, irritable bowel, nausea, headaches or feel fatigued after eating... and totally thing something is seriously wrong with you.  

If any of the symptoms (which I saw spread wide above and certainly have learned to at least make an effort to manage myself) are familiar, do a quick google search on food intolerance.  A blood test can give you a definitive answer if that is what is affecting you and will include instructions on how to manage it in your life.

Best of luck to all-
Avatar universal
Even though this forum bums me out, at least I feel like I have figured out that I am not alone.  I am similar to others where I drank quite liberally when I was young and now I can rarely have even one drink.  I thought I was developing migraines which lasted for 3 solid days. I have been taking all sorts of medications for them.  Though nothing really worked. I have tried acupuncture and herbal methods. Though I am not this type of person, I even tried Botox.  I read many articles about how Botox can eliminate migraine headaches for 2 to 4 months.  It still did not work.  I am still medically trying to figure out what changed.  Yes, I am getting older (I turned 40 this year) but I am still in great health and very active.  I miss having a drink or 2, especially in social situations.
Avatar universal
I have been alchohol intollerant for many years living in South Africa
I believe ,personally, that the large brewery here started at some time in the past to 'spice' their products in order for fermentation to occur quiicker.
These chemical additives have left many of my freinds moving to other,purer brands of drinks (with good results)
Perhaps the international breweries are also guilty of adding these impurities as worldwide demand increases.
The fact that large coorperations are doing this could explain the public's lack of information on this subject
Avatar universal
I am 39 and use to love to drink until i was legless, overnight my tastebuds or something changed, I do not enjoy alcohol at all, and find it impossible to get drunk, i dont get sick i just have major cravings for chocolate milk and cups of tea, In August my friends have a big 40th planned for me, I hope it starts at 5pm cause after I have my chocolate milk and cup of tea im ready for bed, the wild party girl is gone, unless my friends have changed too I know they will be dissapointed, I think maybe i have just grown up at long last.
Avatar universal
your all lucky at least you had a fue years of socialising. (ill point out that the legan age is 18 here) im only 20 and i already can not drink. i go to bed feeling fine but about an hour of laying there i start to shake, sweat and feel sick. i get a saliver rush (thats when i need to run to bathroom to be sick)  i ust to be able to drink allot- of anything. but now evan half a bottle of beer or a shot >anything, will set me off. im dissipointed because my 21st in in 3 months. ill end up in hospital if i try to have a good time and drink with my friends and family. oh have i mentioned even energy drinks are doing it to me, and cigeret smoking. i went from being a party queen to being a sickly thing. im over sensitive and it just happend over night
Avatar universal
This website might be helpful:


Hope it helps!
Avatar universal
I know how you feel. Im a 20yr old women and i used to be such a heavy weight when drinking, i could down 20 shots of sambuca n other stuff mixed in and have just a mild, normal hangova the next day, sometimes i wouldnt even have a hang over.
However for the past year or so, i have been the complete opposite, i cant even have a vodka+cranberry drink without later feeling very ill, and mostly fainting and then throwing up, with a badd headache for hours and then having the most severe hangover the next 1/2 days, often feeling very sick, extremely weak, very shakey with a migrain.
The worst thing is that the fainting comes on very suddenly, id feel okish and then before i know it id be on the floor and sometimes taken awhile to come back round. Ive been to 3 doctors, had many blood tests including checking my liver, kidneys, blood pressure etc. But all came back clear and im just sick of not knowing whats wrong with me. I also used to be bulemic for the past 4 years, however am completely recovered from it now,(2 months now) but i think that must be the cause of it, from the damage ive done to my body?
Avatar universal

hello everyone , my case is similar to most of you  , i am now 45 , female, was a regular drinker upto 6 months  ,and my only drink was beer.  now suddenly if I try a sip of beer in a min or so I start feeling unwell, dizziness, short breath, feel of faint. these are the major symptoms I get . They way I tackled so far is  drinking a lot water when happens and breathing exercises. I went several times to the doctor , no answer I got as to why it was happening , just being told age , alcohol intolerance blah blah. I was not convinced.  then I tried non alcoholic beer  again in a minute  I got the same reaction. Back to the doctor again and asked for allergy test . Comprehensive allergy test result was back as negative , all clear. this was like a joke , then in a few weeks or so I started havin really bad reactions , similar to what I had when I drank beer to certain foods such as bread, cheese, grape, raisin , even vitamins , cough syrup , enerjy tablets, drinks, Basically all fermented stuff. Then I started searcing on the internet 24 hrs a day like and found out the very likely possibility of Candida/yeast infection. then immediately i stopped eating anything with yeast in it , bough yeast free soda bread , i am fine , now i am trying to do strict candida diet , in the meantime I was prescribed Fluconazole / anti fungal medicine , for 7 days , after having taken 4 tablets i started feeling slightly better, i still dont know what part of my body candida is affecting , could be throat, gut , but this medicine will hopefully work on me i will back to normal . I really miss my glass of beer , more than anything

what i am interesred to know is if when I am treated from Candida I will be fine with drinking alcohol again ? also if I will be able to eat the foods that I  reacted before I was treated with Candida

would be appreciated if anyone knows the answer or any views.

thank you and good luck to everyone

Avatar universal
I am a healthy 20 year old, I am male and have spent 3 years drinking alcohol (mainly budweiser, red stripe & corona). I exercise & work out on a regular basis and on the rare occasion I would go out and have a binge but never overdo it; otherwise its just the couple of beers on the football weekend. Now suddenly I've found myself violently ill, intolerant to even a slight drop of any beer, wine or spirit; is this normal? Prior to this I was absolutely fine. but now I have developed a bloated and burning sensation to which I wretch out everything for a long period and become very disorientated. Any ideas to what may have caused this?
Avatar universal
I am investigating loss of enzymes and probiotics that help you break
down alcohol sugars. It might be a direction you could research.
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