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Skin Pain After Drinking Alcohol

First a little about myself:
I am a 28 year old female in relatively good shape and health.  I drink maybe once a week and excessively once a month.  I don’t take any medications (even Advil) regularly and I am not of Asian descent.  About a year ago after heavy drinking I started to notice that my body hurt.  Not the usually kind of hurt that would be associated with drinking, like falling or overexerting one’s body.  This is more like my skin hurts, it does not feel like my muscles, bones, or joints, it literally hurts to be touched.  The pain is primarily above my torso.  I usually notice it on my neck first, then my shoulders, chest, etc.  The pain usually starts the next evening and then last for a couple of days.  I have been a social drinker for years now and like I said this developed only about a year ago.  I have tried to research this online and while I know I am not alone with these symptoms, I cannot find a diagnosis that fits my symptoms.   I realize allergies can change, but this seems unlikely to me.  Alcoholic Myopathy seems unlikely because of it’s slow onset, it doesn’t feel like it’s targeting the muscles, and my legs are fine.  Also because of its onset and family history I am excluding Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.  Please let me know if you think I am prematurely ruling any of these diagnoses or if there is another option I am unaware of.   I don’t mind going to the doctor, but with something like this I believe I will just be told to stop drinking, and I am looking for an actual reason.  Also, I apologize because I had no idea which forum this fits into. I would love to hear any thoughts.  Thank you!
14 Responses
Avatar universal
I have been suffering with the exact same symptoms for years and i am a 27 treat old female.  I went to the doctor twice and they both looked at me like i was crazy.  I had an allergy test done but everything came back negative.  I'm currently on vacation and I'm in pain from drinking 2 nights in a row.  It's my skin not my muscles.  It hurts to touch and lay down.  I'm think im going to stop drinking all together.
1 Comments
I have the same symptoms! Help.. Does anybody know what could this posibly be?
I'm also a female, 26 years old, not a heavy drinker, have noticed this reaction since almost a year. It hurts to be touched, squeezed, poked or anything superficial really.
It seems to be rare, because I have asked to my friends and relatives and nobody seems to have heard of anything like this before.
Avatar universal
I have the exact symptoms you described. I am a 24-year-old female and started noticing this three years ago. I have never had someone who understands what I'm talking about when I say my skin hurts all over. It usually occurs in the late afternoon of the day after drinking heavily.
1 Comments
I'm the oldest to share on the site (59). This is caused by our body dealing with toxins in alcohol. But I don't know what to do other than drink less, & less often. Never much into drinking all my life, except for a little wine, beer or champagne at family events or dinners out with my then-boyfriend--now ex-husband. Without turning this into a soap opera, my ex & I had a long, loving but hard marriage (also an 11-year dating period before I married at age 35. He left me for a younger woman 5 yrs. ago. I was deceived by him, his lawyer & so-called friends who knew! At Thanksgiving I was offered a glass of wine. I thought, why not? After New Year I decided to get a little wine to keep on hand (to have at home) just to relax. No problems with this flesh pain at first. But time wore on. GOT MUCH WORSE. Lasts 3 days. Feel severe FLESH pain everywhere. Scalp, face, neck, shoulders, arms, chest, breasts, tummy, abdomen, back, legs. Even palms of hands & soles of feet. If only the torture would end in one day!
Avatar universal
I too experience the same thing - my skin feels like it's bruised from the torso up after a night of heavy drinking. I found that not drinking any mixers with sugar, such as from fruit juices, AND not adding any limes/lemons stops it from occurring.  But I would love to know the root cause!  I've been researching for years, and all I find are people who experience the same thing with no resolution.  I'm a 42 year old female and have had this happen for at least 8 years now.  I drink Vodka mostly.  I now drink my Vodka with Ice flavored water mixers.
Avatar universal
Hi! I am a 26 year old female who had been experiencing this for years. Im not a heavy drinker at all. I had no muscular pain, I was just tender to the touch all over about 30 hours after drinking. So after experiencing this for several years with no answers, I was involved in an accident that led me to lose about 40% of my blood. I didnt receive a transfusion and let the blood rebuild naturally over 8 weeks. Following this, the pain after drinking has completely stopped. Im honestly in awe. My only thought is that the cause must have been some type of toxin build up in my blood? Ive had no other lifestyle changes other than my "new blood". I had been reading these forums for years trying to get to the root of the problem, so I wanted to share. Obviously I don't recommend losing blood, but it could be worth it to get some blood work done and see if any red flags come up!
Avatar universal
I've suffered with this problem for years, getting worse each time but always 24 hours after I started drinking. I gave up alcohol for 16 months and then realized that it is the sugar that causes the pain - whenever I had smoothies, which were packed with extra added sugar, I got the pain.
I also went to a nutritionalist who said my ibs(c) wasn't helping as that meant stuff stays for longer in my body and led onto me getting sibo which could also be causing a backlog and therefore more susceptible to pain after drinking.
I've been back drinking for a few months now and stick to red wine which is the least sugary and not had any pain, even when I've over indulged.
Hope this helps!
Avatar universal
I don't know what causes it but I'm also a woman with this problem. I'm 27, and I rarely drink, but when I do, I can't be touched. It feels like everything is raw and sore but it's only skin deep. Are we all just allergic??
Avatar universal
The closest explanation for this type of pain that I’ve found is a subset of fibromyalgia called allodynia. It’s exactly the kind of pain everyone here describes. For me, these symptoms flare up after drinking or not getting enough sleep (especially after drinking).
Avatar universal
I am a 31 female and had these symptoms for a few years after drinking. It happens when I’m hungover, but also during the first or second day of my period. I know one other girl who gets this skin pain during her period. I am starting to think it is related to being a woman (as all the thread here are women!). Anyone else get this during their period? Today I am really scared because I am experiencing deeper pain in my muscles and joints and wonder if it has anything to do. I drank lots of sugary drinks from 2 till 10 (without feeling drunk but kind of continuously) yesterday and had cake. Might be the sugar? However does not explain the skin pain during my period. Will keep an eye on this chat to see if we can figure this out together!
Avatar universal
Hi again! The fact that a few of you related skin pain to sugar intake got me thinking. I am a vet, I know I’m not a human doctor, but physiology principles in humans and animals are in most cases the same. The pain we are experiencing could be due to water retention! This could explain why I get skin pain both after drinking alcohol with sugary drinks and during my period!!!! Please see point 6 of this article which explains what happens with excessive sugar intake in the kidneys: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/6-ways-to-reduce-water-retention

This article also explains water retention and it’s causes: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/lifestyle/wellbeing/lifecoach/10734374/Life-coach-what-causes-water-retention.html

It may not be reason, but sound like it perfectly well could be!
Avatar universal
Im a 19 y/o female and I get this exact same pain too after drinking. Usually later on in the evening the next day i feel sensitive to touch in my torso area.  I’ve felt this way for the past year and can not find an explanation to why this is happening as well as everything I’ve read online seems to be occurring in women my senior. Assuming it’s just allergies but hopefully finding some reasoning incase this can effect my long term health
Avatar universal
Im a 19 y/o female and I get this exact same pain too after drinking. Usually later on in the evening the next day i feel sensitive to touch in my torso area.  I’ve felt this way for the past year and can not find an explanation to why this is happening as well as everything I’ve read online seems to be occurring in women my senior. Assuming it’s just allergies but hopefully finding some reasoning incase this can effect my long term health
Avatar universal
I have been searching for an answer to this questions. I am part Asian and experience the Asian flush whenever I drink. However, there is no explanation or solution to this skin problem. It always starts the next day and sometimes lasts for 2 days after drinking. Its bad around my rib cage, torso, and neck. I have googled so many things, asked doctors, friends, and family. No one understands what I’m even talking about. II have found the ONLY thing that makes it go away is sleep. If I fall into a deep sleep I will wake up Drenched In sweat. Each time I sweat in my sleep it gets a little better. So I’m thinking It’s some kind of toxin that’s being released in my sweat. Just wish I knew how to prevent it BEFORE it happens
Avatar universal
Hello, I’m a 25 year old female having the same symptoms. 24 hours after drinking alcohol the pain starts  in my back then around to  the front of my abdomen and up to the back of my neck. It hurts to touch and doesn’t go away until the next day. Have been to the doctors twice, one did bloods and there was nothing to show, the second told me not to drink. I understand that but that doesn’t help me understand why this happens. It’s comforting  to know others are experiencing the same symptoms.
Avatar universal
Does anyone know yet what causes this? I'm a 36yo female and have exactly the same issue. If I have more than 4 alcoholic drinks, then ~24 hours later, the seriously bruised torso feeling sets in. Over the past few years, that bruised upper body feeling has been lasting longer -- more often 2 days instead of just a day. Anybody else noticing this worsening over time?
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