Alcohol Intolerance

Knowing The Signs

By: - Health & Fitness - February 13, 2011
alcohol intolerance

People who have alcohol intolerance will feel unpleasantness almost immediately after consuming a drink. Also know as an alcohol allergy, the most common warning signs of this malady are an immediate stuffed nose or skin that flushes red. This intolerance is caused by the body’s inability to break down the consumed alcohol.Unfortunately, there is only one-way to avoid this problem, and that is by not drinking alcohol.

Some suspected alcohol allergies are a result of ingredients contained in the drink. Other times it can be a combination of ingredients and the alcohol content that is causing the issue. Also, a mixture of alcohol and some medicines may cause a reaction. The good news is, alcohol intolerance is rarely life threatening and usually does not require emergency treatment.

As mentioned a stuffed nose and flushed skin are the most common side effects. Still, there other symptoms, like headaches, itchy skin, upset stomach, pain in the abdominal area, and vomiting. Some people may even experience a rapid heart rate. If your symptoms are mild there is no need to make an appointment with your doctor. However, a serious reaction may require medical help.

Some people do not possess the enzymes that are needed to break down alcohol. The result is alcohol intolerance. Still, some people are at higher risk to an alcohol allergy than others. For example, people who are of Asian heritage are more apt to have the allergy than other people. Other risks include Hodgkin’s lymphoma, grain allergies, and some medications. Moreover, people who are taking disulfiram for alcohol abuse may experience the same symptoms as an alcohol allergy.

When the body responds to allergies histamines are released. This can cause a migraine headache in some individuals. Although most allergic reactions to alcohol are not severe on occasion they can be. If this is the case make an appointment with the doctor. You should prepare for your medical visit by writing down all the symptoms you experienced. If you are under an unusual amount of stress, write that down. Stress can amplify an alcohol allergy reaction.

Also, be sure to list all the medicines with the dosage. It can also be helpful to prepare a list of questions for your doctor. This way you do not forget any details. Of course, your doctor will ask you questions too. This is how he will diagnose the problem. If you have suffered a major reaction it is best to abstain from alcohol, at least until you have been seen by the doctor. If the reaction was on the milder side it is still best not to consume alcohol, but if you do you can try an over-the-counter antihistamine. This may lessen any reaction.

In summary, alcohol intolerance is caused by the body’s inability to break down alcohol. The most common side effects of an alcohol allergy are stuffy nose and skin that becomes flushed. This intolerance is rarely life threatening. Still, other waning signs of an alcohol related allergy are headache, nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain. Should you suffer a severe reaction it is wise to consult with your doctor.


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