- By sahlhealth
- May 18, 2021
- 18 views
Alcohol intolerance can cause immediate, uncomfortable reactions after you drink alcohol. The most common signs and symptoms are stuffy nose and skin flushing.
Alcohol intolerance is caused by a genetic condition in which the body can’t break down alcohol efficiently. The only way to prevent these uncomfortable reactions is to avoid alcohol.Although not a true allergy, in some cases, what seems to be alcohol intolerance might be your reaction to something in an alcoholic beverage â€” such as chemicals, grains or preservatives. Combining alcohol with certain medications also can cause reactions.
Signs and symptoms of alcohol intolerance â€” or of a reaction to ingredients in an alcoholic beverage â€” can include:
- Facial redness (flushing)
- Red, itchy skin bumps (hives)
- Worsening of pre-existing asthma
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Low blood pressure
- Nausea and vomiting
When to see a doctor
Having a mild intolerance to alcohol or something else in alcoholic beverages might not require a trip to a doctor. Simply avoid alcohol, limit how much you drink or avoid certain types of alcoholic beverages.However, if you have a serious reaction or severe pain, see your doctor. Also, if your symptoms seem to be linked to an allergy or a medication you're taking, see your doctor.
Besides conducting a physical exam, your doctor might request these tests:
- Skin test. A skin test can determine whether you might have an allergy to something in alcoholic beverages â€” for example, the grains in beer. Your skin is pricked with a tiny amount of a substance that could be causing your reaction. If you're allergic to the substance being tested, you'll develop a raised bump or other skin reaction.
- Blood test. A blood test can measure your immune system's response to a particular substance by checking the amount of allergy-type antibodies in your bloodstream known as immunoglobulin E antibodies. A blood sample is sent to a laboratory to check reactions to certain foods. However, these tests aren't always accurate.
The only way to avoid alcohol intolerance symptoms or an allergic reaction is to avoid alcohol or the particular beverage or ingredients that cause the problem. For a minor reaction, over-the-counter or prescription antihistamines might help reduce symptoms, such as itching or hives.