Alcohol Intolerance Causes, Symptoms, And Treatment Options

Some people are more likely to have alcohol intolerance than others. For instance, people of East Asian descent are more likely to have the genetic component that causes alcohol intolerance. Some research suggests that the gene change responsible for deficiencies in ALDH2 may have something to do with the domestication of rice in southern China many centuries ago.

The color change will generally be quite noticeable and affect your entire face. You may notice a feeling of warmth in the skin of your face as the blood flow increases. The immediate symptoms of alcohol intolerance will occur right after drinking alcohol. They will typically happen rapidly enough that there is no question as to if it was the alcohol that caused it or not.

Is alcohol intolerance the same as an alcohol allergy?

So, Dr Sim urges anyone who knows they’re allergic to certain foods, particularly grains, to be aware they could be in drinks, too. If trace amounts of any of the above compounds are consumed in a drink by someone with a sensitivity, they will develop symptoms. Alcohol allergies produce rashes, severe stomach cramps, and nausea. The reactions that are caused by an allergy are often more painful, achy, and itchy than those of an intolerance. Unfortunately, the only treatment for alcohol intolerance is avoiding alcohol.

signs of alcohol intolerance

There are genetic tests that can tell you if you have an ALDH deficiency. Your healthcare provider can order this test or you can purchase one through private vendors. Some people don’t have enough of an enzyme called aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH). Alcohol allergy is an immune system response — your immune system overreacts to an ingredient in alcohol. You may be allergic to one of the substances in alcohol (a chemical, grain or preservative, such as sulfite).

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Sulfites, tyramines, and histamines are substances that are naturally found in many forms of alcohol. They’re present in higher amounts in certain types of alcohol, like red wine, than others. Aldehyde is toxic, and buildup is one of the key reasons people develop symptoms of a hangover.

  • Combining alcohol with certain medications can also cause reactions.
  • For example, aged cheese, smoked meats, sauerkraut, wine, and beer tend to be high in histamines.
  • This rapid heartbeat is not typically dangerous unless an underlying health condition exists.
  • Alcohol intolerance is most often due to genetic conditions and sensitivity to histamine and sulfites in alcoholic beverages.

Hodgkin lymphoma is a blood cancer that can affect a person’s lymphatic system. People with this condition usually experience swelling in the lymph nodes in areas including the neck, armpits, or groin. An alcohol allergy can occur when a person with an alcohol allergy comes into contact with alcohol, which is also known as ethanol. We will also look at what causes alcohol allergies and review the differences between alcohol allergy and intolerance. If you’re starting a new medication, it’s always a good idea to talk with your healthcare provider or pharmacist about how your medication can interact with alcohol.

Can You Be Allergic to Alcohol? Yes, Here’s What to Know About Alcohol Intolerance

If you develop symptoms after drinking alcohol, see your doctor. Depending on your symptoms, they may refer you to an allergist for testing and treatment. An allergist is a type of doctor what causes alcohol intolerance who focuses on allergic conditions. You should also consider seeing a doctor if you may have an alcohol allergy instead of alcohol intolerance or if you are unsure which you have.

  • Some medications can stop your ALDH enzymes from working as well as they normally do.
  • This is caused by genetic traits most commonly found in Asian people.
  • It’s available in preloaded syringes, known as epinephrine auto-injectors (e.g., EpiPen).
  • The yeast which ferments the alcohol can also be linked to intolerance symptoms.