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Date of last update: 10/04/2017.

Forum Name: Headaches

Question: Alcohol causes immediate headache

 gander - Fri Jul 08, 2005 7:02 am

I'm 30 years old, and have been drinking since I was 17-18.
Very moderately the last four to five years.

Of late, after 2 drinks the back of my head(right only) starts hurting. Its the fleshy part just below the skull to be precise.
No stomach problems, nausea etc

My doctor suggested taking a break for a while, and I didn't have a drink for around 90 days.
But after starting, the problem is the same.
I've tried different types of alcohols, and all cause the same reaction.

Is something wrong with my liver, or what else can cause the body to react like this?

Thanks for any help.
 Rhonda P, CEP - Fri Jul 08, 2005 8:29 am

User avatar Hello,

You could be experiencing liver problems, diabetes or the alcohol may be a migraine stimulant. If you’ve started taking medications in the last few years that state “no alcohol” pay attention to that warning. Talk to your Physician about migraines and getting a blood test to make sure all is well, this will give you a starting point.
 KevinC - Sat Jul 09, 2005 9:59 pm

I'm dealing with the same thing now. I drink maybe twice a week. I've been drinking alcohol recreationally for ten years. I recently got sick, with what my doctors at the time thought were allergies and sinusitis. I've noticed my neck gets sore easily from sitting in front of a computer and I get much more frequent headaches. Within about two hours of drinking maybe two or three beers (with food) I get these throbbing headaches. This never happened before. I've had bloodwork done, the regular blood count checks and also immunology and thyroid checks. Also had a CT scan of the head done. They found nothing. Still getting the headaches, neck pain, redness in the eyes, facial fullness, etc.. I realize it's easy to say just don't drink, but I would be equally confused if I drank coffee all my life and all of the sudden it caused horrible headaches two hours after drinking it.
 Rhonda P, CEP - Sun Jul 10, 2005 12:01 am

User avatar Hello,

Usually the body responds to sickness by showing more than one sign, think about other symptom you may have happening. Do you have a pattern of things going on you can tell your doctor about or is there a specific body system involved (lungs, heart, stomach, joints, muscles) more than another. Are you experiencing anything different such as unusual headaches (other than what you've said), unusual pains, weakness, numbness, difficulty urinating, kidney pain, night sweats, etc.

If it seems to be isolated to only when you consume alcohol, my first thought is to check for hyperglycemia and liver disease. If you have had a liver enzyme test done and a diabetes test done the next thing is to check your medications, are you taking something that reacts to alcohol? If all turn out normal I would recommend not drinking, you may have developed a sensitivity to alcohol. At the minimum, you should get a full check-up which it sounds like you've done.
 Polar - Tue Aug 16, 2005 12:35 pm

Hello, I also have the same symptoms.

If I have 1 beer, or a glass of wine, or even a more pure drink like Gin, I get a throbbing headache within about 1 hour.

I went for allergy testing several years ago and was told that I was allergic to Mold. Apparently, it is the fermentation in the alcohol that gives me a mold reaction.

Has anyone else been told this? Does this make sense?

More importantly, does anyone have a fix? I agree - "don't drink" is a fix, but not a good one. I have tried allergy medication but most often it does not help.

I am going to try the Chaser pills I have found out about to see if they help. Anyone have any experience with these supplements?

 moxlar - Fri Sep 09, 2005 4:04 pm

Same symptoms here,
I can have 2 or 3 beers then shortly afterwards back of neck on left side below skull starts aching. I have had blood work done recently which indicates a AST of 44 and a ALT of 90.
Any indication of liver damage per alcohol?
 PETEBEAR - Tue Feb 14, 2006 10:25 pm

Hi there,

I too am getting the same pain. But i notice it only happens when i go to one particular bar and only after eating there chicken strips. Its happened 3 times now in the last 5 weeks.

I wonder if it could be somthing to do with the LCD sports screens that are all over the place in this bar. Either way its very painful
 Draven88 - Wed May 06, 2009 5:55 pm

I have similar symptoms, If I have 1 or 2 drinks I get a major headache shorty after. The difference with mine is that the pain is in my right temple area. My eye and face burn and nothing seem to help. I had this happen a few times over the last 2 years but it went away. Seems to be more intense now.
 MeTooHead - Thu Dec 31, 2009 1:26 am

I developed these same headaches, and if you could understand being an alcoholic, I had them daily. I have not drank now for 18 months. They came during or after drinking, starting in the right nostril moving up my head to my eye, feeling like its pulling backwards, then to my temple or the area halfway in between my temple and the top of my head then moving down the back of my neck to an area up and to the right of my spine. Eye and nose - only on one side watering all the way. If I start sneezing, I know that it will subside soon - I should mention that before the headaches started, I used to sneeze and get a runny nose, particularily when drinking, but again, is was also usually following or drunk with a meal.

The thing is, when i stopped drinking, the headaches didn't stop. I got them more.

Now its about 45 min-1.5 hours after eating. I've been doing blood sugar and my dr says it seems fine, no spikes or anything unusual. I can not eat all day, and not get them. Sometimes I have gotten repeated ones also during the night, but those have gotten rarer.

Now, instead of alchohol, unless it was the food taken with the alcohol... they seem food related, though in some cases, I can eat an apple or drink some orange juice when one is coming on and they subside to bearability instead of the constant pressure in my head (they are not throbbing - I equate them to in icepick in the side of the head.

Ideas as to help guide my doc who is stymied? I've been to a neurologist and got an MRI which was clean. My liver has checked okay, but that was only enzymes...

I'm trying to kind of find a check list of "things" to check for, as well as playing with what I am eating right now as well as logging it - but that also can take weeks. I'd rather "know" exactly what I'm dealing with, versus continual experimentation and assumption...

 sqrlyman - Tue Feb 02, 2010 12:45 am

I get these headaches also.It doesnt matter what i drink or how allways starts within an hour. it is allways located in my right temple area and somewhat in the rear area of my head as well.If I take large amounts of ibuprofen,it will catch up with it in about a 1/2 hour to where its bearable enough to get to sleep.I'm 45 yrs old and just in the past 6 months has this been an issue. I have been under an exceptional amount of stress off and on during this time. don't know if this has to do with it.
 Aspen610 - Thu Feb 04, 2010 11:53 am

I get headaches from drinking alcohol too. I didn't when I was younger. I started getting them after having my first migraine 2 years ago. It seems like the dark beers give me an instant headache after only a couple drinks! So I can't drink a whole bottle. I have been testing different beers and some don't give me a headache like wheat beers such as Blue Moon, Hefeweizens, and Corona. I have heard that the cause is the preservatives that companies put in the beer when they brew it. There is one called Erdinger that is all natural and brewed in the bottle. It's kind of expensive but it doesn't give me a headache. So I suggest you guys try it. Try to buy beer that is all natural, preservative free, organic. I know there aren't many out there! I have heard that hops can you give you a headache and a beer doesn't necessarily need hops, it's just a preservative. Hope this helps.
 cossackrangers - Tue Feb 09, 2010 11:46 am

This may not be much help, but .....

I have in the last week started having the same problem - every time I have a beer I get an immediate headache in the upper right part of the back of my head.

I had this problem, considerably worse, about 25 years ago (I am 50ish now). I consulted various doctors and they all said the same thing ..... give up drinking! I did give up for 3 months, but very reluctantly. What annoyed me most was that nobody would tell me why; just the same mantra ... stop drinking.

I was determined to persevere, however, and I finally found a more helpful doctor in Harley Street, London.

He explained to me that alcohol causes the blood vessels at the top of the neck / lower part of the head to contract and dilate. For whatever reason, in my case the reaction was happening more violently than with the vast majority of people.

He prescribed me some tablets that I took for a week (I think - its a long time ago) that would stabilise the reaction. I took the course of tablets and the headaches totally ceased.

Until the last week or so!

The trouble is, I have no idea what the tablets were or who the doctor was! 99.9% of GP's will not even consider looking for a 'treatment'.

There is a treatment for these symptoms (assuming it is the same thing) so don't totally concede defeat. If anyone has a helpful, friendly doctor, speak to them about this.

And please let us all know if you find out what the 'antidote' is.
 camscoffee - Tue Jun 15, 2010 9:10 pm

I used to get the same headache everyday for thirty min to a hour sometimes and I thought it wasn't a big deal. Then it started to become a huge deal. It would make me mad and upset because I didn't know what was going on. This happened for months and months! I don't have health care so I could ask a doctor for any help. I did most of the research myself and found out what other people have tried but it didn't seem to work! At least for me!
So I kept dealing with the pain and just figured it was going to be part of my live until one day my dad gave me Mycelium caps, this is a form of ganoderma plucked at 18 days old. I didn't even think about it and I kept taking them everyday for about a week then stopped because I just forgot! Then my dad asked me today how my head was and it might be coincidence but I know I'm not getting off of Mycelium!!!
This has made me so much more happy!!
Thanks dad for looking out for me and the Mycelium for doing what your doing!!!
If you want to try it out its go to ""
 SuprCrzy - Sat Jul 17, 2010 11:20 pm

Pretty much the same story here other than I usually get the pain on my right temple, it feels like a radiating type pain but it also feels like its attached to my right eye. It hurts very badly, possibly the worst pain i've ever had but once it goes away ( usually lasts 30-45 mins ) its like the best feeling i've ever had because im so relieved.

Usually happens after about 3 or 4 beers and I know the easy solution is stop drinking, but I also get them in the middle of the night even if I havent drank for a week. I'll just wake up and already be in pain, The only thing that has worked for me LEGALLY is BC powder, and thats only about 25% of the time. Other than that I usually buy HEAD ON ( stupid commercial ) and rub that all over the right side of my skull, it starts to burn but it kind of makes me focus on something other than the pain im in. Pretty bad I know.

Any solution would be greatly appreciated, and I don't have insurance for another 2 1/2 months ( just started a new job ) so don't wanna pay out of pocket yet. don't know what else to do. Also I drink lots of water every day so I don't think its dehydration.

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