Why does drinking cause headaches?

Many people who drink too much alcohol in the evening often have headaches the next morning when they wake up. In particular, patients who often suffer from migraines only need to consume a small amount of alcohol enough to cause a headache to attack violently.

1. Drinking headaches

Migraine is a practical symptom that many people experience but does not have a clear development cause. Currently, some experts predict that a malfunction in brain activity is the reason. This condition affects chemicals in the brain, as well as sent nerve signals.

Many can trigger migraines, from workplace stress to weather changes and certain foods (e.g., heavy cheese). In particular, about a third of patients with migraines consider alcohol to be one of the pathogens.

Alcohol has long been believed to be associated with the development of headaches in general. Many evidences show that since ancient times, it has been described headaches after drinking alcohol in particular, or alcoholic beverages in general. Alcohol can cause two different types of migraines:

  • You may have headaches within 30 minutes to 3 hours of drinking alcohol – even if you haven't consumed too much. Some people who have just siped a glass or two of wine have started throbbing pains in their heads;
  • The second form is that you remain healthy and awake until the blood alcohol level returns to normal. This means that drinking a headache will not appear immediately, but only begins the next morning when you wake up. This is called alcohol-in-caused headache (DAIH) and can happen to anyone, but people with migraines are more likely to experience it.

Drinking headaches

Drinking alcohol with headaches

2. Causes of drinking alcohol with headaches

Alcohol not only contains histamine, but also promotes your immune system to produce more of these chemicals. This increases the inflammatory response throughout the body of the drinker. In addition, the main component of alcohol is ethanol. Upon entering the body, this chemical is converted into a trigger for migraines. Ethanol is also a natural weed that causes drinkers to urinate more than usual. All this can cause them migraines. Various factors that can contribute to drinking alcohol with a particular headache are:

  • Alcohol causes the body to produce more urine, and more urination than usual can lead to dehydration. This is why drunk people feel thirsty, dizzy and stunned;
  • Alcohol triggers an inflammatory response from the immune system and causes physical symptoms, such as inaflexicness, memory problems, decreased appetite and loss of interest in normal activities;
  • Alcohol stimulates the gastric mucosa and increases the production of stomach acid as well as delays the process of gastric emptying. All these factors can cause abdominal pain, nausea or vomiting;

Abdominal pain

Alcohol stimulates gastric mucosa causing abdominal pain
  • Alcohol can cause blood sugar levels to drop. If your blood sugar levels drop too low, you may feel fatigue, weakness, tremors, mood disorders and even seizures;
  • Alcohol enlarges your blood vessels, which can lead to headaches;
  • Alcohol can make you sleepy, but can't sleep deeply and often wakes up in the middle of the night. This causes you to have a stir, headache and fatigue after waking up.

3. When drinking alcohol headache how?

Drinking a small amount of alcohol a day can be healthy, helping to reduce the incidence of heart disease, as well as issymeous strokes (which occur when blood vessels are blocked making it impossible for blood to reach the brain). Moderate alcohol dosage for healthy adults is a maximum of 1 glass/day in women of all ages and men over 65 years of age, and a maximum of 2 glasses/day in men aged 65 and under. However, if you are prone to migraines, you must consider the dosage of alcohol to consume. A 150ml glass of wine or 350ml of beer can be recommended as long as it does not cause headaches. If you still feel a headache, you need to take less than the above dosage or stay away from all alcoholic beverages.

If you're not sure which alcoholic beverages are the cause of headaches, try the logs. Each time you drink alcohol, write down the type of alcohol or beer you take, the quantity and symptoms you feel (if any). It is advised to specify both the state of health at 48 hours before drinking alcohol, as well as any problems that cause you stress or anxiety at that time. Over time, you will be able to find out the true causes of drinking headaches and limit them.


Moderate alcohol dosage will help limit headaches

In addition, you can also try:

  • Careful selection: Depending on the location of each person, some other alcoholic beverages (beer, cocktails, sparkling wine,…) can cause you less headaches than the rest;
  • Sip water with alcohol: Drinking a full glass of water after each drink will help to retain water and also make you drink less alcohol;
  • Drink alcohol during meals: Alcohol will absorb faster if your stomach is empty. Therefore, it is advisable to eat before and during drinking so that it can increase the risk of migraines;
  • Do not drink alcohol while under stress: Drinking alcohol when stressed will cause severe migraines;
  • Know your limits and drink in moderation: Decide in advance how much you will drink and follow properly to feel comfortable when you have to use alcohol, avoid pressure and worry too much. Stop drinking completely once you've reached your limits;
  • Taking over-the-counter analgesics: Aspirin or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, …) can prevent headache symptoms. However, it is necessary to ask your doctor about the safety and dosage recommended for you. It is these drugs, or when interacting with other drugs that you are using, that can cause liver damage if excessive alcohol is consumed;
  • Take medication for headaches: Triptans can't stop migraines, but can help stop the symptoms of drinking alcohol with headaches again after the pain starts. However, this drug can pose serious health risks for many people. Therefore you need to consult a doctor before use.

Abdominal pain: Which case should I go to the doctor?

See a doctor when your body shows abnormalities

Although many medications prevent alcohol from suffering from headaches, the only effective way is to avoid drinking alcohol. If it is mandatory to drink, consume it in dosages within the limits and mode of mode mode. The less alcohol you drink, the less likely you are to have headaches and drunkenness. If you have migraines, ask your doctor for advice on how alcohol can affect your health to find the right solution.

Customers can directly go to Share99 Health System nationwide for examination or contact the hotline here for assistance.

Article reference source: webmd.com, health.harvard.edu, mayoclinic.org

Recommended videos:

Dr Trinh Ngoc Duy guides first aid for alcohol poisoning


  • How to calculate blood alcohol content
  • Alcoholic fatty liver
  • How does alcohol affect the liver?

  • What parts does alcohol pass through and "wreak havoc" on the body?
  • Factors for determining blood alcohol content (BAC)
  • What do the blood alcohol test results mean?

About: Minh Quynh

b1ffdb54307529964874ff53a5c5de33?s=90&d=identicon&r=gI am the author of Share99.net. I had been working in Vinmec International General Hospital for over 10 years. I dedicate my passion on every post in this site.


Leave a Comment