Although alcohol intolerance usually isn't a serious issue, you may want to discuss it with your doctor at your next appointment. Here's some information to help you get ready for your appointment.
- Write down your symptoms, including any that may seem unrelated to the reason for which you scheduled the appointment.
- Write down key personal information, including major stresses or recent life changes. Stress can sometimes worsen allergic reactions or sensitivities.
- List all medications, vitamins or supplements you're taking and the dosage.
- Write down questions to ask your doctor.
Questions to ask your doctor
- What do you think is causing my reaction to alcoholic beverages?
- Are any of my medications likely causing or worsening my reaction to alcohol?
- Other than the most likely cause, what are other possible causes of my symptoms?
- What tests do I need?
- What treatments are available?
- Do I need to give up alcohol?
Don't hesitate to ask other questions you have.
What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor may ask:
- When did you notice a reaction to alcoholic beverages?
- What beverages — beer, wine, mixed drink or a particular type of liquor — trigger your symptoms?
- How severe are your symptoms?
- How long does it take for symptoms to appear after drinking the beverage?
- How much of the beverage do you drink before you notice a reaction?
- Have you tried over-the-counter allergy medications, such as antihistamines, for your reaction, and if so, did they help?
- Are you allergic to particular foods, or to pollens, dust or other airborne substances?
What you can do in the meantime
Avoid the beverage or beverages that seem to cause your reaction until your doctor's appointment. If you do drink a beverage that causes a mild reaction, over-the-counter antihistamines may help relieve symptoms. For a more severe reaction — severe skin reaction, weak pulse, vomiting or trouble breathing — seek emergency help right away.
Mar. 26, 2015
- Wigand P, et al. Prevalence of wine intolerance. Deutsches Ärzteblatt International. 2012;109:437.
- Fazio SB. Approach to flushing in adults. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Jan. 16, 2015.
- Bryant AJ, et al. Alcohol intolerance as associated with Hodgkin lymphoma. Canadian Medical Association Journal. 2013;185:E353.
- Linneberg A, et al. Prevalence of self-reported hypersensitivity symptoms following intake of alcoholic drinks. Clinical and Experimental Allergy. 2007;38:1.
- Uticaria, facial swelling after beer/alcohol. American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. http://www.aaaai.org/ask-the-expert/Urticaria,-facial-swelling-after-beer-alcohol.aspx. Accessed Jan. 16, 2015.
- Alcohol angioedema and uticaria. American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. http://www.aaaai.org/ask-the-expert/alcohol-angioedema-urticaria.aspx. Accessed Jan. 16, 2015.
- Alcohol and migraine. American Headache Society. http://www.achenet.org/resources/alcohol_and_migraine/. Accessed Jan. 18, 2015.
- Food allergy testing. American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. http://acaai.org/allergies/types/food-allergies/testing. Accessed Jan. 18, 2015.
You Are ... The Campaign for Mayo Clinic
Mayo Clinic is a not-for-profit organization. Make a difference today.