Signs and symptoms of alcohol intolerance — or of a reaction to ingredients in an alcoholic beverage — can include:
- Facial redness (flushing)
- Warm, red, itchy bumps on the skin (hives)
- Worsening of preexisting asthma
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Low blood pressure
- Nausea and vomiting
When to see a doctor
You may not need to see a doctor if you have a mild intolerance to alcohol or something else in alcoholic beverages. You may simply need to 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.
March 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.
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