Symptoms of an alcohol allergy include rashes, itchiness, swelling and severe stomach cramps. Allergy symptoms are often more painful and uncomfortable than alcohol intolerance symptoms. In rare cases, if untreated, an alcohol allergy can be life-threatening.
While this over-the-counter option can make you feel better, it is not actually treating the underlying problem but just masking it. It is far better to avoid alcohol altogether if you have alcohol intolerance instead of solely treating the symptoms. Accompanying the symptoms of alcohol intolerance will be a rapid heartbeat. This may not be noticeable unless you actually feel your pulse; however, some people can feel their heart beating faster. This rapid heartbeat is not typically dangerous unless an underlying health condition exists.
Low aldehyde dehydrogenase
These substances can make your blood vessels dilate, which causes symptoms of alcohol intolerance. People with aspirin-exacerbated respiratory what causes alcohol intolerance disease (AERD) are also more likely to have alcohol intolerance. It’s possible to be allergic to alcohol, but it’s not very common.
It is important to remember that for someone with alcohol intolerance, avoiding alcohol is more than just not drinking alcoholic beverages. Alcohol in cough syrups or some kombucha could trigger alcohol intolerance. Some people may be sensitive enough that even alcohol-based hand sanitizers can trigger their alcohol intolerance. Avoiding alcohol includes being aware of any potential exposure to alcohol.
When you drink alcohol, your liver first breaks down alcohol into a toxic chemical called acetaldehyde. Your body uses an enzyme called aldehyde dehydrogenase, or ALDH2, to break down acetaldehyde. However, in some people, ALDH2 does not work correctly, resulting in alcohol intolerance.
This is caused by inherited (genetic) traits most often found in Asians. If you have an allergy, your immune system over-reacts to contact with a trigger or “allergen.” If you have an alcohol allergy, your immune system treats alcohol as a threat. It responds to alcohol by producing antibodies known as immunoglobulin E (IgE). It is an inherited disorder, so it was passed down to you from your parents.
Can You Be Allergic to Alcohol? Yes, Here’s What to Know About Alcohol Intolerance
Some people with Hodgkin’s lymphoma experience pain after drinking alcohol. Hodgkin’s lymphoma is a type of cancer that can affect your lymphatic system. Many people with Hodgkin’s lymphoma develop enlarged lymph nodes. But in rare cases, they become painful after alcohol consumption.
One of the primary symptoms of alcohol intolerance is facial flushing. Your face will quickly develop a red coloration as if you blushed. The color change will generally be quite noticeable and affect your entire face.
How is alcohol intolerance treated?
If you’ve developed alcohol intolerance, there are a few things you can do to manage your symptoms. First, you can try limiting your alcohol intake or avoiding it altogether. You can also try drinking water in between alcoholic beverages to help flush the alcohol out of your system.