Alcohol Intolerance



Alcohol tolerance may cause an unpleasant reaction as soon as you drink alcohol. The most common signs and symptoms of alcohol intolerance are nasal congestion and flushing of the skin. Alcohol tolerance is caused by genetic conditions where the body can not efficiently degrade alcohol. The only way to prevent alcohol intolerance reaction is to avoid alcohol.

Alcohol tolerance is not an allergy. However, in some cases, what seems to be alcohol intolerance may be your response to chemicals, cereals, or preservatives in alcoholic drinks. Combining certain drugs with alcohol may also cause a reaction.

In rare cases, unpleasant reactions to alcohol are a sign of serious health problems that require diagnosis and treatment.


Signs and symptoms of alcohol intolerance – or reactions to components in alcoholic beverages – include:

  • Redness of face (flushing)
  • It is warm and red and there is itching on the skin (urticaria)
  • Existing asthma exacerbations
  • Runny nose and stuffy nose
  • Low blood pressure
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • diarrhea

When going to see a doctor

If alcohol is mildly intolerable, or there are something else in alcoholic drinks, you do not need to see a doctor. Just avoid alcohol, limit drinking and avoid certain types of alcoholic beverages. However, if you have severe reactions or severe pain, please consult your doctor. Also, if your symptoms seem to relate to allergy or medication, please consult your doctor.


Alcohol intolerance occurs when there is no suitable enzyme to degrade (metabolize) toxins in alcohol in the body. This is usually caused by the genetic (genetic) trait seen in Asians.

Liquor, especially other ingredients often found in beer and wine, can cause intolerance reactions. These include,

  • Sulfite or other preservatives
  • Chemicals, cereals or other ingredients
  • Histamine as a by-product of fermentation or brewing

In some cases, reactions may be caused by allergies to corn, cereals such as wheat or rye, or other substances contained in alcoholic beverages.

Rarely, severe pain after drinking alcohol is a sign of more severe disability such as Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Risk Factors

Risk factors for other reactions to alcohol intolerance or alcoholic beverages include:

  • Being Asian
  • Asthma or hay fever (allergic rhinitis)
  • Allergic to cereals and other foods
  • Hodgkin’s lymphoma


Depending on the cause, alcoholic intolerance complications or other reactions to alcoholic beverages include:


Drinking alcohol can cause migraine in some people. Perhaps it is the result of histamine contained in some alcoholic beverages. Your immune system also releases histamine during an allergic reaction.

Severe allergic reaction.

In rare cases, allergic reactions can be life-threatening (anaphylactic reactions) and require emergency treatment.


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