Am I Allergic to Alcohol?

allergic to alcohol.

You meet up with a friend after work to grab a beer, and suddenly what should be a fun evening immediately turns somber as your body has a sudden and drastic reaction to the alcohol. You may break out in hives, your skin may turn bright red, you could get hit with a sneezing fit, or struck with nausea. Regardless of the symptoms, something feels wrong. Could it be an alcohol allergy?

Alcohol Intolerance vs. Alcohol Allergy

While you might be having a reaction to alcohol, it may not necessarily be an allergy. In fact, alcohol allergies are relatively rare. In most cases, it is alcohol intolerance, which is when your body has a problem with another part of the drink you just consumed. Alcohol consists of a mixture of grains, preservatives, and chemicals that must be broken down to be properly digested. Some of these ingredients include barley, gluten, hops, rye, wheat, and yeast. If you are unable to break down any of these or the other ingredients in your beverage, you may have a reaction.

What are the Symptoms of Alcohol Intolerance?

Everybody reacts differently, but alcohol intolerance has a few common symptoms. Some of the more common alcohol intolerance symptoms include the following.

  • Red face
  • Feeling hot
  • Hives or a rash
  • Diarrhea
  • Heartburn
  • Headaches
  • Elevated heart rate
  • Stomach pain

What are the Symptoms of an Alcohol Allergy?

While the symptoms of alcohol intolerance are irritating, the symptoms of an alcohol allergy can be life-threatening. Also, alcohol intolerance symptoms are usually only present after having a few drinks, while alcohol allergy symptoms can be seen with even a tiny amount of alcohol. Symptoms of an alcohol allergy include:

  • Itchy face
  • Swelling of your throat, face, and other parts of the body
  • Hives and rashes
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Stuffy nose
  • Stomach pain and Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Dizziness and headaches
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Anaphylaxis

If you experience these symptoms, make sure to contact a medical professional for treatment as soon as possible.

Alcohol Addiction Treatment in San Diego, California

While alcohol intolerance and alcohol allergies can be very difficult to deal with, these ailments can pale in comparison to the struggle with alcohol addiction. Life for an alcoholic can be devastating, leading to a multitude of health problems and destroying their personal relationships. If you struggle with alcohol, The Pearson Center for Alcoholism and Addiction Research in San Diego offers free treatment through clinical research trials. To learn more, give us a call at (858) 784-7867.