Alcohol and Migraine: Relationship, Triggers, Treatment & More

In fact, an inverse relationship between density and metabolic functioning of regional brain 5-HT system and alcohol preference was repeatedly reported in animal studies [69–72]. Neurologist and headache expert Dr. Belinda Savage-Edwards explains that migraine attacks can occur with little alcohol. “The most common alcohol that triggers a migraine attack is red wine, followed by white wine, champagne and beer,” she says.

Some people drink water in between glasses of wine, for example. Many of the same tips for preventing a headache after drinking also work for treating one.

What Causes a Beer Headache or Migraine Attack?

These are called immediate and delayed alcohol-induced headaches. There has been some research into the effect alcohol has in increasing blood flow to certain parts of the brain, but whether this causes or relieves headache symptoms depends largely on the type of headache. Alcohol consumption and hangover patterns among migraine sufferers. These headaches cause very intense pain that often primarily affects the area behind one eye. More than half of those who experience cluster headaches say that alcohol is a trigger. Although genetic factors influence the risk of having migraine, environmental triggers can cause episodes or increase their frequency.

Is it OK to drink with a migraine?

Although it's unlikely that you'd feel like it, it's best not to drink any alcohol while you're experiencing a migraine attack. Attacks can last for several hours or days after the headache stage eases. This is known as the postdrome stage and can make you feel very fatigued and 'hungover'.

You also put yourself at a higher risk of an immediate alcohol-induced headache, which may put a damper on your evening. Fusel alcohols are another byproduct that can lead to a pounding headache after drinking. It not only increases the likelihood of a hangover but also sours the taste of beer, especially home-brewed varieties. As a vasodilator, ethanol can cause the tiny veins in your brain to expand.

What alcohol causes the most headaches and/or migraine attacks?

To summarize, for people with migraine, the best alcoholic choices are clear liquors like vodka, gin, or dry white wine. The alcohols more likely to trigger a migraine attack are dark liquors like bourbon, whiskey or red wine. If you do drink alcohol, it’s important to be mindful of your consumption and to experiment to see what works best for you. Beer headaches and migraine attacks triggered by alcohol generally occur within the first few hours or the next day. A Dutch survey of more than 2,000 people found that for those who are triggered by alcohol, the effects are usually quick, with a migraine attack coming on within 3 hours of consuming an alcoholic drink.

Alcohol and migraine: Drinks to avoid, remedies, and more – Medical News Today

Alcohol and migraine: Drinks to avoid, remedies, and more.

Posted: Mon, 08 Nov 2021 08:00:00 GMT [source]

Medical News Today has strict sourcing guidelines and draws only from peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical journals and associations. We link primary sources — including studies, scientific references, and statistics — within each article and also list them in the resources section at the bottom of our articles. You can learn more about how we ensure our content is accurate and current by reading our editorial policy.

How can you prevent getting a migraine headache from alcohol?

Andrew Charles, MD, director of the Goldberg Migraine Program at the University of California, Los Angeles, says the focus on migraine triggers is a double-edged sword for some patients. But many patients, if they have an attack, it turns into some sort of blame. They’re basically blaming themselves for something that they have done to bring the attack on,” he says. Nerivio armband for migraine is FDA-approved to treat and prevent migraine attacks in teens and adults 12 and over. A small dose of alcohol, such as a 5 ounce glass of good wine, can be consumed if it does not trigger migraine frequently.


No differences between alcohol and headaches and tension headache were reported . Research shows that people with migraine may also experience related symptoms during a hangover. Reducing or eliminating alcohol may reduce the frequency of migraine attacks. It may also help eliminate triggers that tend to co-occur with drinking, such as dehydration and sleep deprivation.