Alcohol intolerance: causes, symptoms and types

Sometimes, after drinking of spirits in humans occurs deterioration of health. Alcohol intolerance occurs suddenly in the form of the response of the immune system to a stimulus. The main symptoms is a stuffy nose and redness of the skin, so such reactions are easily confused with allergic to alcohol. However, allergic reactions often appear at the ingredients of alcohol beverages – preservatives, malt, hops and other. In the case of congenital intolerance Allergy manifests it on ethanol.

Possible causes

The name of the disease in which the person has intolerance to alcohol-based drinks – alcohol intolerance. The real intolerance of drinking is observed in people from birth, it is due to the properties of the enzyme system, is not able to process acetaldehyde. As a result, substances accumulate in the cell structures and provoke the emergence of the corresponding symptoms.

More often than not carry a drink the following categories of people:

  • people belonging to Asian countries. The risk is not the absorption of alcohol in Asians is higher than in European countries;
  • patients with allergic manifestations at the ingredients of alcoholic beverages, for example, colors, flavors;
  • patients with cancerous tumors, e.g., Hodgkin's lymphoma;
  • people who use certain antibiotic and antifungal agents;
  • alcoholics taking disulfiram means that provoke negative syndromes to drink.

To trigger the acquired form of disease can other causes: various injuries of the brain, liver and other.

The mechanism of occurrence

In a healthy body the immune system acts as a mechanism. Finding various viruses and bacteria, the immune system begins to fight the threatening body factors. At introduction of microbes starts a complicated chain reaction, neutralizing the impact of foreign substances. During the intake of alcohol immune system begins to reject the hard substances in the composition of alcoholic beverages.

Thus, allergic to booze – a kind of food Allergy, in which a large amount of histamine, causing the redness and other unpleasant symptoms.

Vodka is one of the major allergens that affect the internal organs, slowing down the production of amino acids, which are a frequent cause of allergic reactions. Another common irritant is red wine. Less common intolerance to beer and champagne.

Effects of ethanol in humans is triggered the mechanism of destruction of cell structures, the immediate skin rashes and deterioration of the General condition of the body. Ethanol destroys the integrity of the cell nucleus and leads to cell death. Most often in people with intolerance to alcohol, are suffering brain cells.

If the person exposed to this disease, re-uses the spirits in his body increases production of antibodies responsible for the appearance of inflammatory processes. As a result, the patient has increased vascular permeability, tissue edema, increased temperature and severe allergic reaction requiring emergency medical care.

Most often, the response from the body to provoke all sorts of impurities added to alcohol, for example, sulfur dioxide.


Intolerance to alcohol is classified depending on the origin:

  • Congenital intolerance to alcohol is determined by the genetic characteristics of a specific person, in which the internal organs can not carry out the processing of ethanol and products of its metabolism.
  • Due to the destruction of ethanol in the organic structures of cells in alcoholics in the third stage of alcoholism develops hypersensitivity. These people tend not previously suffered from intolerance to ethanol.
  • The acquired form occurs due to consumption of medication, as well as through the development of various diseases, traumatic brain injuries and other reasons.


The first signs of intolerance of alcohol are manifested in the form of a sharp redness of any sections of the skin that occurs due to a sudden rush of blood to the face. Such symptoms may cause even a small amount of booze.

Other reactions are:

  • urticaria;
  • nasal congestion, runny nose;
  • attack of suffocation;
  • low blood pressure;
  • headache, dizziness, loss of consciousness;
  • the appearance of nausea, urge to vomit;
  • lacrimation, redness of the eyes;
  • excessive sweating;
  • fever;
  • the attack of palpitation.

One person can not experience all the symptoms. The intensity and the number of reactions depend on the degree of enzyme deficiency.

If the intolerance is mild, the patient is not required to visit a specialist. In these cases, it is better not to drink alcohol. However, if you experience serious reactions, such as asthma, should immediately call an ambulance.


First of all, the specialist it turns out that it provoked reactions, and the presence ofallergies to any products.

Diagnostic pathology includes:

  • Description of manifested symptoms and detailed patient interviews, which revealed the circumstances of the occurrence of negative symptoms, and the presence of allergic reactions in close family members.
  • The inspection, involving the elucidation of the hidden signs of intolerance to drinking and other health problems.
  • The implementation of skin tests. For this skin, applied a small amount of allergen and monitoring the response of the organism to ethanol.
  • Examination of the blood. Data analysis to determine the degree of intensity of immune response on potentially dangerous components. To do this, identify immunoglobulin E (IgE), an indicator of Allergy to alcohol.

In addition, the patient examined the blood after consuming certain products.

First aid

What needs to be done for a patient reaction to the intake of alcohol?

  • Immediately stop drinking alcohol to avoid dangerous consequences.
  • Drink plenty of water and induce vomiting. So it is possible to prevent the dissolution of alcohol in the gastrointestinal system.
  • For redness of the face to make a cold compress from medicinal herbs, such as chamomile.
  • With the appearance of frequent palpitations should be taken supine position.
  • In the future, you need to find out at what appeared such symptoms and to avoid its use.

To eliminate symptoms after drinking alcohol will help folk recipes:

  • Seeds of black cumin. Oil should be taken 1 teaspoon twice a day. Cumin is able to eliminate the nasal congestion and hives, without provoking side effects.
  • Stopping the production of histamine and reduce allergic symptoms will help flax seed oil. It is necessary to take 1 tablespoon and apply on the face, so it is possible to eliminate itching and red spots.
  • If you regularly use wheat germ, it is possible to avoid the occurrence of Allergy to alcohol. Wheat can strengthen the immune system and block histamine. Per day must take 1 tablespoon of wheat grass on an empty stomach.

In the case of aggravation of symptoms and deterioration of health should immediately seek medical attention.

Therapy of Allergy to alcohol

The treatment of this dangerous condition, like an Allergy to alcohol, involves the identification of a specific allergen and complete avoidance of products containing it.

Mild symptoms of intolerance to drunk to eliminate antihistamines: citrine, loratadine, Fexofenadine. Drugs reduce Allergy symptoms and relieve unpleasant symptoms: itching, nasal congestion, skin rashes.

For the relief of severe allergic reactions use antihistamines will not be enough. Remove the asthma attack is possible by injection of adrenaline (epinephrine), which has a bronchodilator effect and contributing to the resumption of breathing abilities. After the injection you should immediately visit a medical institution.

In addition, apply desensitizing action and detoxification therapy. For getting rid of severe symptoms intolerance to booze can be assigned gormonoterapii drugs hemosorbtion procedure, and plasmapheresis. As a subsidiary means use enzymes and eubiotics.

The most effective tool in the treatment of diseases is refraining from drinking alcoholic beverages at all. Even minimal doses of ethanol in medicinal tinctures may provoke a sudden response of the body.

After removing the attack the patient must take caution when consuming alcohol. If the patient has a craving for alcohol, must undergo a course of treatment from alcoholism.

Complications and prevention of intolerance to alcohol

Complications intolerance to alcohol depend on the reasons that triggered the disease. Frequent consequences are:

  • migraine, accompanied by intense headaches;
  • anaphylactic shock. Sometimes allergies can pose a threat to human life and requires immediate assistance;
  • alcoholic coma;
  • serious choking attack.

To avoid negative consequences, the patient should observe extreme caution, and follow the recommendations of experts.

A congenital form of disease, implies the absolute abolition of alcohol.

If allergies occur to certain spirits, you must carefully read the contents of the purchased products and do not buy alcohol, not knowing its exact composition. The patient is advised to carry a syringe with epinephrine or bracelet of allergic.

When allergic reactions due to large doses of alcohol, the patient must reduce the dose. At the re-emergence of negative symptoms from alcohol should abstain completely.

If allergic manifestations occur periodically and not associated with a particular drink, the reasons can hide in the disorder of the digestive tract. In these cases digestive enzymes, as well as exclusion from the dietallergenic foods. Intolerance of alcohol – a dangerous diagnosis, with which some patients have to live life.