Experiencing headaches after drinking too much of alcohol is a common issue, but many people complain about feeling pain in the head every time they start drinking. If you drink regularly, you may already know how to deal with hangovers. You may not, however, be able to explain the headaches you experience only when you start drinking – especially if you don't experience cluster headaches or migraines while you're not drinking.

Many people say, "Every time I drink I get a headache". This issue keeps them from enjoying with friends when they go out to parties. You may start noticing severe headaches after a couple of beers, and that's when you're not feeling drunk at all. There can be a number of reasons of why you notice headache when drinking alcohol and you need to know about them to find a treatment option.

How Alcohol Reacts

You may be one of those persons who say, "I cannot drink, alcohol gives me a headache". To correct your condition, it is important to understand a few things first. You need to know that alcohol is a vasodilator, which means drinking a few pegs will make your blood vessels to expand. That's mainly the reason why your face becomes red when you drink. The same process happens to your blood vessels in the brain dilate when you have a migraine attack. It means that if you're already a migraine sufferer, drinking will worsen your condition.

Every Time I Drink I Get a Headache, Why?

Here are some other common causes that may help you understand why some people always say, "Every time I drink I get a headache, so I don't want to drink at all".


Why: Seeds, grape skins, and stems contain compounds called tannins, which usually don't cause any headaches in most people. It may sometimes be the cause of concern, especially if you're getting headaches when you drink red wine

What to Do: You first need is to ensure that your headache is due to tannins. Simply brew a cup of black tea and let it steep for five or ten minutes longer as the package suggests. Drink it. If you notice headaches, simply stop drinking red wines and you will be just fine.



Why: The combination of sugar and alcohol makes your body ask for more water to process the substances. If you don't drink water, this will lead to dehydration that will cause headache.

What to Do: You should avoid white wines and sweet dessert wines. Also, say no to cheaper wines because they will have more sugar. These mass producers have to add more sugar during fermentation to boost the alcohol. Drinking that would add more sugar to your system and lead to dehydration. Avoid it or you will keep saying, "Every time I drink I get a headache".



Why: Red wines may cause your body to release histamines because they have been aged. These histamines will cause symptoms such as dry eyes, a runny nose, and a headache.

What to Do: If you experience headaches while drinking because your body starts producing histamines, you may consider taking a histamine blocker prior to going to a party where you would taste red wine.


Other Substances

Dehydration, histamines, and tannins are among the causes of why you experience headaches when you drink, but there are many other substances in alcohol you can hold responsible for your condition. For instance:

  • Amino Acid Tyramine: Most alcoholic beverages contain amino acid tyramine that may be the underlying cause of your headaches. This happens only if you're sensitive to this substance and may trigger cluster headaches and migraine. It's usually present in champagne and red wine, as well as certain dark alcoholic beverages, such as beer, scotch, and bourbon.

  • Congener: Some alcoholic beverages contain certain chemicals, and congener is one of them. It can cause headaches in some individuals because it often changes your body's natural chemical composition. If that's the case, you should avoid hard liquors, especially darker liquors because they contain more congeners as compared to other options.

  • Always drink in moderation and eat something while you drink.
  • Be sure to consult your doctor if you have an allergy or are sensitive to histamines.
  • Keep experimenting and identify a wine that doesn't cause headaches – stick to that one only.
  • Eat something with high carbohydrate and fat content to improve the absorption of the alcohol.

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  • RobertJan.9 22:10
    My headaches started after 45. Now only 1 beer will trigger a headache which will not go away even the next day until I take a painkiller. Weird. Given up drinking all together, which may be just as well.
  • EinbotSep.2 19:39
    TBI- Migraines that you verify have caused dead white spots in both Frontal Lobes- makes this happen. Previous Low Beer drinker- Ex bashed my head in- Migraines MRI and CT caught the white spots damage- Migraines unrelated to alcohol- But I cant drink clear alcohol without PAIN. Let alone wines or dark ones- those always gave me headaches. Hopes that helps find a cure.
  • JonAug.15 05:58
    This has been happening to me for so many years. If I don't have ibuprofen on me, I can't even START drinking. Nowadays, I stopped taking inuprofen and I'm screwed. 41 years old and I can't even have a beer. Sucks, but things could be much worse. No matter how much water I drink, or what alcohol I choose. Bad bad headaches and almost only when I drink. Hence, I like marijuana if I want to relax.
  • Jimmy SmittsJul.24 22:33
    That's right up there with "AIDS is punishment for being gay!" in terms of ignorance, Bob. And shame on you for giving him a pat on the back for it, Melissa. Shame.
  • Brent CottonJul.24 05:27
    Taking an OTC painkiller before you drink is terrible advice and can cause a lot of damage to your liver when combined with alcohol. Tylenol, Asprin, Aleve(as well as their generics) all get processed in your liver, and aspirin can also cause ulcers and stomach issues that may be exacerbated when drinking alcohol. Ibuprofen is the only pain killer someone should take and only if needed. OTC painkillers can also deplete the enzyme in the liver that processes alcohol and can cause hangovers or make hangovers worse(flu-like symptoms + headache).
  • MelissaJun.30 20:35
    Good answer, Bob. Really, does anything more need to be said?
  • CindaJun.23 14:31
    I have struggled with this condition since I was in college. I'm guaranteed a migraine every time I have any kind of adult beverage. I'm also a migraine sufferer, so this must be common for people with my condition.
  • BobMay.17 23:35
    Maybe the headache is just your body's way to tell you that you shouldn't be drinking alcohol.
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