Wine Headache: Causes, Treatment, Prevention Tips

In simple terms, this means that it has an effect on the kidneys which causes the level of fluid that you are taking in to become lower than what your body is putting out. The single main reason that alcohol is the cause of a headache is that it is what is known as a diuretic. Sign up for our Health can alcohol cause migraines Tip of the Day newsletter, and receive daily tips that will help you live your healthiest life. Try to eat some fruits, herbs, and vegetables that are helpful for alcohol-induced headache recovery. Mango, thyme, ginger, and asparagus are known to contain helpful properties for this purpose.

why does alcohol cause headaches

Alcohol-induced headaches are not only subject to those who have a history of misuse or abuse of alcohol. These types of headaches can strike anyone, of any age and background. Take our short alcohol quiz to learn where you fall on the drinking spectrum and if you might benefit from quitting or cutting back on alcohol. An exception, albeit a rare one, is the potential trouble posed by fungal spores (mould) from the corks of wine bottles. Sensitivity to this fungus is uncommon, but for those at risk, a visible mould-laden cork could expose them to an unwarranted dose of allergen. Studies have shown that many people are less effective at metabolizing alcohol in the liver due to genetic variances.


With over two decades of experience, The Providence Projects has emerged as a beacon of hope for those seeking to break free from the shackles of alcohol addiction. Although genetic factors influence the risk of having migraine, environmental triggers can cause episodes or increase their frequency. It’s important to work with your obstetrician and your headache doctor when you have migraine to establish a safe treatment plan. If you’re not already working with a headache doctor, use our Find a Doctor tool to find someone in your area. Plan to discuss the FDA’s safety guide for medication use during pregnancy.

Sulphur dioxide, commonly found in home-brewed beers and wines, especially in the form of sodium metabisulphite, is another potential culprit. About one in ten asthmatics may find themselves wheezing in response to sulphites, with rashes and anaphylactic reactions being the exception rather than the rule. The term “alcohol intolerance” becomes key in deciphering these reactions. Unlike allergies, which involve the immune system, intolerances arise when the body lacks the necessary enzymes to digest and eliminate alcohol. Unusual symptoms that may leave one questioning whether the drink in hand is a source of enjoyment or distress.

Why Do I Get A Headache After Drinking Alcohol?

Talk with a doctor about ways to identify your migraine triggers and what to do if you develop these headaches. In a 2018 study involving 2,197 people with migraine, 25% of the participants who had stopped or always avoided drinking did so because alcohol triggered migraine attacks. More than a third of the participants said that alcohol had this effect, with about 78% naming red wine as the most common alcohol trigger. Research shows that people with migraine may also experience related symptoms during a hangover.

Having another drink may temporarily curb withdrawal symptoms and make you feel better. But unless you intend to keep drinking, the alcohol levels in your body will eventually drop, causing a headache anyway. And, of course, continuing to drink to avoid hangover symptoms can increase your risk of alcohol dependence in the long run.

Here is the advice of one wine expert

Whilst all types of alcohol stand to cause some sort of headache, there may be types that you find you tolerate better than others. This can differ for each person and whilst one may find that spirits cause a headache, another may find that lager doesn’t agree with them. An alcohol-induced headache may fall into many categories and whilst they are painful and unpleasant, there are things that can be done to relieve the symptoms.

Historically, it has been believed that red wine also contains higher levels of histamines and tannins compared to white wine, which some people can be sensitive to, Stolte said. Individuals predisposed to headaches may find even small amounts of wine triggering due to quercetin. Many of the same tips for preventing a headache after drinking also work for treating one.

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