If you get symptoms such as a stuffy nose and flushed skin immediately when you drink alcohol, you may be suffering from alcohol intolerance. Alcohol intolerance is a condition that makes you think that you get drunk too quickly when the reality is that your body is unable to break down alcohol like that of other people. Alcohol intolerance is a condition in most women compared to men. Before COVID, alcohol intolerance was a condition that most people suffered from because of a genetic disorder. Even though alcohol intolerance isn’t a true allergy, in some cases, it can react to something present in the beverage rather than the alcohol itself, like grains, chemicals, and preservatives. Sometimes drinking alcohol when you’re taking certain medications can also result in alcohol intolerance.
Symptoms of alcohol intolerance
Even though symptoms may vary from one individual to the next, common alcohol intolerance symptoms include the following:
● Facial, neck, and chest redness (flushing)
● Red, itchy skin bumps (hives)
● Worsening of pre-existing asthma
● Runny or stuffy nose
● Rapid heartbeat
● Low blood pressure
● Nausea and vomiting
Causes of alcohol intolerance
Many factors can contribute to alcohol intolerance or increase the risk of developing alcohol intolerance. These include:
Most people with alcohol intolerance have a metabolic disorder passed down in their genes. Usually, when you drink alcohol, your body uses dehydrogenase (ADH) to break down alcohol. Then the liver converts it to acetaldehyde which can cause damage to your body. Then ALDH2 converts acetaldehyde to I to acetic acid (vinegar), which is safe for your body. When you don’t have enough ALDH2, this final process doesn’t result in alcohol intolerance symptoms. Even when you’re not alcohol intolerant, the buildup of acetaldehyde in your body makes you sick when you drink too much.
Even though there have been vaccines and people can now fight COVID effectively, it has been a menace in the past, affecting people tremendously. After recovering from COVID, there have been lots of anecdotal reports in COVID support groups of reduced tolerance to alcohol after recovering. While some people feel a little bit sick after a few sips of alcohol, others report feeling noticeably bad the day after drinking.
Symptoms of post-COVID alcohol intolerance
● Feeling sick after a few sips of alcohol
● Reduced alcohol tolerance
● Signs like rashes, redness on the skin, warm, flushing skin, and severe hangovers after consuming alcohol.
● Poor mental health for days following alcohol consumption.
● Increased levels of anxiety after drinking alcohol.
It’s still unclear whether the virus causes alcohol intolerance or whether other factors are in play. Factors that may cause alcohol intolerance after COVID include:
● Drinking less often or not at all
● Lack of alcohol intake or reduced intake when sick.
● Lingering COVID symptoms like fatigue
● Other physical or mental conditions.
According to research, it’s clear that most people handled the pandemic differently. While some people embraced sobriety, others consumed more alcohol to deal with the pandemic stress. While alcohol is a genetic metabolic disorder, it’s still unclear how COVID can result in this condition, and there is ongoing research to investigate it.
Alcohol consumption and COVID
As a result of the pandemic setting in and the lockdown happening, alcohol abuse has become a growing problem. Most people turned to heavy drinking due to increased loneliness, isolation, and stress. During the pandemic, there was also an increase in the number of people who relapsed due to the risk factors brought on by COVID and the lack of access to treatment. Drinking behavior changes like drinking too much or drinking less than usual can affect your alcohol tolerance and the impact of alcohol in your life.
Other causes of alcohol intolerance include:
● Sulfites or other preservatives
● Chemicals, grains, or other alcohol ingredients
In rare cases, one might get severe pain upon drinking alcohol, a sign of a severe disorder like Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Risk factors of alcohol intolerance
Certain risk factors increase your likelihood of suffering from alcohol intolerance. These include:
● Suffering from asthma or hay fever
● Being Asian
● Suffering from allergies
● Suffering from Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Alcohol intolerance testing
If you suffer from alcohol intolerance symptoms, it would be nice to know what you’re suffering from so you can deal with it. You should consult your doctor and explain your symptoms so they can do a test to check whether you may be suffering from any underlying diseases that are causing these symptoms. However, if there are none, you can take a home-to-lab Intolerance Test. This test will check for all common intolerances in your food, drinks, and environment against your sample. You will then get your results in the mail seven days after sending back your sample. Alcohol intolerance testing will help you be sure whether it’s alcohol causing these symptoms or if it’s the ingredients within alcohol. Once you’re sure of your intolerances, you can now avoid the items causing intolerance symptoms so you can live symptom-free.
Treating alcohol intolerance
Unfortunately, there is no treatment for alcohol intolerance. However, specific tips can help you cope with alcohol intolerance. These include:
1. Either cut out alcohol consumption completely or drink the barest minimum amount of alcohol.
2. Please don’t drink alcohol when taking medications, as they increase your alcohol intolerance.
3. If you’re smoking, quit it, and avoid secondhand exposure to smoke. Smoking can increase your intolerance to alcohol.
The most advisable tip would be to stop consuming alcohol if you’re suffering from alcohol intolerance. Alcohol intolerance isn’t a condition that will go away with time. Hence, it’s better to cut out alcohol because high amounts of it can cause other dire illnesses like liver disease.
Final thoughts on alcohol intolerance after COVID
Even though it’s unclear what could be causing alcohol intolerance post-COVID, it’s advisable to cut this beverage from your drinking list. Alcohol intolerance won’t go away, and your symptoms won’t improve. If you’re feeling ill every time you drink alcohol, you’re not having a good time. Take an Intolerance Test to check whether it’s the ingredients in alcohol or if your body can’t handle alcohol. Once you discover you have alcohol intolerance, ensure you stop drinking it to live a symptoms-free life.